Sunday , May , 01 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Pistons have Sixers on verge of elimination

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Rasheed Wallace was a thorn in
Philadelphia’s side, scoring eight of his 17 points in overtime to lead the
Detroit Pistons past the 76ers, 97-92, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference
quarterfinals at the Wachovia Center.

Chauncey Billups recorded 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the
Pistons, who have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 5 slated
for Tuesday night at The Palace. Richard Hamilton netted 20 points and
Tayshaun Prince added 17, as the Pistons overcame a nine-point deficit in the
fourth quarter.

Philadelphia was led by Allen Iverson’s game-high 36 points and eight assists.
Chris Webber scored 23 points for the 76ers, who have never come back to win a
playoff series after losing the first two games of the set.

“It came down to getting stops,” Iverson said. “They played championship
basketball. But we’re fighters. We’re going to keep fighting.”

Billups buried a three-pointer from the left corner and the Pistons owned an
83-82 advantage late in regulation. Willie Green then had a good look on a
three but the ball caromed off the rim. Green got his own rebound and was
fouled by Billups and made 1-of-2 from the line for an 83-83 score with 3.1
seconds left.

Detroit had one last chance for the win in regulation, but Wallace’s jumper
fell short as time expired.

Wallace and Hamilton each had a basket to start the extra period and Detroit
had an 87-83 lead. After Andre Iguodala got the Sixers on the board in OT,
Wallace nailed a three to extend Detroit’s lead to 90-85. Webber, though,
showed his range and buried a three to make it a two-point game.

Iverson was hacked in the face by Billups with 1:48 remaining in overtime and
the speedy guard made both free throws to tie the game at 90-90. Wallace kept
shooting away and his three put Detroit back on top 93-90. After Samuel
Dalembert’s hard-fought layup pulled the 76ers within one, Hamilton nailed a
jumper with 14.5 seconds left for a 95-92 Detroit lead.

Kyle Korver made a major blunder by putting up an off-balance jumper and
missed. Hamilton then completed the scoring from the charity stripe with
4.2 seconds left and Detroit heads home with a 3-1 series lead.

“It was a great game. I’m proud of my team,” Pistons head coach Larry Brown
said. “We really kept our poise and feel fortunate for the win.”

Billups knocked down an easy jumper and the Pistons owned a 16-8 lead late in
the first quarter. The Sixers then scored 13 of the next 17 points for a 21-20
advantage, thanks to back-to-back baskets from Webber. Iverson later banked in
a half-court shot at the buzzer and the Sixers led 24-21 after one quarter of
play. Iverson had 14 points in the stanza.

Green, fresh off getting eight stitches from a cut above his left eye, added a
layup with about five minutes to go in the second quarter for a 32-27 Sixers
lead. However, the Pistons answered with a 10-0 run to take a five-point
advantage. Prince had five points in the spurt for Detroit, which carried a
41-38 lead into the locker room.

Iverson led all scorers at halftime with 20 points, while Prince paced the
Pistons with 10.

The start of the second half was full of action with the Pistons taking a
49-45 lead on a Billups putback. Philadelphia countered with a 12-2 spurt and
made it 57-51 on Iverson’s jump shot. The defending champs battled back and
pulled within 61-60 on Billups’ three-point play. That score stood after 36
minutes of action.

Webber’s 18-foot jumper early in the fourth quarter gave the Sixers some
breathing room at 70-64. Dalembert extended Philly’s lead to 75-66 by sinking
1-of-2 free throws midway through the period.

Iverson then got the crowd into the game with a long three from the left wing
and the Sixers claimed an 80-73 edge. Billups, though, fired a three-pointer
from the top of the key and Detroit trailed by four.

Billups also scored the next four points and tied it at 80 apiece on two foul
shots with 49.4 seconds left in the period. Iverson had the hot hand on the
other end and his fade-away jump shot with 28.3 seconds to go put Philadelphia
back on top, 82-80.

Prince left the game late in the third quarter with a right leg injury. He did
return to the game in the fourth quarter…The Pistons are 7-5 in their last
12 road games in the playoffs…Iverson was 14-of-24 from the field and buried
4-of-7 shots from beyond the arc…Wallace finished 3-of-6 from three-point
territory…Dalembert had nine points and a game-high 15 rebounds…Ben
Wallace had 12 points and 12 boards for the Pistons…Both teams shot 43
percent for the game…Webber made 10-of-22 shots and also pulled down eight