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 38 MIN | 8-16 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTSBillups saved his best for last in this series with strong play on both sides of the ball.|
|Richard Hamilton, SG 36 MIN | 8-17 FG | 1-3 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTSHmailton shot well. Making just one free throw was unimpressive, but the Pistons didn’t really need more in this one.|| |
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 41 MIN | 11-15 FG | 2-4 FT | 9 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 24 PTSPrince was the best player in this series and by far the best player in this game.|| |
|Rasheed Wallace, PF 41 MIN | 4-16 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTSRasheed was the weak link in this game, getting outplayed by Keith Van Horn. Fortunately, he had plenty of help.|| |
|Ben Wallace, C 38 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 4 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTSBen owned the paint. Whether or not he was upset about being denied a third consecutive Defensive Player of the Year, Ben Wallace proved himself by being the primary reason the Bucks (the East’s highest scoring team) were held more than a dozen points per game below their typical scoring.|
|Lindsey Hunter, PG 14 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTSHunter again played effective defense, but his play left a lot to be desired on the other end..|
|Mehmet Okur, C 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTSOkur gradually stole Williamson’s job over the course of this series. It’s not easy to get Brown to trust you when you’re new to the league. Well done, Memo.|
|Mike James, PG 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTSJames’ job was to keep the Bucks from going on a big run while the starters rested up. He did that but nothing more.|
|Darvin Ham, SF 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS Despite having played every game this series, Ham didn’t attempt a single shot until this game. His line for the entire series: 2 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 6 fouls|
|Darko Milicic, C 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS|
|Larry Brown, Head Coach |
The first round was not exactly characterized by parity as three series ended in sweeps and only one of eight went beyond five games. But the Pistons handily proved they belong in the second round, having lost one game that came down to the wire and winning four by double digits.
From the frontlines
Except sometimes Prince.
If one player got excluded it was Tayshaun, the youngest of the quintet. When the Pistons sent four players to the 2006 All-Star Game, Prince was left out.
But Prince had his moment to shine in this series against the Bucks. Unlike his quieter and probably bigger contributions before and after, Prince dominated with all-around play even casual fans had to notice.
He capped the series with Detroit’s first 24-point, nine-rebound, eight-assist, two-steal game since Isiah Thomas. Afterward, Larry Brown said, “He probably was the most valuable player in the series.”
Prince has never been one to call attention to himself, and really, his most-fitting words on this his play this series came when discussing a teammate later in the playoff run.
“When you have a magical run, you need things like that to happen,” Prince said. “Like I said before, different guys made different plays at different times in each series. That’s what you need. That year, like I said, I think it was just our year.”
Pick your poison, Milwaukee.
Seemingly every game in this series had a different hero. Whether it was Ben Wallace’s big 13-point, 21-rebound effort in Game 3 or Richard Hamilton’s 27 points in Game 4, the Bucks have been at the mercy of Detroit’s hot hand.
In the series finale, it was Tayshaun Prince who put together one of the most impressive games of his young career — notching 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. It’s easy to forget how versatile a player Prince was during this run.
Not only was he the Pistons’ best perimeter defender, but he was as versatile an offensive player as they had, too. Many times, Prince served as the de facto point guard when Billups was off the floor, and his ability to post up smaller forwards worked to his advantage as a scorer.
Prince averaged 18 points per game in the series, but whether or not he can sustain it against New Jersey – Game 1 is May 3 – in the second round will be a story to watch.