AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 23 (Ticker) -- Antonio McDyess
got the Detroit Pistons moving forward.
McDyess scored 11 of his 15 points in the second quarter and
Wallace 16 of his 29 in the third period as the Pistons rebounded
for a 106-85 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the opener of
their Eastern Conference first-round series.
NBA TV highlights from |
The second-seeded Pistons began defense of their NBA title by
shaking off a slow start that saw them fall behind by 16 points.
They used their familiar formula of muscle and hustle to slow
down Allen Iverson
and the seventh-seeded 76ers, who began the
game in fifth gear.
The Pistons are heavy favorites in this series because of their
huge advantages in size and quickness at forward and center.
That was evident as Detroit held a 48-35 edge in rebounding that
forced Philadelphia to walk the ball upcourt.
"I was just in the room, trying to figure out who the best
player on the Pistons is, and I think I came out with a five-way
tie," Philadelphia coach Jim O'Brien
The Sixers began looking to turn the game into a track meet.
They forced turnovers, scored a handful of transition baskets -
including thunderous dunks by Andre Iguodala
off gorgeous feeds from Iverson - and opened a 28-12
lead late in the first quarter.
The 6-9 McDyess came off the bench and provided a huge lift in
the second period, when the Pistons had a pair of 10-0 bursts.
He made 5-of-6 shots and teamed with Ben Wallace
to attack the
offensive glass, which throttled Philadelphia's running game.
"It feels good," said McDyess, playing in his first playoff game
in seven years. "I didn't know what to expect when I first
came in. I was kind of mad, I was over there pouting when they
were up 16. But I needed to calm down. When I stepped on the
floor, I just felt like I needed to provide the energy, I needed
to provide the scoring or whatever it takes to get this team
back into it. I felt like I did that."
Detroit led in second-chance points, 14-6, and points in the
"We started off on the fast break and that's what we wanted to
do," Iguodala said. "They stepped up their defense and it
really slowed us down. They really killed us on the glass. Next
time we get into the game, we have to keep them off the glass
and limit their second-chance points. We need to keep pushing
Detroit held a 48-46 halftime lead when 6-11 Rasheed Wallace
emerged from a first-half funk to score nine points in an 11-3
run that opened the third quarter and pushed the lead to double
digits. He had a dunk and found Richard Hamilton
for a dunk
that made it 74-61 late in the period.
McDyess said he was expecting that kind of performance from
"He played unbelievable," McDyess said. "I knew it was going to
be a good night for him when he came in with his championship
belt on. I was just looking for what he was going to give us
A 3-pointer by Iverson, who had 30 points and 10 assists, opened
the final period and pulled the Sixers within 80-73. But
Rasheed Wallace drained a pair of 3-pointers and McDyess made a
layup to rebuild the lead to 96-79 with 4:26 to go.
"You can't win basketball games like that," Iverson said. "We
challenged shots at a high rate in the first quarter, but in the
second, they got a lot of uncontested shots. That's not how
you beat the defending champions."
Rasheed Wallace grabbed 10 rebounds, McDyess eight and Ben
Wallace 10 with seven blocks, which tied a 1976 team playoff
record set by Bob Lanier. Tayshaun Prince
scored 23 points and
Hamilton added 17 for the Pistons, who host Game Two of the
best-of-seven series Tuesday.
"There's no pressure on us," Rasheed Wallace said. "Most of the
attention is on Miami and San Antonio. We like being on the back
scored 27 points for the Sixers, who are back in
the playoffs after a one-year absence. However, the 6-10 Webber
had just three rebounds, which was not enough help for
Playing his first postseason game, Dalembert had 10 points, 18
rebounds and three blocks. His activity helped Philadelphia get
off to a quick start.
"I thought the difference was the energy," Ben Wallace said.
"Once we attacked the offensive glass, we started to get some
put-backs and it put pressure on them. They've got a lot of
guys that like to leak out. They were leaking out and we were
getting offensive putbacks and we were able to slow them down."