PHILADELPHIA, May 10 (Ticker) -- Kenny Thomas
gave the Philadelphia
76ers their own version of Ben Wallace
NBA TV highlights from|
Speedstick Never Quits Highlight:
Thomas had 10 points and 14 rebounds as the 76ers controlled
both backboards and got back into their Eastern Conference
semifinal series with a 93-83 Game Three victory over the
The Pistons had their five-game playoff winning streak snapped
but still hold a 2-1 lead in the series. Game Four is here
Playing in his first postseason, Thomas is giving the smallish
76ers a big boost. He had 15 points and 19 rebounds in
Thursday's overtime loss and followed with another double-double
- in the first half.
"They came out a little dead tonight, and they weren't really
into the game," Thomas said. "That was great for us because we
just took our game to another level."
Despite the presence of Wallace, the NBA's leading rebounder,
the Pistons are one of the NBA's worst rebounding teams. That
showed in the first half, when they were beaten on the boards,
"We knew this series was going to be about rebounding for us and
for them," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "They got off to
a great start on the boards."
The 6-8 Thomas set the pace with his energy and his teammates
followed. Philadelphia had 12 offensive rebounds while Detroit
managed just seven defensive boards. That led to 21
second-chance points for the 76ers, who opened a 48-37 halftime
"We came out real aggressive in the first half as far as
rebounding and playing defense," Thomas said. "We were trying
to set the tempo for the game. Myself, I was ready to go. I
felt like we needed a win bad. If somebody is playing hard on
this team, everybody else will follow. We just came out, picked
it up and got it going in the first quarter."
"At halftime, they had nearly half their points on second
shots," Carlisle said. "That's not a good sign for us, so we're
going to have to match their level of aggression on the
Thomas may have been too energetic. With just under four
minutes left in the third quarter, he suffered a strained right
quadriceps trying to track down a rebound. He limped to the
locker room and did not return.
By that time, the Sixers had a 64-44 lead. They maintained a
double-digit lead thereafter as Allen Iverson
and Keith Van Horn
paced the offense.
While Thomas was a terror, Wallace appeared waylaid. He had
just two defensive boards and six total, the first time in 20
career playoff games he did not reach double figures in
"We didn't help Ben on the boards at all tonight," Pistons
swingman Tayshaun Prince
said. "He was down there fighting,
fighting, fighting, and we didn't help him at all."
Iverson had 25 points and 11 assists and Van Horn broke out of a
slump with 17 points for the Sixers, who held a 48-30 advantage
on the backboards and had 27 second-chance points.
"That's what I'm trying to concentrate on," Thomas said. "If I
go to the boards and get an offensive rebound, then I'm going to
get some put-backs."
scored 24 points and Game Two hero Prince added
17 for the Pistons, who made 10-of-21 3-pointers but shot just
36 percent (26-of-72) overall.
With Game Four 24 hours away, health is an issue for both teams.
Pistons guard Chauncey Billups
sat out his second straight
game with a sprained ankle and is questionable for Sunday's
game. In addition to Thomas, Sixers Derrick Coleman
went to the locker room early for treatment of nagging
"I'm a little nervous about that, with Kenny's situation and
Eric's situation," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "Some guys,
I'm not concerned with. I hope we don't party." "It's a nagging
bruise I had earlier in the season," Thomas said. "It was the
same thing when I got hit (tonight). If I get hit again, it
might get irritated. It's nothing serious. I'll be all right
If Thomas cannot go, the Sixers will need another solid game
from Tyrone Hill
, who had nine points and six boards in an
energetic 22-minute outing.
"That was what we need from Tyrone, to come in there and mix it
up," Coleman said. "He's always been that type of player. He's
a blue-collar worker. We need that with Kenny going out; he
stepped up and played well."
Thomas swept seven boards in the first quarter, when
Philadelphia had 13 second-chance points and opened a 23-19
lead. Iverson scored six straight Sixers' points early in the
second quarter to make it 31-22, and Thomas had a pair of
jumpers in a 7-0 burst that built the margin to 44-30 with 3:57
Van Horn scored 11 points in the third quarter. His third
3-pointer of the period came right after Thomas got hurt and
gave the Sixers their largest lead at 67-45.
"I was happy with the way he played," Brown said. "He made some
shots, he didn't get into serious foul trouble, and that really
Iverson scored 11 points in the final period to repel a
half-hearted rally by the Pistons, who never got within single
"If we get this next game, we have a shot in Detroit," Iverson
said. "We do feel confident about being able to win there, but
it's unfair to even being thinking about going back to Detroit.
We need to concentrate on winning this game tomorrow. We win
this game and we put ourselves in a better (position)."
Coleman had 15 points and eight boards and Snow scored 11 points
for Philadelphia, which shot 44 percent (32-of-72) and made
26-of-29 free throws.
again started for Billups and scored 13 points.
Rookie Mehmet Okur
had 10 rebounds.