AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- After a pair of suffocating
defensive performances, the Detroit Pistons have the San Antonio
Spurs gasping for points.
The defending champions look to win the three middle home games
in the NBA Finals for the second straight year when they face
the Spurs in Game Five on Sunday.
Thanks to a disruptive defense and balanced scoring attack, the
Pistons evened the series at two games apiece with a 102-71 rout
of San Antonio on Thursday.
Chauncey Billups - the Most Valuable Player of last year's
Finals - and Lindsey Hunter scored 17 points apiece to lead
seven players in double figures. Ben Wallace scored 11 and
grabbed 13 rebounds for Detroit.
The Pistons committed just four turnovers while forcing 18, had
a 13-1 edge in steals and limited the Spurs to 37 percent
(26-of-70) shooting from the floor. San Antonio was held to the
fifth-lowest point total in Finals history.
Although he scored 16 points and had 16 rebounds for the Spurs,
Tim Duncan made just 5-of-17 shots and could not seem to find
his normal offensive rhythm. He made just 10-of-32 shots in the
last two games here.
Manu Ginobili opened the series with 53 points in the first two
games but has managed just 19 in the next two. He scored 12
points on Thursday after being held to a playoff-low seven in
The series may be deadlocked but all four games have been
lopsided. The average victory margin is 18 points and each
contest has been decided by at least 15 points.
Detroit's Larry Brown needs one victory to join Phil Jackson and
Pat Riley as the only coaches with 100 career playoff wins. He
is tied with Hall of Famer Red Auerbach with 99.
The series moves back to San Antonio for Game Six on Tuesday,
where the Pistons have not won since 1997.