Rasheed’s 28 Leads Pistons Past Pacers
Detroit 88, Indiana 83
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 23 (Ticker) -- Rasheed Wallace kept his cool while the Indiana Pacers lost theirs.
Wallace scored 11 straight points in a fourth-quarter surge as the Detroit Pistons toyed with the Pacers, 88-83, for their 11th straight home win.
One of the NBA's more volatile players, Wallace received a technical foul for arguing demonstratively with referee Bennett Salvatore in the second quarter. However, it was the Pacers who unraveled in the final period.
"That's 'Sheed. He thrives on controversy," Pistons center Ben Wallace said. "He came in with a lot of energy after that tech. He was aggressive on both ends. He's not going to let the officials dictate the way he's going to play the game."
The Pistons have come to expect Rasheed Wallace to push his game to another level after getting a technical.
"When he gets a tech, he always seems to be a little more in tune with what's going on," guard Chauncey Billups said. "We ran his plays a little more after that, trying to keep him going."
After the game, Rasheed Wallace was still fuming over the call by Salvatore.
"It's all felonious," Wallace said. "They're just trying to bait me into getting my 16th (technical) or whatever. If I was going to elbow him, I had plenty of other opportunties."
Indiana pulled within 69-63 on an inside hoop by Stephen Jackson and had a chance to get closer before David Harrison was called for an offensive foul and argued, drawing a technical.
Billups and Jackson traded free throws before Wallace went to work. After scoring inside, he drained three straight 3-pointers for an 81-64 lead, bringing a roar from the crowd at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
"As long as we got the win," Rasheed Wallace said. "We gotta deal with that other (stuff) every night. But we fought through it and got the W."
"Rasheed was great tonight," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "He did everything. He scored in the post, he scored from three, he made big plays on the other end - he was a big part of the game."
While Wallace was lighting it up, the Pacers were self-destructing with a series of offensive fouls, turnovers and poor shots that were blocked. Indiana committed seven of its 22 turnovers in the fourth quarter.
"Those turnovers were a huge factor," said Indiana forward Peja Stojakovic, who was scoreless with a pair of charges in the final quarter. "We just have to be more patient."
A long jumper by Wallace gave the Pistons an 85-65 lead with 6:11 to go. They held on easily for their third straight win and fifth in six games.
"We were right there in the fourth quarter and then Rasheed has that streak," Stojakovic said. "That was the difference. They're up by 20 and there's six minutes left. Not much you can do then."
Billups had 14 points and nine assists and Richard Hamilton and Ben Wallace added 13 points apiece for Detroit, which committed just 12 turnovers and limited Indiana to 40 percent (32-of-80) shooting. However, coach Flip Saunders wasn't very impressed.
"I thought we played maybe 10 to 13 minutes of championship basketball tonight," Saunders said. "We didn't play how we're supposed to play, even down the stretch. We won the game, but there were definitely some learning experiences."
Jackson scored 15 points and Stojakovic added 14 for the Pacers (27-24), who had won six of their last seven games, all at home.
"When you turn it over 22 times for 30 points, you're not going to beat a top team," Carlisle said. "One of the characteristics of our recent good play is we haven't been turning the ball over and we've been rebounding well. Tonight, that was part of our undoing."
A 3-pointer by Rasheed Wallace during a 9-0 run gave the Pistons the lead for good at 14-12 with 5:03 left in the first quarter. They pushed the advantage to 10 points in the second quarter and 59-46 early in the third period.