You thought the Pistons missed the playoffs? Not at PistonPowered.
We’re honoring the 10th anniversary of the 2004 NBA championship team by examining each postseason game on the corresponding 2014 date. We’ll look back at Detroit’s performances, detail our memories of that time and provide insight from the players and coaches who were Goin’ to Work every single night.
So, stick with us this “offseason.” I have a hunch these Pistons will be playing into June.
|Chauncey Billups, PG 39 MIN | 5-14 FG | 9-9 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 21 PTSI could nitpick the shooting and turnovers, but Billups played well. He hit or assisted on 18 of Detroit’s points in a 25-4 run that completely shifted control of the game. And then he hit his free throws at the end to ice it.|
|Richard Hamilton, SG 32 MIN | 5-10 FG | 7-8 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTSRip did his thing: hitting mid-range jumpers with astonishing consistency when better scoring options didn’t present themselves. Also, along with the rest of the starting lineup, he held the Bucks to one point over the last four minutes and change after they had closed the lead to a single point.|| |
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 44 MIN | 6-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTSPrince continues his Andrei Kirilenko impression, giving the team a little bit of everything. AK47 rode the following line to an all-star berth this year: |
16.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.9 spg, 2.8 bpg, 2.8 topg, 44/34/79 in 37.1 mpg
Prince’s playoff numbers look pretty darn identical. He could be garnering all-star consideration very soon:
15.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 3.3 bpg, 1.0 topg, 49/33/100 in 36 mpg
|Rasheed Wallace, PF 39 MIN | 4-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 5 TO | 10 PTSSheed had a bit of an off shooting night, but he was stout as ever defensively–after the first quarter or so. In spite of sharing a glass with Ben, who had a monster night, he matched Joe Smith’s and Brian Skinner’s combined rebounding totals.|| |
|Ben Wallace, C 32 MIN | 5-8 FG | 3-9 FT | 21 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTSBen Wallace grabbed 21 rebounds compared to 24 rebounds by every Buck combined while he was on the floor. Enough said.|
|Corliss Williamson, PF 11 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTSWilliamson had another rough game. In spite of his not playing a single minute of the first quarter when the Bucks were pouring it on, Detroit managed to give up 26 points in his 11 minutes. That means, over the final three quarters, Milwaukee scored 1.16 points per minute with Williamson sitting and 2.36 points per minute with him playing.|| |
|Lindsey Hunter, PG 16 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTSHunter’s line might not look very impressive, but compare it to his counterpart. Brevin Knight was 1-6 for three points in 25 minutes as Detroit’s bench, led by Hunter and Okur, killed Milwaukee’s.|
|Mehmet Okur, C 11 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTSMemo was the best non-starter on either team in this game.|
|Mike James, PG 9 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTSJames wasn’t the ball thief he has been so far, but he was pesky enough.|
|Darvin Ham, SF 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTSDarvin Ham is a role player. And his role is apparently to simply be present on the court for a few minutes so that the starters can sit down. If you’re expecting him to do anything in those minutes, you’re setting a mighty high bar.|
|Larry Brown, Head Coach |
The Pistons went into Milwaukee, got punched in the mouth early, and didn’t give a damn. They kept playing their game: scoring at a mediocre rate and grinding the opposition to a halt. Kudos.
From the frontlines
“’We’re meeting in 25 minutes to go eat. Whoever is downstairs, let’s go,’” Mike James recalled the team leaders saying. “And the whole team would show up.”
To the outside world, the 2004 Pistons are remembered for winning without a superstar. But talking to people on or around the team, another distinguishing factor comes up more frequently – how close the players were.
James particularly and fondly remembers a meetup between Games 3 and 4 in Milwaukee.
“The whole team went out, and we looked like a gang,” James said. “Because we were all together, just hanging out. They already called a majority of the guys on the team – they called Rasheed Wallace a thug. They called Ben Wallace a thug. We was basically like the new-era version of the Bad Boys, coming from Detroit.
“It used to be funny when we all used to go hang out and we used to see other players on other teams, and it’d be two of them hanging out, and here it is, it’s 15 of us, and we’re coming in a spot. We’re just looking like, not only are we going to play hard on the court, but we’re going to play hard off the court. So, that unit was just one great big unit. That was just an awesome feeling.”
The Bucks jumped to a 23-11 lead, and it seemed former Piston Damon Jones, who made three 3-pointers in the opening run, was hot enough to down Detroit himself. The Pistons never led in the first half.
But Chauncey Billups made a 3-pointer and a short jumper and assisted Ben Wallace in a quick 9-0 to start the second half, and the Pistons took the lead before Milwaukee could call timeout. Though it took a while to actually put away the Bucks , Detroit never trailed again.
Can the Pistons, now up 2-1, put away the series? That won’t be easy against a pesky Milwaukee team, but at least Detroit leaves tonight with the most important thing – a win.
The Pistons will have a chance for another April 26, and they don’t want to keep trading punches with a .500 team. It’s time to end this series soon and get ready for the Nets, who are already up 3-0 on the Knicks and can complete the sweep tomorrow. The last thing Detroit needs is to face New Jersey with a significant rest disadvantage.
Though, admittedly, I might be jumping the gun on this series. The Bucks are tough, and Game 4 in Milwaukee surely will be, too.