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Prince Puts Pistons in the Driver's Seat

May 09, 2003|From Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Since the Detroit Pistons don't have a spectacular scorer, they get the ball to the man of the moment.

In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers, that player was Tayshaun Prince -- again.

Prince, the seldom-used rookie who has thrived in the playoffs, scored seven straight points at the end of regulation and the start of overtime as the Pistons defeated the 76ers, 104-97, Thursday night to take a 2-0 lead in their series.

"Of course I was surprised," Prince said. "But this is a team that doesn't have a top star on it. Whenever a guy gets going, the coaches and the guy on the bench say, 'Let's get this guy the ball.' It's just a matter of who has the good feeling in the game, and in the overtime and just before overtime, that guy was me."

Allen Iverson scored 31 points, but with a 92-90 lead and 15.1 seconds left in regulation he missed two free throws to give the Pistons a chance at an improbable win.

"I take the blame for this one," Iverson said. "If I made one or two free throws, we're going home happy. Put this one on me."

Detroit's Chauncey Billups sat out the game because of a sprained ankle. He was replaced by Chucky Atkins, who had scored only 23 points in eight playoff games. Atkins matched that total in 44 minutes.

Prince, who scored 20 points in Game 7 against Orlando in the first round, made a difficult spinning four-footer with 4.2 seconds left to force overtime. He scored the first five points in the extra session on a layup and a three-pointer.

Atkins made a three-pointer with 2:07 left to give Detroit, which set an NBA record by going 8-0 in overtime during the season, a 100-93 lead.

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