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NBA FINALS: LAKERS 99, DETROIT 91

Wallace in a Foul Mood Again

June 09, 2004|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

Once again, Rasheed Wallace got no closer than close.

He was a petulant rising star on the Portland Trail Blazers four years ago when the Lakers used a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter to win Game 7 of the Western Conference finals. The Lakers went on to win an NBA championship that just as easily could have been Portland's.

Caught again Tuesday in the wrong place at the wrong time, Wallace was on the losing end of a 13-2 run in the fourth quarter and overtime that pushed the Lakers to a 99-91 victory over the Detroit Pistons in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Wallace, who scored 11 points and missed nine of 14 shots, including two attempts in overtime, didn't have much to say afterward.

He chastised a television cameraman for setting up a stepladder too close to his locker and offered up a less-than-insightful interview to reporters that lasted less than two minutes before he slid out a side door located a step away.

He didn't adhere to many questions, in particular one about his apparent hard luck against the Lakers, whether in a Portland or Detroit jersey.

"This was totally different," he said. "They were up 10 tonight and we came back before we were up. When I was with Portland, we were up [the whole time]. It's different, can't compare."

In terms of playing time and scoring, it hasn't been the best series so far for Wallace.

He has been in early foul trouble in both games, playing 29 minutes in Game 1 and 34 minutes in Game 2.

He did not play in the second quarter Tuesday, but he held his tongue when asked about the officiating.

"Hey, hey, I'm just out there playing," he said. "I could care less about how they call it."

Detroit Coach Larry Brown had a different opinion, rushing to Wallace's defense.

"The way that game was called, I don't like fouls," Brown said. "The kid got to the line [twice]. We threw it inside to him, he gets to the line [twice] and he's out of the game early in every game. I don't know what the answer is.

"Am I allowed to complain? You know, I don't understand. We threw it in to him about six straight times underneath the goal and he went from two feet to 12 without a dribble. It's hard."

Wallace's teammates also sprinted to his side.

Guard Chauncey Billups said Wallace should have been fed more often in the third quarter, when he scored eight points on four-for-five shooting.

"Rasheed really had it going for us," Billups said. "I think we should have explored that more in the fourth quarter."

Instead, Wallace made only one of five the rest of the way, a more than likely reason for his post-game crankiness.

A reporter asked Wallace how the Pistons will respond Thursday in Game 3.

"How do you think we'll respond?" Wallace said. "You think we're just going to lay down?

"We're going to be at home and we're going to play hard."

But there must be some semblance of a mission accomplished, with the Pistons taking one of two games at Staples Center?

"Mission ain't accomplished," Wallace said. "We've still got three more to get, then it'll be accomplished. They did their thing tonight. We've just got to go back to Detroit and do ours."

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