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Pistons Hold Kidd Scoreless in Ousting Nets

May 21, 2004|From Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Ben Wallace backpedaled and kept his right wrist cocked after sinking a 19-foot jumper that put the Detroit Pistons ahead by 25.

Wallace's jumper was one of many things for the Pistons that worked to perfection in Game 7. Chauncey Billups scored 22 points, Richard Hamilton had 21 and the defense-minded Wallace added 18 to lead Detroit past the New Jersey Nets, 90-69, Thursday night in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

"I thought New Jersey was going to come out with a lot more energy and play a lot harder," Wallace said.

"If you would have told me that we were going blow this team out, coming into a Game 7, I would have told you you're crazy."

What if someone had told him Jason Kidd would go scoreless?

Well, that improbability happened too, as part of Detroit's dominance of the deciding game.

Detroit took the lead for good in the middle of the first quarter and turned it into a blowout early in the third by holding the Nets to two points in the first six-plus minutes to go ahead by 24.

The Pistons advanced to the conference finals for the second straight year by ousting the team that swept them last season.

The victory sets up an intriguing matchup with the Indiana Pacers, who are coached by Rick Carlisle -- fired by the Pistons last summer after winning 100 regular-season games, two division titles and three playoff series in two seasons.

"It's amazing that we'll be facing him, isn't it?" Hamilton asked.

"The buildup is going to be unbelievable. We know we'll have to be aggressive because we know that coach likes to grind."

Game 1 is Saturday night at Indianapolis.

Larry Brown was hired to replace Carlisle, and the Hall of Fame coach improved to 5-3 in Game 7s -- including a 4-0 mark in such games at home.

Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin had 17 points apiece for the Nets, but Kidd had a brutal performance.

He missed all eight of his shots, though he had seven assists and five rebounds.

"All the shots looked good, felt good, they just didn't go in," Kidd said. "It's just part of the game.

"There's no excuses. Detroit was the better team."

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