Detroit wins series 4-2 (Game 1 of 6)

Detroit wins series 4-2

Game 1: Monday, May 9th
Game 2: Wednesday, May 11th
Game 3: Friday, May 13th
Game 4: Sunday, May 15th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 17th
Game 6: Thursday, May 19th

Pacers 81

(44-38, 19-22 away)

Pistons 96

(54-28, 32-9 home)

8:00 PM ET, May 9, 2005

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

1 2 3 4 T
IND 20 18 19 2481
DET 23 29 20 2496

Top Performers

Ind: J. O'Neal 22 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Det: R. Hamilton 28 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

Rip, Big Ben lead drubbing of Indiana

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit and Indiana were able to just play basketball for the first time this season at The Palace.

Just how much do the Pistons and Pacers dislike each other? A look at the regular-season series
Technical Fouls 10
Bomb threats 2
Brawls in stands 1
Wins by home team 0
Decided by 5 or fewer 0

"It was good to see the focus on basketball," said Ben Wallace, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year who also came through on offense Monday night in a 96-81 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. "We sort of left the past in the past and that's a good thing for both teams, and the league."

Naturally, Wallace played a big role defensively with 15 rebounds and four steals. But he scored 14 of his 21 points in the first half to help Detroit build a big lead it maintained easily.

The Pacers' two previous road games against the Pistons were marred by the infamous melee -- which started on the court, spilled into the stands and went back onto the court -- and a phone threat of a bomb in Indiana's locker room, delaying the second game at The Palace by almost 90 minutes.

Detroit's Richard Hamilton had 28 points, while Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace each scored 11.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night.

Just like both teams predicted, they were able to play without unusual distractions.

Indiana's Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal, suspended for 30 and 15 games, respectively, for their roles in the brawl, were booed louder than the rest of their teammates during pregame introductions and sometimes when they had the ball.

That seemed to be the only carry-over from the regular-season matchups in suburban Detroit.

After winning at Boston in Game 7, the Pacers were left with only one day of rest before facing Detroit, which was off six days after eliminating Philadelphia in Game 5.

"We do not have any excuses," Jackson said. "They wanted to come out and make a statement and they made it."

Indiana scored the first basket, then fell behind and couldn't do much about it.

O'Neal had a great start, then cooled down, finishing with 22 points. Jackson didn't score until early in the second quarter and finished with 15 points. Both players signed autographs for fans before the game.

The Pacers' Ron Artest, suspended for the rest of the season for his part in the brawl, is expected to practice with his teammates when they return to Indianapolis. Reggie Miller, who plans to retire after the season, scored just six points -- nearly 10 below his playoff average -- and struggled to stay with Hamilton. Jamaal Tinsley added 13 points for the Pacers.

When the Pistons fired Rick Carlisle two years ago and hired Larry Brown, Ben Wallace was encouraged to be a threat on offense instead of just a rebounder and defender like he was under Carlisle. Wallace was essentially told to give up the ball when he had it on offense during his two seasons with Carlisle.

"I didn't think it was fair to my teammates to come down and not look to shoot the ball," Wallace said. "It allowed teams to pretty much play five against four. Coach Brown encouraged me to get involved and to make plays for myself and my teammates."

Wallace averaged 9.5 points last year, then a career high, and improved to 9.7 during this regular season. In the first round against Philadelphia, he scored a career-high 29 points and averaged 12.8 points during the series.

"I thought Ben Wallace really dominated a lot of the activity in this game, and he set an unbelievable tone," Carlisle said.

Wallace would've had a better night offensively had the notoriously poor free throw shooter not missed 10 of 15 at the line.

He was suspended for six games for his role in the brawl and one of his brothers was among the spectators charged. In total, five Pacers and eight fans were charged. The players are scheduled to be tried for misdemeanor assault and battery this summer.

Unlike the second meeting at The Palace, the game started on time -- barely.

Housekeepers, ballboys and the officials made sure there wasn't an embarrassing delay by picking up red, white and blue confetti that fluttered onto the court.

Detroit started aggressively, driving for shots in the lane instead of settling for jumpers. O'Neal prevented the Pacers from falling behind earlier by scoring 12 of their first 16 points. Detroit led 23-20 after the first quarter.

The Pistons built a cushion by outscoring Indiana 11-4 to open the second quarter and led by as much as 16 before taking a 52-38 lead at halftime. The Pistons started the fourth quarter with a 72-57 lead.

"Right now, we are playing a team that is bringing a different level of force than we have seen in the last couple weeks, and we will have to step it up in a lot of areas," Carlisle said.

Game notes

Detroit eliminated the Pacers 4-2 in the conference finals last year. ... Brown led the Pacers for four seasons, from 1993-94 through 1996-97. ... The Pacers have used 31 starting lineups -- and 17 starters -- due to suspensions and injuries. ... With his 16th point, Hamilton became the fifth Piston to score 1,000 career postseason points. ... Pistons owner Bill Davidson, recovering from a medical procedure, has not attended a playoff game. ... Indiana lost Game 1 at Boston, then went on the win the series with three straight victories on the road, including Game 7.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 81 96
FGM-FGA 30-76 (.395) 34-73 (.466)
3PM-3PA 3-12 (.250) 4-12 (.333)
FTM-FTA 18-24 (.750) 24-40 (.600)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-42 11-45
Assists 11 20
Turnovers 18 10
Steals 7 10
Blocks 5 7
Fast Break Points 4 14
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (2/0) 22 (0/0)
Largest Lead 2 21

Top Performers

Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 22
Reb: 7
Ast: 0
Stl: 1
Blk: 2
Richard Hamilton Hamilton
Points: 28
Reb: 3
Ast: 4
Stl: 1
Blk: 0