Tuesday , Jun , 01 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Pacers try to stave off elimination

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – The top-seeded Indiana Pacers face
elimination tonight, as they visit the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn
Hills for Game 6 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.

On Sunday, Richard Hamilton poured in a career playoff-high 33 points to lead
Detroit to an easy 83-65 win over Indiana in Game 5 of the set at Conseco
Fieldhouse. Hamilton connected on 12-of-22 shots from the field for the
Pistons, who lead the series 3-2. Rasheed Wallace added 22 points and All-Star
Ben Wallace grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds in the win.

Ron Artest scored 13 points and hauled in 11 boards for the Pacers, who have
lost all five playoff series in their NBA history when trailing a best-of-
seven set 3-2. Fred Jones also chipped in 13 points for Indiana, which scored
a franchise playoff record-low 65 points.

If Indiana wins tonight, Game 7 is scheduled for Thursday at Conseco
Fieldhouse. The winner of this series will face the Los Angeles Lakers in the
NBA Finals.

Indiana is 2-3 in its last five contests when it faces elimination from the
postseason, while the Pistons have won four straight games with the chance to
oust their opponent from the playoffs.

Detroit has won four straight Game 6s in the postseason. The last time the
Pistons lost a Game 6 in the postseason was to the Chicago Bulls in the 1990
conference finals.

The Pistons are 6-3 as the host in this year’s playoffs. Detroit had been
swept in its previous two trips to the conference finals. In 1991, Michael
Jordan and the 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.

The Pacers have won three of their last five game 6s in the playoffs. Indiana,
which is appearing in the postseason for the 14th time in 15 seasons, is 4-3
on the road in this year’s playoffs.

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.

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 Bulls in 1998
and was dismissed in six contests by New York in 1999.