Pistons confident they’re in control
Detroit not worried despite Game 3 loss
Philadelphia ? The Pistons weren’t fazed by one loss.
The defending champions realize it took a superb offensive effort by the Philadelphia 76ers to beat them in Game 3. They feel confident they still control the series.
Game 4 is today in Philadelphia. Detroit leads the best-of-seven opening round series 2-1.
“They do have to play perfect basketball, but they did it last night,” Pistons center Ben Wallace said Saturday. “We did the things we have to do, but they just hit their shots.”
After losing the first two games by double-digit margins in Detroit, the Sixers were fueled by an outstanding all-around performance from Allen Iverson in their 115-104 victory Friday night.
The All-Star guard had 37 points, dished out 15 assists and the team shot 55.1 percent to offset Detroit’s third consecutive 50-percent shooting effort from the field.
“We played a very, very good offensive game,” Sixers coach Jim O’Brien said. “We must defend at a higher level than we’re defending currently in order to win the next game. We had some good sequences, the best of the series so far, but we’re not playing defensive basketball consistently enough.
“Anytime an opponent is shooting over 50 percent consistently, you’re going to have to rely on great, great shooting like we had last night. You can’t rely on us being as hot as that every game.”
Despite their shooting accuracy, the Pistons couldn’t find a way to contain Iverson, had trouble stopping Philadelphia’s other shooters and committed 14 turnovers. Detroit’s reserves were outscored 23-2 after holding a 13-point edge in the first two games.
“I don’t know how many teams can beat them when Allen plays the way he did and everybody makes contributions,” said Pistons coach Larry Brown, who led Philadelphia to its last playoff victory in 2003. “We helped them. We could’ve played better defensively, taken care of the ball better and been more selective with our shots.”
The Pistons aren’t concerned over losing one game because they don’t expect the Sixers to make so many contested jumpers again. They also played like a team with a two-game cushion.
While they still hold the home-court advantage, the Pistons don’t want to give Philadelphia momentum heading back Tuesday to Detroit for Game 5.
“We just have to play more aggressive,” guard Richard Hamilton said. “We have to limit their easy baskets and their transition baskets.”