Monday, May 24, 2004

Wallace guarantees victory

Piston's boast only makes Pacers yawn

The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS - Guarantees were in vogue Sunday at the Eastern Conference finals, Rasheed Wallace again promising that the Detroit Pistons will defeat the Indiana Pacers in Game 2.

"That's all I'm saying, people. We will win Game 2," Wallace announced.

Wallace issued that same guarantee Saturday night after the Pistons dropped Game 1 of the best-of-7 series, which resumes tonight.

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle and his players acknowledged taking note of the boast but gave no indication they took great offense. It remains to be seen whether they're seething privately.

Wallace is the latest in a long line of athletes - beginning with Joe Namath at the 1969 Super Bowl - to utter the dreaded "g-word."

Just a few days ago, Dwyane Wade, Rafer Alston and Malik Allen of the Miami Heat failed to deliver on their guarantee of forcing a Game 7 against Indiana in the second round.

"I guarantee that there's going to be a Game 2, and that someone's going to win it. And I guarantee that Rasheed will probably be in the game and I won't," Pacers forward Scot Pollard quipped.

"I guarantee we'll be wearing white jerseys and they'll wear their road jerseys. If nobody wins, the fans will get their money back - that's a guarantee."

Wallace had little else to say other than repeating the statement: "We will win Game 2." A question about his ailing left foot was met with silence, and a query about his opinion of Jermaine O'Neal elicited only a cursory reply.

Wallace was largely ineffective in Game 1, shooting 1-for-7 with three turnovers and five fouls - many of them questionable calls.

"Knowing him, he feels responsible for the game last night," Detroit coach Larry Brown said. "But again, the guy's in foul trouble right off the bat in almost every game. And it's kind of hard to play that way when the guy you're playing against never gets a foul.

"Offensively, in the first 13 minutes, he only touched the ball once, so I don't know how you're going to be productive in that regard."

The Pistons got the bulk of their offense from their backcourt, shooting guard Richard Hamilton scored 23 and point guard Chauncey Billups added 18. The reserves contributed only nine points.

Game 2

When: 8 p.m., today

Where: at Conseco Fieldhouse

TV: ESPNNBA Eastern Conference finals

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