Wednesday , May , 26 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Eastern Conference finals head to The Palace

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – The Detroit Pistons try to take
advantage of their homecourt tonight, as they welcome the Indiana Pacers for
Game 3 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final set at The Palace of
Auburn Hills.

After dropping the opener 78-74 at Conseco Fieldhouse, the Pistons stunned the
Pacers and their fans in Game 2. On Monday, Tayshaun Prince made an incredible
block on a Reggie Miller game-tying breakaway layup attempt with 18 seconds
remaining as Detroit backed up Rasheed Wallace’s guarantee and won the second
game of the series, 72-67.

Richard Hamilton scored 23 points for the Pistons, who ended a nine-game
conference finals losing streak that dated back to the 1991 playoffs.
Wallace finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and five blocks for Detroit.

Miller led the Pacers with 21 points, while All-Star Jermaine O’Neal netted 16
and grabbed eight rebounds in 40 minutes of action. NBA Defensive Players of
the Year Ron Artest also played 40 minutes and ended with 13 points and seven

The Pistons are 2-6 in their last eight Game 3s in the postseason, while the
Pacers have lost five of their last seven game 3s in the playoffs.

Game 4 is scheduled for Friday at The Palace.

On Tuesday, Artest was fined $10,000 by the NBA for an obscene gesture he
made in Game 2. The St. John’s product made the inappropriate gesture in the
final four minutes of Detroit’s victory.

This is the second time that these two teams have met in the postseason. In
1990, Detroit swept the Pacers, 3-0, in the first round.

The top-seeded Pacers, who are appearing in the playoffs for the 14th time in
15 seasons, are 3-2 on the road in this year’s playoffs.

Indiana, which had been eliminated three straight year’s in the first round,
last appeared in the Eastern Conference finals in 2000 when it defeated the
New York Knicks in six games. The Pacers would go on to lose in the NBA
Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Pacers are 1-4 all-time in Eastern Conference final series. Indiana fell
in seven games to the Knicks in 1994, lost in seven contests to the Orlando
Magic in 1995, was eliminated once again in seven games by the Chicago Bulls
in 1998 and was dismissed in six contests by New York in 1999.

The Pistons are 5-2 as the host in this year’s playoffs. Detroit has been
swept in its last two trips to the conference finals. In 1991, Michael Jordan
and the Chicago Bulls ousted the Pistons, who were also swept by New Jersey
last year. Detroit is 3-3 all-time in the conference finals.

The last time the Pistons won a conference finals series was in 1990, when
Detroit eliminated the Bulls in seven games. The Pistons would go on to defeat
the Portland Trail Blazers in five games in the NBA Finals, which gave them
the second of consecutive championships.

During the regular season, the Pacers won three of the four meetings. Indiana
won twice at Conseco Fieldhouse, while the squads split a pair of contests at
The Palace of Auburn Hills.