Chauncey Billups ends regulation with halfcourt buzzer beater, but Pistons lose heartbreaker to reach brink of elimination

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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.

New Jersey Nets 127 Final
Recap | Box Score
120 Detroit Pistons
Chauncey Billups, PG 55 MIN | 9-29 FG | 10-12 FT | 10 REB | 8 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 31 PTSBillups put up huge stats as players tend to do when playing 55 minutes. He was solid on both ends, playing Jason Kidd pretty well to a draw.His most memorable moment was banking in a halfcourt buzzer beater to force the first overtime. But at least as valuable was that he was the one Piston starter who was able to stay on the court all game. Given the drop off from starters to subs on this team, that was huge.
Richard Hamilton, SG 33 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 11 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTSThe Pistons could really have used Hamilton’s normally consistent, reliable, bulk scoring. They shot just 38% in this game and that was in part due to a lack of aggression from the team’s leading scorer.

Tayshaun Prince, SF 55 MIN | 5-15 FG | 7-8 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTSPrince fouled out with one second left in the third overtime on a meaningless intentional foul. It’s almost like he was trying to break the record (which he did) for most players (8!) fouled out in a playoff game.

Rasheed Wallace, PF 48 MIN | 7-14 FG | 3-3 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTSRasheed may not have put up the best stat line, but his presence was invaluable. Once he fouled at the end of the second overtime, the Pistons had nobody left who had to be respected in the paint. They promptly fell apart.

Ben Wallace, C 48 MIN | 6-13 FG | 4-12 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTSBen Wallace is a great defender, but that free throw shooting is such an Achilles’ heel. His missed free throws cost Detroit this game.
Corliss Williamson, PF 26 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTSWilliamson stepped in admirably when either Wallace sat. He couldn’t mimic their defensive prowess. But he gave plenty of efficient scoring in a game when the Pistons desperately needed it.

Lindsey Hunter, SG 21 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTSHunter played pretty good defense on Kerry Kittles. But he was a complete dud on offense and the Pistons couldn’t afford that when he was typically playing as Hamilton’s sub.
Mehmet Okur, C 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTSMemo’s lack of minutes was inexplicable, especially once Ben Wallace fouled out. He didn’t produce, but I’m putting that on Brown, not Okur.  
Mike James, PG 15 MIN | 3-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTSJames had his best game of the playoffs. That won’t move the needle much, but every little bit helps in a game this tight. James was part of why Detroit lasted three extra periods.  
Darvin Ham, SF 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTSWhy was Ham even in this game? Okur is a much better player and barely saw the floor more.  
Larry Brown, Head Coach
The Pistons really needed this one. After four straight home team blowouts, it should have been the Pistons’ turn for another big win. Instead, they lost the first triple overtime playoff game in more than a decade.Now they have to win two in a row, including one on the road–against a team that swept them last year–in order to keep their title hopes alive. That’s a lot to ask. Brown certainly doesn’t deserve all the blame. But with Williamson, Okur, and James playing such effective ball, he did not have to give all those minutes to Hunter and Ham.

-Tim Thielke

From the Frontlines

I’ve always been conflicted how to view Chauncey Billups’ halfcourt shot in Game 5 against the Nets.

I was at The Place for the game, screaming my head off when he made it. I remember how 20,000 people simultaneously raised their arms in excitement. Had the Pistons won, it would have gone down as the greatest shot in franchise history.

But they lost, definitely removing some of the luster.

So, how should Billups shot be remember? I asked Mr. Bigshot himself for a little guidance.

“That shot? I don’t think that’s part of anything for me. We didn’t win the game,” Billups said. “A lot of people, they see that shot and they say, ‘Man, that was a great shot.’ Yeah, it was a good shot to keep us in it. But if you don’t win, from my point, if you don’t win, it doesn’t really matter.”

Up next

If you’re still trying to catch your breath, it’s OK.

What the Pistons and Nets did in Game 5 was insane, crazy, amazing, awesome and draining. Whether it was Chauncey Billups’ miracle heave or the fact that Brian Scalabrine scored 17 points, this was easily the game of the 2004 playoffs.

Think about it. At times this series, both of these teams each struggled to score even 70 points, and they both blew up for 120+ in two overtimes.

The Nets outlasted the Pistons, it was as simple as that. By the time Scal was crushing Detroit’s dreams in the second overtime, the Pistons had seen four of five starters foul out.

After two games, it felt like this was Detroit’s series, but after three more, it looks like it belongs to New Jersey heading into Game 6 on May 16.

-Brady Fredericksen

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