Saturday , Mar , 26 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Bomb threat against Pacers delays game in Detroit

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – The start of the Pacers-Pistons game was
delayed Friday night when an unknown source called the Palace of Auburn Hills
switchboard saying there was a bomb in Indiana’s locker room.

The unknown source called the bomb threat in at 7:19 p.m. (et), causing the
game, which Indiana won 94-81, to be delayed.

During a press conference at the Palace, Auburn Hills Police Chief Doreen E.
Olko stressed that the arena had been searched by bomb-sniffing dogs several
times throughout the day Friday.

Originally scheduled to tip off at 8:00 p.m. (et), the game did not start
until 9:37 (et).

“It was very difficult when you have your lives threatened,” said Indiana’s
Reggie Miller, who netted 14 points in the win. “We came here to do a job and
that was to play a basketball game. Then the unexpected news almost 45 minutes
before tip-off was very disturbing.

“Obviously, the bottom line, this is just a game…But it’s unfortunate
because we’ve been penalized so much this year, and our team, and nothing has
ever happened to the Pistons or the Palace or even the city of Detroit. It’s
almost like it’s always our fault. The league knows it and the league ought to
be ashamed of (itself) to let security be as lax as it is around.”

After being advised of the threat, the Pacers returned to their bus and left
the area.

“We got on the bus and went out in the parking lot until they got the bomb
crew in and swept the place again,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “We
went through a period when we just wanted to make sure our players were safe.

“As it went we got to a point where we were pretty well convinced that it was
safe. We played the game and our guys played great.”

Calls to the City of Auburn Hills Police Department were not returned.

The season series between these two teams has become a bizarre story.

The first chapter was written when the Pistons welcomed the Pacers on November
19th. With Indiana holding a commanding lead, Pacers forward Ron Artest fouled
Pistons center Ben Wallace late in the fourth quarter.

Taking offense to the hard foul in an all-but-over game, Wallace shoved Artest
and a scuffle ensued.

Moments later a fan threw a cup of liquid at Artest, who charged into the
stands to confront the perpetrator. Several Pacers players also went into the
crowd and a riot broke out in the stands and then spilled onto the court.

That game was cancelled with less than a minute to play, and NBA Commissioner
David Stern showed no mercy in the aftermath. He suspended Artest for the
remainder of the season for his part in the brawl, in addition to suspending
eight other players for their role in the fight.