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LAKERS VS. DETROIT | PISTON NOTES

Campbell Gets the Message Now

June 07, 2004|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

Elden Campbell admitted he was spoiled.

As a fresh-faced rookie, he went to the 1991 NBA Finals with the Lakers, taken along for the ride with Magic Johnson and James Worthy.

This is easy, he thought at the time, practically an annual rite of passage.

It took him 13 years and four other teams to get back to the Finals.

"You probably get spoiled, playing with three or so Hall of Famers," said Campbell, drafted 27th overall in 1990. "You just assume that this is the way it's going to be, that it'd be like that every time. Here I am, 13 years later."

Campbell, acquired by the Pistons last season from the Seattle SuperSonics, averaged only 1.4 points and 6.2 minutes in the playoffs before Sunday, but his time and production increased against the Lakers in Game 1 of the Finals.

Campbell had six points and four assists in 18 minutes in the Piston victory.

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Led in part by Campbell, the Detroit reserves outscored the Laker reserves, 19-4.

Corliss Williamson scored seven points in 11 minutes, and Lindsey Hunter, a member of the Lakers' 2002 championship team, had five points, including a three-pointer that gave the Pistons a 71-58 lead with 9:47 left in the fourth quarter.

The reserves played particularly well in the second quarter, when Richard Hamilton went scoreless and Rasheed Wallace played only one minute because of foul trouble. Williamson scored all of his points in the quarter, and Campbell had three assists in seven minutes.

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Piston Coach Larry Brown, who guided Philadelphia to the 2001 Finals against the Lakers, said the Pistons have more depth than the 76er team that lost in five games.

"George Lynch broke his foot, Eric [Snow] had a pin in his ankle, Matt Geiger didn't play and Aaron [McKie] had that heart problem," Brown said. "We were not a healthy team at the time, and not as deep. I think this team is a little deeper."

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The Pistons, making their first appearance in the NBA Finals since a five-game victory over Portland in 1990, are 12-4 in the Finals, 7-3 on the road. ... Reserve forward Darvin Ham, used primarily for defensive purposes, said he was ready before Game 1: "Whoever I have to check -- Phil [Jackson], the equipment manager -- whatever I have to do, I'm ready."

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