CANOE Network SLAM!Sports

 
SLAM! Sports SLAM! Basketball
  Fri, June 11, 2004


NBA NEWS
RAPTORS
NCAA BASKETBALL
SCOREBOARD
COURTSIDE BLOG
COLUMNISTS
COMMENT






PLAYER BIOS
MOVEMENTS
INJURIES
STATS


FIND A PLAYER:
CONF. STANDINGS
EAST STANDINGS
WEST STANDINGS
WEEKLY SCHEDULE
DAILY LEADERS














Lakers sink to new low
Detroit holds Los Angeles to lowest playoff point total in franchise history
By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

Larry Brown went from being a mad genius, to a village idiot, back to a mad genius in a span of 96 hours.

And speaking of time frames, if not for 10 seconds of indecision, or confusion, or miscalculation, or whatever you want to call what happened at the end of the fourth quarter in Game 2, the Detroit Pistons would have a commanding 3-0 lead in the NBA final.

As it stands, coach Brown's Pistons are up 2-1 in the series following their emphatic 88-68 victory over the aching and aging Los Angeles Lakers before a rabid sellout crowd at the Palace of Auburn Hills last night. The next two games will be in Michigan, too, which is significant in that the Lakers just may be on the ropes here.

How bad was it? The 68 points the Lakers scored represented a franchise low for a playoff game in the shot-clock era.

"I'm shocked," Brown said. "I'm a big fan of the Lakers."

NO 'A' GAME

Of course, the Lakers have Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, so counting them out is folly. But increasingly, it appears the Lakers are made up only of O'Neal and Bryant, neither of whom brought their 'A' games last night, to borrow a phrase from Tiger Woods.

The Pistons' Tayshaun Prince blanketed Bryant, holding him to 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting from the field. Shaq had 14 points, battled foul trouble and went to the charity stripe only twice himself, missing both attempts.

The Pistons again were led by their killer backcourt of Richard Hamilton (31 points) and Chauncey Billups (19 points). It was sweet revenge for Detroit after what transpired on Tuesday out West.

"Game 2 was a heartbreaker, but we came out a lot more hungry," Billups said.

Brown has been lambasted in the press because his team did not commit an intentional foul before Bryant hit the game-tying three-pointer over Hamilton in Game 2, which the Lakers won in overtime. Brown admitted he never has experienced so much second-guessing in his lengthy career.

"Picking up the pieces: Brown's idea of right went wrong," trumpeted a headline in The Detroit Free Press yesterday.

After two days of trying to pooh-pooh the pummeling, Brown changed his tune slightly last night.

"I'm not going to tell you guys what was said in the huddle," said Brown, implying for the first time that all his instructions were not carried out. "That would be disrespecting everybody I coach."

No matter who really was to blame, Brown would be in for the same treatment as infamous goats Bill Buckner, Scott Norwood and Steve Smith if the Pistons blew this series.

After Smith, an Edmonton Oilers defenceman, shot a series-losing goal into his own net in 1986, for years Calgary Flames fans screamed "shoot" whenever Smith touched the puck. Can't you just hear Lakers fans screaming "foul" every time the Pistons visit L.A.?

Funny? Yes. Fair? No. In any event, if the Pistons keep playing this way, Brown will be spared such indignities.

The Pistons stormed to an 8-0 lead, but for the third game in a row Rasheed Wallace picked up two early ticky-tack fouls and had to take a seat. Detroit went up by 13 points in the second quarter and led 39-32 at the break after holding Bryant to one first-half point.

When Gary Payton made a pretty move to set up Shaq for a dunk on the first possession of the third quarter, it looked like the Lakers might be making a statement. Instead, the Pistons surged ahead by 16 and the Lakers resorted to playing the likes of Brian Cook.

ROCKIN' PARTY

The fourth quarter was a rhymin' and rockin' Motown party, befitting the home of Eminem and the White Stripes.

The creaking Lakers have two days to find a way to stop this shindig before Game 4 on Sunday.

After all, the chances of Brown turning into a village idiot again are slim.







Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


Results | Story