Big Ben and Co. Corral Cavaliers
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Dec. 16 (Ticker) -- Ben Wallace
and the Detroit
Pistons displayed the type of suffocating defense that led them
to the NBA title last season.
Wallace had 10 points and 15 rebounds and the Pistons held the
Cleveland Cavaliers to a season-low six points in the third
quarter en route to an 81-69 victory.
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The Pistons set a franchise record for fewest points allowed in
a quarter, breaking the old mark of seven, set against the
Charlotte Hornets on Dec. 28, 1996.
"In the first half we didn't match their energy," Detroit coach Larry Brown
"They got every loose ball and every long rebound. In the
second half, we played as well as we could play. We didn't get
beat on dribble penetration, which kept them off the offensive
boards and kept LeBron (James) from finding people."
The Cavaliers, who led 41-31 at the half, made just 3-of-18
shots in the third quarter with Drew Gooden
scoring all six
scored a season-low 11 points, making just four of
21 shots. He had a season-high 43 points against Detroit in the
first meeting between the teams, Nov. 24.
"I missed a lot of shots that I normally make," James said. "But
they played a lot more aggressive defense against me tonight.
Every time I came off a screen, they doubled me and I had to get
rid of the ball."
"We didn't talk at all about his scoring 43," Wallace said. "If
we play defense the way we can, we don't have to worry about
anybody scoring 43 against us. We just have to keep putting up
the type of defense that makes teams struggle."
The Pistons erased a sizeable halftime deficit for the second
straight night. Detroit beat the New York Knicks Wednesday
after trailing by 16 at intermission.
"We continue to make it tough on ourselves in the first half,"
Wallace said. "We play too relaxed. Coming out in the second
half, you have to get out and play hard to make up the
difference from the first half. I think our defense really made
that statement for us tonight."
The Pistons were down, 45-40, with 6:36 to play in the third
quarter after a breakaway dunk by Gooden, but Detroit finished
the period on a 12-2 run.
scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half
and led five players in double figures. Chauncey Billups
16 and Rasheed Wallace
"We just tried to be more patient on offense in the second half
and try to get to the free-throw line," Hamilton said.
The Pistons went to the line 19 times in the second half, making
18, while Cleveland shot just 3-of-4.
Cleveland coach Paul Silas
was more disappointed with his team's
composure than its performance.
"We just lost our poise and you can't do that," Silas said. "You
can't lose your focus."
Although the Cavaliers have a better record than the Pistons,
Silas admitted they're still not in the same class as the
"What's most frustrating about tonight is that we're not there
yet," Silas said. "We're still trying to get there. But it's
these kind of games that we have to learn from."
The victory was Brown's 945th in the NBA, passing Bill Fitch for
fourth place all-time.
Cavaliers point guard Eric Snow
was sent to the locker room
in the second quarter after an argument with Silas.
Snow, who was lifted following an eight-second violation,
returned to the bench at the start of the second half but did
not re-enter the game.
"I'm not going to discuss that. It's an internal matter," Silas
Snow declined to comment.