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News » Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2008-04-30

Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2008-04-30

Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2008-04-30
With the Orlando Magic waiting in the wings, the Pistons want to close out the Philadelphia 76ers as quickly as possible. Up 3-2 in their best-of-seven, first-round series, the Pistons can take that step in Game 6 at Philadelphia Thursday night.

"It's definitely important," Rasheed Wallace said. "They're resting up right now and resting up their horse (Dwight Howard), trying to get ready for us. That Game 6, that's something we've got to get."

Orlando will have at least four off-days before the conference semifinals, while the Pistons won't have more than one in their potential second-round series. Detroit doesn't want to give the Magic any more rest than that.

First, they have to vanquish the pesky Sixers.

"The two games we lost, they played harder than us," Wallace said. "In the three games we won, it was a matter of us playing harder than them. So, there's definitely going to be a whole lot of pushing and shoving and elbows being thrown and all that stuff (in Game 6)."

The Pistons have an 11-3 record since the championship 2003-04 season in closeout opportunities but two of those losses came against Chicago in the conference semifinals last season.

Flip Saunders refuses to look ahead.

"Right now, we're in a fight for our lives with Philadelphia," he said. "We're not worried about anybody else."

If the Pistons keep executing the way they did in Game 5, there won't be a Game 7. They shot 58.1 percent from the field, opening up a 14-point lead in the first quarter and maintaining a double-digit advantage the rest of the game.

"We've slowed down," Saunders said. "We were trying to do things a little too quick. We got back toward playing more gritty defensively and offensively, we started moving the ball. When we start getting up in the mid-20s or high 20s in assists, that's when we're playing well."

It's a far cry from the midpoint of Game 4, when the Pistons appeared on the brink of collapse. Their 34-point third quarter restored their confidence.

"We picked up on the momentum that we had in the second half of Game 4," point guard Chauncey Billups said. "We came home and we knew it was going to be loud. We just took care of business from the jump ball."

PISTONS 98, SIXERS 81: The Pistons led by double digits for the last 40 minutes to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series Tuesday night.

Point guard Chauncey Billups broke out of his shooting slump while orchestrating the attack. He had 21 points and 12 of the Pistons' 27 assists after shooting 28.6 percent through the first four games.

Shooting guard Richard Hamilton, who had 12 fourth-quarter points in the crucial 93-84 Game 4 win Sunday, contributed 20 points on 10-for-17 shooting. The frontcourt was also effective as Rasheed Wallace had 19 points and Tayshaun Prince chipped in 17, 11 in the second half.

The Pistons had 35 points in the first quarter, a stark contrast to Game 4 when it scored 36 first-half points. Billups and Hamilton combined for 22 of those points.

Saunders had an inkling that Billups would break out after watching him at practice Monday.

"He had a little more pop into his step," Saunders said. "He had more lift on his shots and better rotation on the ball. He just looked like he felt better about himself."

Wallace keyed the defensive effort with six of the Pistons' 12 blocks.

Sixers forward Andre Iguodala had his best game of the series (21 points, six assists) but still made six turnovers. Backup guard Louis Williams added 16 points.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2008


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