AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 20 (Ticker) --
The last game of the
Eastern Conference semifinals was much like the first, which was
bad news for the New Jersey Nets.
scored 22 points and Richard Hamilton
had 21 as
the Detroit Pistons advanced to the conference finals for the
second straight season with a 90-69 victory in Game 7.
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Rasheed Wallace was delighted with the outcome of Game 7.
Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images
New Jersey nearly set a postseason record for futility with just
56 points in Game One but bounced back to win three of the next
four games, including a triple-overtime thriller in Game 5.
But the Nets squandered a chance to seal the series on their
home court in Game 6 before putting forth another dismal
performance in the series finale.
New Jersey was held to 19 points or less in each quarter and
made just 36 percent (24-of-67) of its shots from the floor.
was 0-for-8 and held scoreless in the postseason for
the first time in his career.
"All the shots I took looked good, felt good, but didn't go in,"
Kidd said. "There are no excuses. Detroit was the better team.
We showed up and we lost, no excuses."
The Nets jumped out to a 10-4 lead - the second straight game
they started well - but the Pistons closed the opening period
with a 17-4 run to take control. Rasheed Wallace
scored half of
his 12 points during the spurt and Hamilton closed the quarter
with consecutive jumpers for a 21-14 edge.
The Pistons had a 40-31 lead at halftime and put away the game
by scoring 14 of the first 16 points in the second half,
highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Billups.
"At the beginning of the third quarter, they really set the
tone," Frank said. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to respond."
Detroit got an unexpected lift offensively from Ben Wallace
scored 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He had averaged only 10.7
points on 40 percent (23-of-58) shooting in the first six games
of the series.
Wallace made a pair of baskets in the opening minutes and buried
a few 15 to 18-foot jumpers during the game that brought the
crowd to its feet.
"I wasn't looking to have a monster game," Wallace said."If we
were going to go down tonight, we were going to go down
swinging. That means I wasn't going to pass up any shots. They
gave me the outside shots and luckily, I was able to knock a
couple of them down."
Detroit shot just 40 percent (34-of-85) from the floor but made
8-of-21 3-pointers and committed only nine turnovers. New Jersey
was 3-of-16 from 3-point range and had 16 miscues.
scored 18 points and Richard Jefferson
and Kenyon Martin
added 17 apiece for the Nets, who had reached the NBA
Finals each of the last two seasons.
"It's a tremendous disappointment," Nets coach Lawrence Frank
said. "You work every day and prepare every day to put
yourselves in a position to win a championship. Unfortunately,
we didn't get it done this year."
The Pistons will face the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the
Eastern Conference finals on Saturday. Detroit was swept by the
Nets in the conference finals last season.
"Tonight everybody came together and we fought," Hamilton said.
"But there's a lot of things we want to accomplish and we're
still one step away."
"Right now we've put ourselves in a position where we were last
year - back in the Eastern Conference finals," Wallace said.
"We're going to enjoy this for a little while but we really want
to take that next step and try to get to the (NBA) Finals."