PLAYOFFS
DET Wins series 4-2
54-28, 23-18 away
72
1234T
DET1225181772
IND1726111367
61-21, 34-7 home
67

One giant leap for Detroit

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Tayshaun Prince was several steps behind

Reggie Miller as the play of the game unfolded. The Indiana Pacers

had just come up with a steal, and Miller was about to drop in a

game-tying breakaway layup.

One stunning leap later, everything changed.

Prince sprinted in from midcourt and made a perfectly timed

block to put a finishing flourish on another dominant defensive

display as the Detroit Pistons defeated the Indiana Pacers 72-67

Monday night to even the Eastern Conference finals at one game

apiece.

Miller opted for a layup instead of a dunk, enabling Prince to make a spectacular block.
Miller opted for a layup instead of a dunk, enabling Prince to make a spectacular block.
AP

"In that situation, a two-point game, I've just got to make a

play on the ball," Prince said. "Before I got there I knew it was

going to be a tough play, but once I put my hand on the ball it was

a good block.

"He slowed up just a little bit at the last second and gave me

time to get there."

The block was the 19th of the game for the Pistons, one shy of

the NBA playoff record set by Philadelphia in 1981.

And in a series that doesn't figure to feature very much

offense, it was fitting that Game 2's defining moment came on a

play that kept the ball from going through the basket.

Miller made four straight free throws to cut a six-point deficit

to 69-67, and it appeared he was about to tie it after Jermaine

O'Neal blocked a dunk attempt by Rasheed Wallace and Jamaal Tinsley

stole the ball from Chauncey Billups to start a breakaway.

"I saw him in my rearview mirror," Miller said. "In

hindsight, I should have dunked it, but I thought I had a few steps

on him."

Prince landed several rows deep in the stands after his block,

and it took him a minute to get up. After he did, Richard Hamilton

made two free throws for a four-point lead with 14.6 seconds

remaining that all but clinched it.

Hamilton scored 13 of the Pistons' final 15 points and finished

with 23.

"Tay gets one of those about once every four games," Hamilton

said. "I said to myself: 'Reggie better dunk it, because if he

doesn't dunk it Tay is going to get it."

The loss was the Pacers' first at home since March 19, snapping

a streak of 14 consecutive victories at Conseco Fieldhouse. The

best-of-seven series moves to Auburn Hills for Games 3 and 4 on

Wednesday and Friday.

Miller scored 21 points and O'Neal had 16 to lead Indiana, which

shot only 27.5 percent and was held to three field goals in the

fourth quarter.

Detroit had only four baskets in the fourth quarter but scored

nine points at the foul line. Rasheed Wallace shot just 4-for-19

and scored 10 points but made his biggest contribution at the other

end, blocking five shots and grabbing eight defensive rebounds.

Wallace, who had guaranteed a victory, yelled "I told you so"

at the Indiana fans as he walked off.

Prince and Ben Wallace each blocked three shots and Elden

Campbell added three. Billups shot just 1-for-7 with five turnovers

but came up with five of Detroit's 10 steals.

"Detroit comes at you with a different level of length,

athleticism and angularity," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We

couldn't get enough done at either end."

Rasheed Wallace finally found his touch midway through the third

quarter after he had missed 11 of 12 shots. His three straight

baskets gave Detroit a 51-49 lead with 5:46 remaining. Detroit,

however, did not have another field goal until Hamilton scored with

2.8 seconds remaining to put the Pistons ahead 55-54 entering the

fourth quarter.

Consecutive baskets by Hamilton -- the first coming on a

super-rare fast break -- put the Pistons ahead 63-59, and a missed 3

by Miller was followed by Hamilton's 15-foot pull-up for a

six-point lead.

Indiana was able to pull within two, but the Pacers' next three

possessions ended in two turnovers and an airball, and Hamilton

made two from the line with 1:38 left for a 69-63 lead.

"Not enough stops, not enough scores. Now we're going to have

to bounce back," Carlisle said.

The first quarter was an exercise in offensive futility, the

Pistons missing 13 of their first 15 shots and half of their eight

free throws. Rasheed Wallace was razzed by the fans after shooting

an airball from 19 feet, and he responded with a "bring it on"

gesture as he went to the bench with the Pistons trailing 15-6.

Both teams eventually picked up the scoring pace, and O'Neal's

16 points and Miller's 15 helped the Pacers to a 43-37 halftime

lead.Game notes
Pacers F Al Harrington, bothered by a bruised sternum and

twisted ankle, missed all four of his shots. ... Before the game,

Harrington raised eyebrows among his teammates when he rolled into

the arena in a brand new Rolls Royce. Austin Croshere joked that

the Pacers must have the highest car value per player ratio in the

league. O'Neal said he bought a similar model for $329,000, which

prompted Miller to ask, "What, does it talk to you?"