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LAKERS VS. DETROIT | PISTON NOTES

Hunter Is Perfect for the Pistons

June 14, 2004|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Lindsey Hunter, once a first-round draft pick of the Pistons, has become a role player in his latest tour with Detroit, his playing time and scoring on the decline.

But Coach Larry Brown called Hunter an important player, one of many Piston veterans unconcerned by his minutes. Hunter's statistics Sunday in Game 4 of the NBA Finals were typical -- four points, 11 minutes, no complaints.

"I think when you look around our league, there's a lot of older guys that are really professional guys that respect the game, respect their teammates and will do anything they can to make a contribution," Brown said. "A lot of times they understand it themselves and a lot of times as a staff, you ask them to do it and they make sacrifices.

"But Elden Campbell, Corliss [Williamson], Lindsey, people like that give you a chance to be successful whether they play 10 minutes or not. It's never an issue."

Hunter was traded to the Boston Celtics in February as part of a three-team deal that brought Rasheed Wallace from the Atlanta Hawks, but the Pistons signed Hunter a week later after the Celtics waived him.

Brown said Hunter remains a strong defensive guard, making him a good fit for the Pistons.

"He's a great on-ball defender," Brown said. "He's got unbelievable toughness. Allen [Iverson] told me earlier in his career that Lindsey was the best on-ball defender, other than maybe Eric [Snow] every day, and that's a tremendous compliment."

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The Pistons outrebounded the Lakers on Sunday, 45-38, taking the category for a third consecutive game. The Pistons have been outrebounded only in Game 1, 37-36.

"I think we're a good rebounding team and, to be honest, one of the big things [is] I don't think they have a lot of guys in the triangle that dribble-drive," Brown said. "The triangle is mostly a post-up/jump shooting offense. When we are going to have trouble is when they get out and run and penetrate. That's when you have trouble rebounding."

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The Pistons could become the first home team to win the middle three games since the 2-3-2 Finals format was adopted. ... The Pistons will tie a team record in Game 5 with their 23rd playoff game in a season. They had 23 playoff games in 1988, losing to the Lakers in seven games in the Finals.

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