AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 21 (Ticker) --
On the night he received
his Defensive Player of the Year trophy, Ben Wallace
threw in a
little offense, too.
Wallace added an uncharacteristic 19 points to his 20 rebounds
and three blocks as the Detroit Pistons routed the Toronto
Raptors, 85-63, in Game One of their Eastern Conference
In the biggest landslide in the 20-year history of the award,
Wallace was voted Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday.
Prior to the game, he was presented with the trophy by NBA
commissioner David Stern and former Pistons great Bob Lanier.
"Motivation comes in a lot of different ways," said Raptors
forward Jerome Williams, a teammate of Wallace's for part of
last season. "When you finally get the recognition you deserve,
it's a big lift. He came out tonight to show that it takes a
lot to do what he does. He was the key for them tonight,
defensively and offensively."
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Jerry Stackhouse scored 20 points on way to routing the Raptors.
Wallace's defensive influence was evident as the Pistons
entirely shut down the Raptors, holding them to the
second-lowest total in NBA playoff history. He was a force on
both backboards, which Detroit needed against Toronto's active
"It was one of our best defensive efforts," Wallace said.
"Everybody was reacting to the ball and what was going on on the
floor. Everybody was all over the place."
But it was on the offensive end where Wallace really made his
presence felt. He averaged less than eight points per game
during the season but matched his season high and scored 11
points in the third quarter, when the Pistons turned it into a
"You know he's gonna be there defensively and you know he's
gonna be there on the boards," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said.
"But some nights he comes up with a monster effort putting the
ball in the hole. When he goes 8-for-11 with 20 boards and
three blocks, that's obviously a monster performance."
"I didn't want to be passive out there. I wanted to attack the
basket," Wallace said. "I didn't want to stand around on
offense and allow my man to zone off and clog things up for us.
I wanted to be aggressive and make my guy work."
Wallace made 8-of-11 shots and 3-of-4 free throws while adding
three steals. His energy was infectious and unable to be
matched by the Raptors, who looked like the team that lost 17 of
18 rather than the one that won 12 of its last 14 to sneak into
"I'm just glad to be here," Williams said. "Anything's better
than sitting at home. There are a lot of teams doing that right
Jerry Stackhouse scored 20 points for the second-seeded Pistons,
who have not won a playoff series since 1991. They host Game
Two of the best-of-five series on Wednesday.
"The hardest game to win in a playoff series is the second game
for the home team, especially if you win by a wide margin,"
Carlisle said. "Our players are aware of that. We have great
respect for Toronto's playoff experience and the way they
finished the year. We know they're one of the strongest-willed
teams in the league." "Tonight was a bad game for us," Raptors
coach Lenny Wilkens admitted. "We'll be ready the next game,
Antonio Davis had 15 points and 14 rebounds for the
seventh-seeded Raptors, who scored just nine points in the first
quarter and never got untracked. They shot under 30 percent
(23-of-77) and only a late flurry allowed them to hurdle 60
"I've never seen a team play that well defensively for the whole
48 minutes," Williams said. "They had everybody in check to
the point that where you couldn't get your rhythm going. Then
they really jumped on us in the second half. They continued
their defense and picked up their offense."
The Pistons also held Atlanta to 63 points on May 12, 1999 and
San Antonio limited Portland to the same total on June 4, 1999.
In Game Three of the 1998 NBA Finals, Chicago held Utah to 54
In the first quarter, the Pistons didn't need to play any
defense. Neither did the Raptors as both teams came out very
tight and combined to make just 10-of-43 shots.
"I didn't have any doubt that we'd have really good energy,"
Carlisle said. "But sometimes the adrenaline can get the best
of you, and I think it did early. We got a little overanxious."
However, Wallace offered a sign of things to come, leading all
scorers with six points and pulling down nine rebounds to help
the Pistons to a 16-9 lead. The combined points matched the
lowest total in playoff annals set by Portland and Utah on May
"Our energy has been high all week," Wallace said. "We've been
excited and anxious to get going. We banged each other up a
little bit in practice, so we were just waiting for them to
throw the ball up."
Consecutive jumpers by Jon Barry and a basket by Zeljko Rebraca
pushed the margin to 27-16 midway through the second period.
Davis and Alvin Williams scored five points each in a 12-2 run
that pulled the Raptors within 29-28 before Stackhouse sparked
the Pistons to a 42-34 halftime lead.
Wallace had a pair of dunks early in the third quarter to help
push the lead to double digits. Midway through the period, he
had a finger roll, a double-pump short jumper and a follow dunk
for a 57-41 advantage with 4:03 to go.
"We struggled a little bit on the offensive end, but I got a
couple of easy putbacks and our defense carried us through like
it's been doing all season," Wallace said. "When we play hard
on defense, we end up getting some easy baskets on the other
Stackhouse had a dunk to cap the quarter. Wallace dunked in an
8-0 burst that opened the final period and gave Detroit a 73-45
"Ben was outstanding," Stackhouse said. "He did his thing and
everyone else stepped it up with him." Corliss Williamson scored
14 points off the bench for the Pistons, who shot 40 percent
(31-of-77) and forced 20 turnovers, converting them into 20
Jerome Williams had 11 points and 13 rebounds and Alvin Williams
and Hakeem Olajuwon each scored 10 points for the Raptors.
Morris Peterson made just 1-of-13 shots, Keon Clark and Dell Curry were 1-of-5 and Chris Childs was 0-of-4.
"I thought we were in a hurry," Wilkens said. "Mo Pete didn't
have a good night shooting. I think he tried a little too hard.
When you try that hard, you get out of sync. You get out of a
rhythm and he never really got back into it."