Friday , Jun , 02 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Pistons try to force a Game 7 in Miami

(Sports Network) – The Detroit Pistons try to force a decisive Game 7 in the
Eastern Conference finals, as they visit the Miami Heat tonight at
AmericanAirlines Arena.

The second-seeded Heat lead this best-of-seven set 3-2. If Detroit wins
tonight, Game 7 is scheduled to be played on Sunday at The Palace of Auburn
Hills.

Detroit avoided elimination on Wednesday at The Palace. Tayshaun Prince scored
a career playoff-high 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the top-
seeded Pistons over Miami, 91-78, in Game 5 of the conference finals.

Chauncey Billups ended with 17 points and 10 assists, while Richard Hamilton
had 16 points and 10 rebounds in Game 5’s win for the Pistons, who are 3-0 in
elimination games this postseason and 11-2 in their last 13 games when facing
a postseason exit.

Dwyane Wade finished with 23 points in the loss for the Heat. The All-Star
guard made 11-of-20 shots from the floor, but went 0-of-3 from beyond the arc
and only 1-of-3 from the free throw line.

Shaquille O’Neal contributed 19 points and six rebounds for Miami, which shot
just 6-of-20 from the free throw line and 4-of-19 from beyond the arc.

The Pistons, who lost to San Antonio in seven games in the 2005 NBA Finals,
have won nine straight Game 6s in the playoffs. The last time Detroit lost
Game 6 in a playoff series was on June 1, 1990 when it was defeated in Chicago
by the Bulls during the conference finals. The Pistons did win the series in
seven and went on to beat Portland in the NBA Finals.

Detroit is 2-5 on the road in this year’s playoffs.

Miami has lost three of its last five contests when it has the chance to
eliminate its opponent from the postseason. The Heat, who are 7-1 at home
in this year’s postseason, have lost four of their last five Game 6s in the
playoffs.

This is a rematch of last year’s conference finals. Detroit came back from a
3-2 deficit to knock off Miami in seven games. The Pistons won Game 7, 88-82,
on the road.

These clubs are meeting for the third time overall in the postseason. The
Heat swept the Pistons, 3-0, in the first round of the 2000 playoffs.

Detroit, which knocked off the eighth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games
during the opening round of the playoffs, survived a big scare from No. 4
Cleveland in the conference semifinals. The Pistons fought back from a 3-2
deficit and eventually defeated LeBron James and the Cavaliers in seven tough
contests.

The Pistons, who defeated Shaq and the Lakers in five games in the 2004 NBA
Finals, have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals nine times in
franchise history. They played Boston in 1987 and 1988, Chicago in 1989, 1990
and 1991, New Jersey in 2003, Indiana in 2004 and Miami last year. Detroit is
5-3 in this round.

The Heat are appearing in the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in
franchise history. They lost in seven games to Detroit last year and were
ousted in five by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1997.

Miami’s road to the East finals started with a six-game series victory over
the seventh-seeded Bulls. In the conference semifinals, the Heat bounced back
from a loss at home in Game 1 to No. 3 New Jersey and eliminated Jason Kidd
and the Nets in five contests.

DET MIA