AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 4 (Ticker) --
Larry Brown finally beat
Rick Carlisle. Ben Wallace
and Rasheed Wallace
All-Star Jermaine O'Neal
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Dictating the tempo with a physical style to their liking, the
Detroit Pistons held O'Neal to nine points on 4-of-15 shooting
and rolled to a 79-61 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
It marked the 10th time this season the Pistons have held an
opponent under 70 points. Indiana's previous season low was 71
points against Denver in a November 4 victory.
"The Pistons are a great defensive team, and that's no secret,"
said Carlisle, the Pacers coach who was fired by Detroit and
replaced by Brown in the offseason. "We had some opportunities,
but you just have to give them credit for just playing a great
game. We could have been a lot better offensively, but they had
a lot to do with our struggles."
Carlisle beat Brown, who coached the Philadelphia 76ers, in a
playoff series last May and won the first three meetings this
season. In the last meeting on January 20, O'Neal had 28 points
and 15 rebounds in an 81-69 victory for Indiana.
But that was before the Pistons acquired Rasheed Wallace at the
trade deadline. Dealing with the combination of Ben and Rasheed
Wallace plus playing with a bruised left knee made for a rough
day for O'Neal, who finished with nine points - less than half
his scoring average of 20.1.
"I hurt my team a lot," said O'Neal, who made two of his first
three shots, then missed nine in a row. "If I shoot better, I
think we can win the game because we were still in it late. I
just didn't give us any lift. I want to play 36-37 minutes a
game and try to get healthy and get into a rhythm before the
playoffs, but I have to play better than this."
led the Pistons with 24 points, including a
layup and two jumpers in an 11-0 run which helped the Pistons
open a 70-53 lead with just under five minutes left.
"I think (today) we (Hamilton and Chauncey Billups
) were a lot
more patient, letting the game come to us rather than trying to
be the two primary scorers, trying to get the big men involved,"
Hamilton said. "With the addition of Rasheed, it makes it a
lot easier anyway, because they can't just focus on the guards."
Hamilton blanketed Reggie Miller
, who made just 3-of-9 shots,
including 1-of-6 3-pointers.
The win was the 50th of the season for the Pistons (50-27),
marking the third straight season they have reached the plateau.
They are 16-5 since acquiring Rasheed Wallace on February 19.
The Pacers (56-21) already have clinched the best record in the
Eastern Conference and remain two wins shy of matching an NBA
franchise record for wins. They won 59 games in the ABA in
consecutive seasons from 1969-71.
scored 16 points and was the only player in double
figures for the Pacers, who shot 32 percent.