Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Pistons lead Lakers at halftime of Game 5

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – The Detroit Pistons lead the Los Angeles
Lakers, 55-45, at halftime of Game 5 of the NBA Finals at The Palace. Richard
Hamilton and Ben Wallace are leading the way for the Pistons, who are just 24
minutes away from their first NBA title in 14 years.

Each player has 11 points for Detroit, which last won a title in 1990. Wallace
is shooting 5-for-5 from the field and has five rebounds. The Pistons are
red-hot from the floor, shooting 60.6 percent (20-of-33).

Kobe Bryant is pacing the Lakers with 14 points, while Shaquille O’Neal was
held to only seven as he is playing in foul trouble. The three-time Finals MVP
has three fouls and has played only 10 minutes.

Detroit took the lead during a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter and
hasn’t looked back. Trailing 31-30 after Bryant converted a dunk with 8:57
left, Wallace started the spurt with a free throw and Hamilton’s layup that
followed with 8:12 left on the clock gave Detroit a 33-31 edge. Chauncey
Billups, who has eight first-half points, capped the burst with a basket at
the 7:01 mark for a 39-31 cushion.

Los Angeles’ Slava Medvedenko earned a start at power forward in place of Karl
Malone, who is sitting out the contest with a sprained right MCL suffered in
Game 2. Medvedenko scored the first six points of the game for LA and has 10
at halftime.