Friday, May 7, 2004
Pistons look to avoid repeat
Detroit dominated Game 1 in first round but suffered loss in Game 2
The Associated Press
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The Detroit Pistons have done the same thing in the opening game of their two playoff series.
Now, they want the similarities to stop.
Detroit routed New Jersey in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal, and it had a 26-point win in the opening game against Milwaukee in the first round.
In Game 2 against the Bucks, Detroit was flat until it rallied from a 15-point deficit with three minutes left before Rasheed Wallace turned the ball over in the final seconds.
Pistons coach Larry Brown does not expect a similar letdown today tonight at home against the Nets.
"The good thing is we did have a lesson in the Milwaukee series," Brown said. "Everybody was talking about how good we were, and then lo and behold, we had a series and the (home-court advantage) we worked for over the course of the year was taken away in one game.
"I'm not taking anything away from Milwaukee, but everybody better realize that New Jersey is a better team. They've proven it the past two years."
The two-time Eastern Conference champion Nets were held to 56 points in a 22-point loss Monday. New Jersey shot a franchise-playoff low 27.1 percent, and tied the league's postseason record for fewest field goals with 19.
"It's nearly impossible to have that kind of futility two games in a row," said New Jersey's Richard Jefferson, who made his first shot and missed his final 11. "I don't think it's ever been done, not too many times on the offensive end. History is working in our favor."
Both teams have not enjoyed waiting for Game 2 - four days after the series started.
"The days in between are terrible," Detroit's Chauncey Billups said. "You just want to play, win or lose. You don't want to practice three or four days, when everybody else is playing games. It felt like training camp again."
BUCKS: Milwaukee point guard T.J. Ford had surgery Thursday for the bruised spinal cord that sidelined him for the last two months of the season. Ford should make a full recovery in time for training camp in October, the Bucks said.
Ford did not play after getting hut Feb. 24, when he landed on his tailbone during the fourth quarter of a game against Minnesota.
He averaged 7.1 points, 6.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds while sharing point guard duties with Damon Jones.
CAVS: LeBron James should know within the next two weeks whether he will be selected for the men's U.S. Olympic basketball team.
USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said the body's executive committee hopes to make its final four choices to complete the 12-man roster in that time frame.
James is one of the players receiving serious consideration for the squad.
The Cavaliers guard has said he would accept an invitation to play this August in Athens, Greece.
James' agent, Aaron Goodwin, said Wednesday he has received no word from USA Basketball.
The team's coach, Larry Brown of the Detroit Pistons, has made no secret of his admiration for James.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant withdrew from the team last week due to scheduling conflicts with his court case.
USA Basketball has eight commitments, but not all are ironclad. Jason Kidd is playing on a gimpy left knee, and Ray Allen is getting married this summer and his fianc»e is due to give birth Sept. 1.
Other players receiving invitations are: Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, Jermaine O'Neal, Tracy McGrady, Tim Duncan and Mike Bibby.
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