YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Wallaces Shrug Off Fear Factor

June 04, 2004|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Frightened? The Detroit Pistons?


Rasheed Wallace fairly bristled Thursday at the suggestion that the Pistons might actually find Shaquille O'Neal intimidating.

"Why should we?" he asked.

Hadn't he just called O'Neal the NBA's most dominant player?

"That don't mean we're scared of him," he said. "Look at Michael Jordan. He was the most dominant player in his time. Was Joe Dumars scared of him?

"It's all on the character of that person [facing the Laker center]. If you got a punk dude who's guarding him, then, yeah, he's going to be scared from the gate. But if you got a dog with heart, then you got to go out there and get it."

Ben Wallace, a two-time NBA defensive player of the year, had little patience for the topics of the day after the Pistons' first practice since they won the Eastern Conference championship Tuesday night.

"Got any other questions besides Shaq and Kobe questions?" he asked.

Does he believe that O'Neal in particular and the Lakers in general realize what they're up against in the Pistons' suffocating defense?

"The Lakers realize it," he told reporters. "It's just everybody else that's doing the writing and on TV doing the talking, they don't realize. But everybody that's going to be playing in the games, going to be involved in the games, knows that when it comes time for a championship, you can't take anything for granted, you can't listen to what's being said. It's still about going out there and getting it done."

Of the interest in his matchup with O'Neal, the Piston center said, "That's something good for y'all. Y'all going to have a lot of fun with that talk. So we all are going to have some fun.

"We're going to play basketball. Y'all do the writing."


Piston Coach Larry Brown doesn't like the 2-3-2 format of the Finals, with the middle three games scheduled for the Palace of Auburn Hills, nor the quick turnaround for the Pistons, who are scheduled to fly into Los Angeles tonight after eliminating the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

"But I'd rather be in this atmosphere," he said, catching himself, "than in Chicago [at the predraft camp] watching kids try out for the NBA."


Richard Hamilton, dismissing the suggestion that more is on the line for the Lakers, who are trying to get Karl Malone and Gary Payton their first championships: "Everybody will be hungry. You don't just get to this point and not be hungry. They're not the only ones that haven't won championships.

"A lot of people in this locker room haven't done that either. So we want it."

The only Piston with a title ring is backup guard Lindsey Hunter, who won it two years ago with the Lakers.

Los Angeles Times Articles