Pacers trounce Pistons to take back home court advantage

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.

Indiana Pacers 83 Final
Recap | Box Score
68 Detroit Pistons
Chauncey Billups, PG 39 MIN | 5-14 FG | 8-9 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 21 PTSBillups’ turnovers troubles were disappointing, but he was the only Piston to dominate his matchup in this one.
Richard Hamilton, SG 40 MIN | 10-24 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTSHamilton keeps pouring in the points, but he got badly outplayed by the man his game is most often compared to – Reggie Miller.

Tayshaun Prince, SF 32 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTSReally, Prince? I thought you were good at this basketball thing. Over his last ten games, Tayshaun is averaging six points, four rebounds, and 2 assists on 27% shooting.

Rasheed Wallace, PF 41 MIN | 5-17 FG | 0-2 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTSSheed’s poor shooting returned. He’s now shooting 32% over the past five games and he has missed his last 15 threes. And while he had a much easier time rebounding against Austin Croshere (who made a surprise start) than he has had against Jeff Foster, he did a poor job at defending farther from the hoop.

Ben Wallace, C 40 MIN | 0-5 FG | 1-4 FT | 19 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTSBen Wallace did some more fantastic work on the glass, but it was an atrocious offensive outing, even by his modest standards.
Corliss Williamson, PF 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTSRon Artest shot 5-8 and earned all four of his free throws against Williamson. But with how poorly Prince has been playing, Corliss’ awful defense may be worth it to play a guy who can knock down a shot or two.

Lindsey Hunter, PG 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTSNo Pacer guard hit a shot with Hunter in the game. But then, he didn’t spend much time in the game and didn’t provide much either. Still, Detroit tied Indiana 12-12 with Hunter on the floor. That’s a whole lot better than the rest of the game.
Mehmet Okur, C 5 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTSIn other games this series, Jermaine O’Neal has been going off the moment Okur checks in. This time, three minutes of O’Neal and two of Croshere failed to record any stats at all (except one personal foul) against Okur. Microscopic sample size and all, but that’s a bit more encouraging.  
Mike James, PG 11 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTSIt’s never a good sign when the other team goes on as 11-2 run the moment you check in.  
Darvin Ham, SF 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS  
Elden Campbell, C 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTSCampbell entered the game for a minute and a half in the second quarter. The Pistons got outscored 6-0. Not much to go on, but to the extent that I could evaluate him, it’s not positive.  
Larry Brown, Head Coach
Well, the first blowout of the series is in the books, and the Pistons were on the wrong side. Still, the series is currently a best-of-three. That’s not a terrible outcome four games in.

-Tim Thielke

From the frontlines

Rick Carlisle shocked everyone by starting Austin Croshere for Jeff Foster, and the stretch four delivered. Left open again and again on the perimeter, Croshere shot 5-for-8, including 3-of-4 on perimeters.

There was a lot of discussion, whether we were going to try to hedge him like we normally do or switch him,” said Dave Hanners, an assistant with the 2004 Pistons who now works for the Pelicans.

That discussion wasn’t limited to just Larry Brown and his assistant coaches. Part of Brown’s success – especially in Detroit – came from trusting his players.

"He would say to Chauncey and to Rip and to Ben and to Rasheed, ‘How do you guys want to play this? What do you think is the best way?’" Hanners said. "Sometimes, the answer that they gave him was different than what he really believed. But he went with theirs, because they believed.

"Those guys gave him some pretty good feedback, and he really knew that they believed that was the best way to do it, so he did that. He empowered them greatly."

Up next

Watching the Pistons and Pacers exchange haymakers is weird, isn’t it?

The NBA was a different game in 2004, and these two teams were arguably the grittiest of the playoff bunch. But the biggest thing that this series — and really, this entire playoff run — was the depiction of how dependent the Pistons were on Richard Hamilton’s offense.

For a guy who did most of his damage on shots created by others, the Pistons’ offensive success was almost completely linked to whether Hamilton put together a strong game. In Game 4, he shot 10-for-24… and the Pistons mustered just 68 points.

The Pistons made their name on being a balanced team, but on nights like this, it was almost a bad thing. Luckily, and this is yet another spoiler alert, I have a feeling the offense will regain some of its footing in Game 5 on May 30.

- Brady Fredericksen

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