AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 26 (Ticker) -- Rasheed Wallace didn't make any guarantees. He made shots instead.

Wallace scored 20 points, giving the Detroit Pistons just enough offense for an 85-78 victory over the Indiana Pacers and a 2-1 lead in the defense-dominated Eastern Conference finals.

Although the Pistons made good on Wallace's guarantee of a Game Two win at Indiana, it nearly was as much in spite of him as because of him. He made just 5-of-26 shots in the first two games, putting an added burden on the offense with points already at a premium.

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The Pistons celebrated after taking the series advantage after Game 3.
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However, Wallace was energized as the Pistons returned home, making 8-of-15 shots. He scored nine points in the first quarter, when Detroit took the lead for good. His jumper and thunderous dunk in the third period rebuilt the lead to 12 points. And his last basket went a long way toward sealing the win.

After allowing Austin Croshere to blow by him for a dunk that pulled Indiana within 76-75 with with 1:50 remaining, Wallace sank a turnaround jumper over Croshere and drew a foul. His free throw made it 79-75 with 1:32 left.

"I was just hooping, man," Wallace said. "I was just taking what they gave me. That's all it was."

"I thought he did a great job," Pistons coach Larry Brown said. "He was guarding a great young player (Jermaine O'Neal) that they go to a lot. He was great."

Tayshaun Prince sank a foul shot before Al Harrington made a 3-pointer, drawing the Pacers within 80-78 with 48 seconds to go. Wallace missed a low-post jumper, but Ben Wallace put home the rebound with 29 seconds to play.

"I was just surprised I was so wide open," Ben Wallace said. "It was a great play, and I was able to clean it up."

Richard Hamilton scored 20 points and Ben Wallace added 17 and 16 rebounds for the Pistons, who are two wins away from their first trip to the NBA Finals in 14 years. They host Game Four on Friday.

O'Neal had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers, who have yet to break 80 points or shoot 35 percent in this series. Despite strong surges by their bench, they could not overcome poor starts to each half.

"We've had a lot of wide-open shots," O'Neal said. "We just haven't knocked them down. That's what needs to change."

"We have to get a better start on Friday," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We need to be playing from in front, if we can possibly do it. It's pretty hard to play from behind on the road."

The highly physical series seems to be working against the Pacers. Guard Reggie Miller, upset at the lack of foul calls, kicked the ball into the seats after the horn sounded.

"Whoever officiates these games is going to have a tough time," he said. "Everyone is holding, grabbing, banging and hanging all over each other. That makes it tough to officiate, and both teams are going to get frustrated."

While Rasheed Wallace started quickly, Indiana made just 5-of-20 shots and trailed, 27-14, after one period. Detroit returned the favor in the second quarter, when it made 3-of-12 shots while committing 10 turnovers.

In the period, Harrington outscored the Pistons, 10-9. The Pacers held the Pistons scoreless for the first 7 1/2 minutes, closing to 27-26 before settling for a 36-30 halftime deficit.

"As ugly as that was, I thought it was beautiful that we were able to keep the lead," said Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, who had 14 points and eight assists.

But Indiana stumbled again at the outset of the third quarter before Rasheed Wallace struck again. His hammer dunk made it 51-39 with less than five minutes to go.

Two free throws by Billups pushed the lead to 76-65 before the Pacers rattled off 10 straight points, six by Jamaal Tinsley.

"There are certainly things we can improve on, but I like the fact that we got down as many as 13 in the second half and were able to get within one possession," Carlisle said.