CLEVELAND -- The Detroit Pistons will win Game 4 --
One day after an 86-77 loss to the Cavaliers cut Detroit's
series lead in half, forward Rasheed Wallace, the irrepressible
motor mouth from the Motor City, boldly declared the Pistons would
win Game 4.
On top of that, Wallace proclaimed the best-of-seven series
"I know we're going to win it," Wallace said sitting on the
scorer's table following Sunday practice at Quicken Loans Arena.
"We're going to bust their [butt]. Tomorrow night is the last game
here in this building for this year."
Sheesh, Sheed. Anything else big fella?
"Y'all can quote me, put it back page, front page, whatever,"
Wallace said. "They can send whoever they want to send. I know the
crew I think they're going to send. But it don't matter. I know we
can do it, and they know we can do it. We know what we've got to
Although he said he respects the Cavs, Wallace isn't worried
about giving them any motivation.
"It ain't bulletin board material, it's a fact," he said
bluntly. "They can put it on the bulletin board. They can put it
on a video. I don't care. I know what we're capable of doing,
that's all that it is."
Wallace has gone prognosticator before in the playoffs, placing
his neck on the line to inspire his teammates. And, the Pistons
have responded with a win every time.
"That's what we do," Wallace said.
The Pistons, up 2-1 in the series, will have to take better care
of the ball and do more to contain LeBron James or they'll have
make another trip to Ohio. Game 5 is Wednesday night in Auburn
James, who scored 15 points in the fourth on Saturday while
recording his second triple-double in his first playoffs, laughed
off Wallace's boasts.
"That's Rasheed," James said. "Every playoffs, you know
you're going to get at least one good quote out of him. We can't
get caught up in that."
The Pistons are accustomed to hearing Wallace spout off. And,
they know when he does, they'd better come through.
"You have to go out there and play even harder and get a win
for him," Richard Hamilton said. "We have to have his back, do
what we do, and get a win."
The Cavaliers' hopes rest with James, who in Game 3 had perhaps
his finest all-around 48 minutes this season.
Although tempted to take over, James didn't until he had no
other choice. For three quarters, he sat back and let things unfold
before him. He entered the final 12 minutes with just six points on
3-of-10 shooting before seizing the game.
With a Wilt Chamberlain-like finger roll, James gave the Cavs
their first lead of the second half, and over the next 6:36, he
scored 11 with two assists -- the last to Damon Jones for a 3-point
dagger to put Cleveland ahead by 10.
"It's the best game he's played," Cavs forward Donyell Marshall said. "He didn't press the issue. He found people, he
rebounded and he scored when he needed to score."
Other than James, the Pistons' biggest problem was, well, the
They made 17 turnovers -- only one less than their combined total
in the series' first two games -- and missed shots that were ripped
the nets in Games 1 and 2. For all their playoff experience, the
Pistons looked like postseason newcomers down the stretch.
However, coach Flip Saunders isn't too concerned.
"It's a matter of getting back to meat-and-potatoes
basketball," he said. "We tried to do too much. We played out of
While Wallace may have been the only Detroit player to publicly
predict a victory in Game 4, the Pistons, who are 6-0 in Game 4s
the past two seasons, are equally confident they still control the
Chauncey Billups praised the Cavs for winning a Detroit-style,
low-scoring game. Cleveland had to change its game plan to do so.
Don't look for the Pistons to make major adjustments.
"Nothing's got to change," Billups said. "We just have to be
a little more disciplined in what we're doing. We don't have to
change none of our Xs and Os. We just have to not take any
Wallace doesn't see his prediction as risky. He relishes the
role of villain, and will be treated with the usual disdain by
Cleveland fans, who are still angry at him for a flagrant foul
against center Zydrunas Ilgauskas this season.
Wallace isn't afraid of the Cavs, or anyone else.
"There's only one team out there, two teams tops, that can
really give us that good challenge that it's like, 'All right, we
know we can't make no mistakes against those teams,"' he said.
The Cavaliers aren't one?
"Nah," he said.