Pistons are doing what they do best
(Sports Network) – The Detroit Pistons know what it takes to win in the
postseason, and they have started the 2007 playoffs doing the things that make
The top-seeded Pistons took a commanding 3-0 advantage over No. 8 Orlando in
the best-of-seven series, as Tayshaun Prince scored 21 points, grabbed seven
rebounds and dished out five assists to lead Detroit to a 93-77 victory over
the Magic at Amway Arena.
Prince, the unsung hero of the Pistons, is averaging a solid 17.7 points, 5.0
rebounds and 4.0 assists in the first three games of the opening-round series
against the Magic. The Kentucky product is shooting an impressive 52.8 percent
from the floor, including a scorching 75.0 percent from beyond the arc.
“He’s (Prince) been playing well,” said Detroit head coach Flip Saunders after
Game 3’s victory. “He is the one guy on our team that no one talks about but
he goes out there and he is kind of like the silent assassin. He goes out
there and kind of floats around and has the ability to make big shots at the
end of the shot clock. He does everything. You almost don’t want to take him
out of the game because he does so much for us with the ball and he’s the
third ball-handler on the floor, that’s one of the reasons we don’t turn the
ball over much.
“Defensively, he is always locked in to one of their top offensive threats at
the two or the three, but he is in a very, very good rhythm. He had a couple
of bad decisions, but overall he had a pretty solid, lockdown game.”
All-Star Chauncey Billups finished with 21 points six rebounds and three
assists in Game 3 for the Pistons, who committed just eight turnovers and
outrebounded Orlando 47-39. Rasheed Wallace and Chris Webber both contributed
15 points in the victory.
Detroit shot 43.6 percent from the field, including a blistering 61.5 percent
from three-point range. The Magic turned the ball over 13 times and shot 41.9
percent from the floor.
The Pistons were able to overcome a poor performance from All-Star Richard
Hamilton, who led the Pistons in scoring (19.8 ppg) during the regular season.
Hamilton was just 2-for-11 from the field and registered 10 points in Game 3
versus the Magic.
“As I said, we are a grind it out team and when we have the opportunity to get
a little bit dirty and to get physical, that’s when we are at our best,” said
Saunders. “At times we are a counter-cruncher. What they do defensively, we
react to that offensively and defensively try to dictate what they do. So,
basically we can look to be aggressive defensively and offensively try to
execute. We have guys who are competitive; our guys have been extremely
“A lot of people up in Detroit are saying we didn’t have a killer instinct,
and our guys came down here and have been focused just with the idea of going
out and playing how we want to play. I think the biggest thing for us is that
tonight (Game 3) we dictated how the game was played; it was played pretty
much at our pace.
Detroit took care of business in Games 1 and 2 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Billups poured in 22 points and dished out 11 assists to lead the Pistons to a
100-92 victory in the opener, while Hamilton scored 16 of his 22 points in the
second half to lift Detroit to a 98-90 win in the second game of the series.
The Pistons have a chance to earn their first sweep in the postseason since
knocking out the Indiana Pacers, 3-0, in the first round of the 1990 playoffs.
Detroit has won two in a row when it has the chance to eliminate its opponent
from the playoffs.
“Obviously we take one game at a time, now that we have three wins it’s
important for us to go out there and get the fourth,” said Prince. “Obviously
when you’re up 2-0 and you’re going on the road you don’t want to talk about a
sweep or anything like that. That’s not how we do things.
“We take it one possession at a time, one game at a time and now that we’re up
3-0 it is very important to close it out because you can’t give a team like
this any life. We’ve done a great job of coming in here (Orlando) and getting
the first one but we really have to stay focused and come out strong in Game
Detroit, which has reached the postseason for a sixth straight year, is the
No. 1 seed for the third time in four years and owns home-court advantage
throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Winning games with tough defense and a total team effort on the offensive
court is when the Pistons are at their best. Billups, who was the MVP of the
2004 NBA Finals when Detroit stunned the Lakers in five games, loves this time
of year, while Hamilton, Prince and Wallace are not afraid to pay the price
for a victory in the playoffs.
Add Webber, who signed with the Pistons in January, and veteran Antonio
McDyess to the mix, Detroit has a playoff-tested squad that is the favorite in
the East to earn its third trip in the last four years to the NBA Finals.