Male of the Night
Rasheed Wallace. After losses to New Jersey and Indiana in Detroit's previous two Game 4s, and after averaging just 9.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in the first three games of the Finals, 'Sheed rumbled for a decisive 26 and 13. It's safe to say 'Sheed is enjoying the Pistons' 3-1 lead over the Lakers as much as anyone, given his 5-16 career playoff record against L.A. entering the series.
E-Mail of the Night
The Pistons deserve all the credit. The Lakers have been outhustled, outplayed and outmanned for this entire series. This one looks over. But as a Lakers fan, as bad as it looks, as many numbers lead you to believe that it's over, there is one small ray of hope. This whole year is a drama-filled soap opera. Nothing is normal on this squad. Knowing that this will be the one and only wild ride with this group of guys, who knows? Maybe it will go down as the biggest, most historic comeback of all time.
STEIN: You better hope that (stab-in-the-dark) theory about how Detroit can't deal with prosperity is more than myth. Pardon me for not embracing your optimism when Shaq and Kobe seem to be drifting apart yet again ... and when the Lakers still don't have one player in four games to crack double figures besides Shaq and Kobe.
Speak of the Night
"We all pretty much sucked the last two games."
— The Lakers' Kobe Bryant, apparently not impressed even with the fourth 30-point, 20-rebound game posted by Shaquille O'Neal in his NBA Finals career.
Stat of the Night
Detroit is the fourth team in Finals history, since the inception of the 2-3-2 format, to win Games 3 and 4 at home. As you have heard ad nauseum, the home team has never won the middle three games. Here's how the other three fared:
Year Team; Opponent; Game 5
1998 BULLS; Utah; Lost by 2
1997 JAZZ; Chicago; Lost by 2
1995 ROCKETS; Orlando; No Game 5 (Houston swept series)
Stat of the Frightful
This is the 28th time in Finals history that a team has taken a 3-1 lead in the championship round. The team with a 3-1 lead is 27-0 to date.