Tuesday , Apr , 20 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

NBA Playoff Notebook: Detroit knows stopping Redd is the key

(Sports Network) – The Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks play Game 2 of
their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals series on Wednesday at
The Palace of Auburn Hills.

In Game 1, Richard Hamilton scored 21 points and handed out eight assists, as
the Pistons crushed Milwaukee, 108-82, Sunday at The Palace. Ben Wallace
collected 17 points and 14 rebounds and Rasheed Wallace contributed 17 points
and 10 boards for the Pistons, who have won 17 of their last 20 games, dating
back to the regular season.

The Pistons set a franchise playoff record with 14 steals in Sunday’s victory,
while Chauncey Billups and Corliss Williamson each finished with 12 points for
Detroit.

Desmond Mason paced the Bucks in the loss with 16 points. All-Star guard
Michael Redd netted 11 points for Milwaukee, which committed 25 turnovers in
the game leading to 28 points for the Pistons.

Redd, who started all 82 of Milwaukee’s regular-season games, had scored less
than 11 points only four time this season.

Was Detroit able to frustrate Redd with its tough defense?

“I’m not sure,” said Hamilton. “I think everywhere he went we had a guy on
him. Ben and Rasheed did a great job helping, and when you have a scorer of
that caliber you have to know where he is at all times.”

Holding Redd to well below his season-average of 21.7 points per game in Game
1 was huge in head coach Larry Brown’s opinion.

“The guy (Redd) only played 29 minutes,” said Brown. “I think the kid is such
a great scorer that he’s not going to have seven turnovers in a game very
often, but I would imagine that he would be involved more (in Game Two).
That’s the way we anticipated the series – that he would be the focus point,
and it puts a lot of pressure on us with Tayshaun (Prince), Chauncey, and
Lindsey (Hunter) competing with such a great player.”

The Pistons know the key to beating the Bucks is to try and take Redd out of
the game.

“He’s their leading scorer, so they’re going to try to do whatever possible to
try to get him over the loop, run him off screens and everything like that,”
said Hamilton. “We have to prepare for him to come out and for him to put up a
lot of shots.”

The Pistons tenacious defense held Redd, who averaged more than 17 shots per
game in the regular season, to just 10 field-goal attempts. Detroit expects
the first-time All-Star to come out shooting and to get more looks in Game 2.

“I think they are going to try to do a lot of things to get Redd coming out
attacking,” said Detroit guard Mike James. “I think Redd is going to come out
ready, I think he is going to come out very aggressive this second game. We
have to stick with our game plan; I think we’ve been successful with what
we’ve been doing throughout the year and in that first game. Our main focus
is playing aggressive defense, and if he gets off he’s going to have to make a
lot of tough shots.”

Ben Wallace expects the Bucks to put up a better fight in Game 2.

“I’m sure that Milwaukee is going to be better prepared,” said Ben Wallace.
“I’m sure that they are going to change some stuff and they are going to be
ready to play. No let down on our behalf, but Milwaukee is probably going to
change a few things and change the tempo of the game.”

The key to Detroit winning is its defense, while Milwaukee needs Redd to light
it up on the scoreboard. The Bucks could be headed for an early playoff exit
if the Pistons can continue to keep Redd off his game.

The third-seeded Pistons are 7-1 all-time versus the No. 6 Bucks in the
postseason, including 4-0 at home. This is the third time the teams have met
in the postseason, as the Pistons won each series. Detroit won the final two
games of a best-of-three first-round series in 1976 and swept a best-of-seven
conference semifinal in 1989.

DET MIL