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Detroit makes 7 of 15 threes in rout

4/27/2004

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- If the Detroit Pistons were this good on
offense more often they wouldn't have to rely so heavily on their
throttling defense.

The Pistons shot 56.9 percent Monday night and got 27 points
from Richard Hamilton in taking a 3-1 series lead with a 109-92
rout of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Neither team had shot better than 45 percent in the
best-of-seven series that shifts to Auburn Hills, Mich., for Game 5
on Thursday night.

Milwaukee has never recovered from a 3-1 deficit to win a
series.

"I don't think we can play better," first-year Pistons coach
Larry Brown said. "The final score was deceiving, like it was
Saturday night. But I think that's about as good as we played all
year."

Detroit scored 28 points off 16 turnovers, many on easy baskets
late in the game. The Pistons' menacing defense was simply an
accessory on this night.

"We all wanted the rock," said Rasheed Wallace, who scored 20
points for Detroit.

Embarrassed by becoming the first team to lose at home in the
playoffs this season, the Pistons used their defense to turn things
around with a 95-85 win in Game 3 on Saturday.

On Monday night, they relied on an offense that benefited from a
resolve to make the extra pass and from Milwaukee's many miscues.

The Bucks' benching of big man Brian Skinner to get Keith Van
Horn back in the starting lineup also backfired for Milwaukee.

Van Horn, who doesn't have the size to be the kind of defender
Skinner is, scored just 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting.

That was the last thing the Bucks needed on a night when their
top scorers of the postseason -- Michael Redd and Desmond Mason --
combined to shoot 8-of-31.

Chauncey Billups added 19 points and Tayshaun Prince had 17 for
the Pistons, who even executed their plan to make the extra pass on
the fastbreak.

"It shows the character of this ballclub, the unselfishness,"
Wallace said. "I had shots wide open, Chauncey had shots wide
open, and Rip. But to make that extra shot to get it to the other
guys who might have had a better shot, well, why not?"

Hamilton's layup with 6:26 left made it 89-75, and the Bucks
made their last run, pulling to 95-88 on Damon Jones's 16-footer
with 2:18 left. Prince responded with a 3-pointer and the Bucks
never got closer than eight after that.

"We played good defense for 22 seconds but then they'd hit the
shot at the buzzer and that took the wind out of our sails," Jones
said. "But the reason they shot such a high percentage all night
was the 28 points on the break."

Even when the Bucks fouled, they found no comfort. The Pistons
went 20-of-21 from the free throw line, including making all 12 in
the fourth quarter, eight in the final 1:09.

Both Jones and Joe Smith set career playoff highs with 17
points, and Jones added a career playoff-best 10 assists to go with
just one turnover.

Redd, who was 5-for-19 from the field, and Mason were limited to
12 and eight points, respectively.

Van Horn, who has been coming off the bench because of injuries
since late March, averaged just six points as a sub in the first
three games of this series. He had seven points in the first
quarter, when the Bucks scored 27 points, their second-highest
total in a quarter in the playoffs.

Van Horn's three turnovers were more than any other starter but
Redd, who had four.

"I'm a big fan of Keith's," said Brown, who coached Van Horn
at Philadelphia last season. "He's not the kind of player that
comes off the bench. I thought he got them started. And that, to
me, is a tribute to the coaching over there."

Van Horn picked up two quick fouls midway through the second
quarter, the second coming after Ben Wallace stripped him of the
ball underneath the Bucks' basket.

He sat out the final 6:50 of the first half, which ended with
Smith's buzzer-beating jumper from the top of the key that pulled
the Bucks to 52-49.

The Pistons never relinquished the lead in the second half,
however.

"It's tough to make a run," said Smith, "when you're
constantly taking the ball out of the net."

Game notes
The Pistons scored 108 points in Game 1, thanks to 28
points off 25 turnovers. ... Asked if he would have stepped in to
stop the Bucks from leaving Milwaukee had the franchise been sold
last summer, NBA commissioner David Stern said, "Not necessarily.
I mean, the reality is we've moved teams from Vancouver, we've
moved teams from Charlotte." Michael Jordan came close to buying
the Bucks last summer before U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl pulled the team
off the market. ... The Bucks outrebounded Detroit 38-33 and had 15
offensive boards.