"When I saw that, I said, 'Hurry up and get this game over with
and let's get out of here," Jackson said.
After the start was delayed for 1 hour, 25 minutes because of a
telephoned threat that there was a bomb in Indiana's locker room,
Austin Croshere scored 15 points and Reggie Miller had 14 to lead
the Pacers to a 94-81 victory Friday night.
Miller said it was a disturbing situation, and he lashed out at
the NBA and commissioner David Stern, who came down hard on the
Pacers for brawling with fans the last time they played in suburban
"The league ought to be ashamed of themselves to let security
be as lax as it is around here," Miller said. "We're always going
to get the brunt of it as players, especially this year for this
"David Stern has to take a hard look in the mirror every
morning when he wakes up on his decision, the way he penalized us
and the way he penalized the Pistons."
Auburn Hills chief of police Doreen Olko said The Palace -- the
site of the melee between the teams four months ago -- received a
call about an hour before the scheduled start with a very specific
threat that there was a bomb in the locker room.
The room had been searched in the morning with dogs, and was
searched again later in the afternoon. At no point was anything
found, and the building was not evacuated. Security was posted
outside the door at all times.
"Nothing was found," Olko said. "We are completely confident
that the Pacers' locker room and that this entire building is safe.
If not, we wouldn't be here."
The Pacers went on and off their bus about three times,
according to their driver, and once left the loading dock and drove
to a far end of the parking lot. Olko said it was the team's
decision to board the bus.
Indiana coach Rick Carlisle left it up to players to decide
whether to play.
"After what we've been through earlier in the year, we need to
be concerned about safety," Carlisle said.
The Pistons had what they called "playoff-level security" in
place for Indiana's first game at The Palace since the Nov. 19
brawl between the teams at the arena that spilled into the stands,
and back onto the court. Indiana won the infamous game 97-82.
Several Pacers mingled with the crowd before the game, signing
autographs, and Jermaine O'Neal even took pictures with fans on his
way to the court at halftime. O'Neal, out for the rest of the
regular season with a shoulder injury, was suspended for 15 games
for his role in one of the worst brawls in U.S. sports history.
"There's always one or two who make the whole place look bad,
but I'm fine with Detroit," O'Neal said.
Jackson, who was suspended for 30 games after swinging at fans
in the stands, had 12 points and was booed every time he touched
The Pacers took control with a 7-0 run late in the second
quarter, giving them a 43-35 lead. Indiana opened the fourth
quarter with a 14-4 run for a 17-point lead.
After the pregame drama, the game was dull -- until a
confrontation with 5:50 left.
Detroit's Ben Wallace fouled Scot Pollard at the top of the key,
then Pollard lightly swung an elbow at Wallace's chest. Wallace
responded with harsh words and the two were face to face before
being separated. Pollard was called for a technical.
The fracas in November started when Ron Artest fouled Wallace,
and Wallace reacted with a hard, two-handed shove to Artest's chin.
Artest was suspended for the season for charging into the stands
after being hit with a full cup.
With 1:59 left in the game Friday night, fans were fighting each
other in the upper section of the lower level and one man was
carried out of the seating area by several security guards.
Fans were permitted to buy alcohol until after the third
quarter, following the usual policy.
The 22,076 spectators in the arena were never told why there was
Shortly before the scheduled 8:10 p.m. start, the public address
announcer told the fans "due to unforeseen circumstances," the
game would be delayed.
"Everyone else knew what was going on before we did," Megan
Tessmai of Davison said. "I called a friend of mine in Flint and
he had just seen on TV that there was a bomb threat in the Pacers
locker room. So we were the last ones to know."
While the Pacers were getting on and off their bus, the Pistons
lingered in their locker room and a room where their families
"To be honest, I was hoping the game would get changed to
another day, because I was getting tired," Detroit's Tayshaun
Prince said. "I was falling asleep back here."
Detroit has lost three straight, one shy of its season high.
"We're playing real bad," Ben Wallace said. "We just don't
have the energy and intensity that we need."
The Pistons were without leading scorer Richard Hamilton
(sprained ankle) for the third straight game and coach Larry Brown
for the seventh game in a row. Brown is out indefinitely after
undergoing a procedure related to the hip surgery that caused him
to miss six games in November.
Detroit and Indiana split the season series.
The NBA playoffs start April 23. If they started now, Detroit
would play Indiana in the first round, one season after the Pistons
beat the Pacers in the conference finals before winning the title.
Indiana's Anthony Johnson scored 12 points and reserve Jeff
Foster added 10. ... The Pistons host Boston on Saturday night. ...
Detroit activated F Darvin Ham from the injured list and put F
Ronald Dupree (back spasms) on the IL. ... Hamilton is listed as
day to day. ... Detroit's Tayshaun Prince scored 12.
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