AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 24 (Ticker) -- Jerry Stackhouse
remembers how to score.
Stackhouse scored 22 of his career playoff-high 31 points in the second half as the
Detroit Pistons rallied for a 96-91 victory over the Toronto
Raptors and took a commanding 2-0 lead in their Eastern
Conference first-round series.
Last season, Stackhouse averaged 29 points on 24 shots per game,
earning an All-Star berth that really meant nothing as the
Pistons lost 50 games and missed the playoffs.
This season, first-year coach Rick Carlisle convinced Stackhouse
to trust his teammates and share the ball. Stackhouse averaged
21 points on 17 shots and failed to make the All-Star team, but
the Pistons won 52 games and their first Central Division title
in 12 years.
NBA TV highlights from|
Barry in the Crunch:
E.piphany of the Day:
Jerry Stackhouse scored 13 points in the third quarter, half of his team's output.
"It's been a tough year for him in a lot of ways," Carlisle
said. "Even though we won, it's a different style of play.
We've asked him to change his game more radically than anyone I
can remember in 15 years. He's had multiple games in
double-figure assists. His shot-making has been there when we
needed it. He has had an excellent year."
On many occasions, Stackhouse has allowed a lesser-known
teammate to grab the glory. But with home-court advantage and
control of the series on the line, the erstwhile gunner showed
he still knows how to take over a game.
"That's been my mentality all my life, so it was not hard to
revert back to that," said Stackhouse, who made 8-of-22 shots
and 11-of-12 free throws. "It's such a great feeling. It's
kinda the cycle turned, with me showing so much trust in these
guys all season allowing them to step up and make plays.
"When it's key situations like this, everybody is looking for
me to make plays. That's what it's all about, a little give and
take. Teams have to play all these guys honest now. Everybody
on this team commands respect now, so it makes it a little
easier in these situations. They didn't know what to do."
Stackhouse scored 13 points in the third quarter, including
eight in a row that gave Detroit a 72-65 lead late in the
"Jerry was just tremendous," teammate Clifford Robinson
was aggressive and he got to the line when we needed points. He
got off to a slow start, but Stack is a scorer. He's not going
to get discouraged just because he misses a few shots early."
In the final 5 1/2 minutes, Stackhouse made three 3-pointers.
The first erased an 83-80 deficit with 5:17 left. The second
followed Jon Barry's
3-pointer and gave Detroit an 89-85 lead
with 3:28 to go. And the third came right in the face of Jerome
and widened the advantage to 94-87 with 2:09
"We struggled tonight, so we really needed him," said Pistons
forward Ben Wallace
, the star of Game One. "He put us on his
shoulders and carried us down the stretch."
"He made some big shots, there is no question about it," Raptors
coach Lenny Wilkens said. "He's a big-time player. He hit a
three right in front of our bench with JYD (Williams) all over
him. That three hurt. Just because he is making other people
better doesn't mean that he should give up his offense. That
would be stupid."
The Pistons survived a potential tying 3-pointer by Alvin
in the final seconds and became the first team in the
2002 playoffs to open a 2-0 lead. They can wrap up their first
playoff series win since 1991 on Saturday with a victory at
Barry and Chucky Atkins
scored 13 points apiece and Wallace
grabbed 15 rebounds for second-seeded Detroit, which shot just
40.5 percent (30-of-74) from the field and was beaten on the
boards, 50-33. However, the Pistons compensated in other areas,
making 27-of-33 free throws and committing just nine turnovers.
had 22 points and 14 assists and Antonio Davis
21 points and 14 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Raptors, who
were much sharper than they were in Sunday's blowout loss but
still came up short and are one loss from the end of a
"I thought today we finally woke up," Childs said. "We had to
play a lot harder. The first game, we played like it was a
regular-season game. We were just going to go through the
motions; you can't do that."
Toronto shot 47.5 percent (38-of-80) but made just 11-of-16 foul
shots and committed 13 turnovers.
After Stackhouse's flurry late in the third quarter, the Raptors
trailed 72-67 heading into the final period. But consecutive
baskets by Hakeem Olajuwon
and a drive by Childs gave Toronto an
83-80 lead with 5:32 to play.
Davis answered Stackhouse's 3-pointer with a long jumper that
beat the shot clock. But Barry and Stackhouse connected from
the arc to give Detroit the lead for good.
"They didn't panic when we made our runs. They just continued
to go to their go to guy in Jerry Stackhouse, who played very
well tonight," Davis said. "He stepped up when his team needed
him to and hit some big shots."
After Stackhouse's last 3-pointer, Davis had a pair of baskets
to cut the deficit to 94-91 with 34 seconds to go. The Raptors
rebounded a miss by Cliff Robinson but chose not to call
timeout. Alvin Williams got an open look from the right wing
but left his shot short. Barry rebounded and made the clinching
free throws with six seconds left.
and Robinson each scored 10 points for the
Pistons. Jerome Williams scored 13 points for the Raptors.
Game Two started similar to Game One, with a former Piston
presenting a current one with a season-ending award. This time,
it was Vinnie Johnson and Sixth Man Award winner Williamson.
That was where the similarities ended. Childs and Keon Clark
who combined for three points in the opener, scored eight apiece
in the first quarter as Toronto grabbed a 30-27 lead. Childs'
third 3-pointer widened the advantage to 39-29 with 8:58 left in
the second period.
"In the first half, they came out and gave us a huge effort,"
Stackhouse said. "They were making shots and had us on our
heels a little bit."
The Raptors still held a 49-42 lead with 1:39 to go on a
frightening reverse windmill dunk by Clark, who had 12 points
and nine rebounds. The Pistons closed to 49-46 at halftime and
took a 51-50 lead early in the third period when Stackhouse made
two free throws after being flagrantly fouled by Childs.