Thu, Jun 03, 2004 - Page 20 News List

`Bad Boy' Pistons edge past Pacers


O'Neal's basket with 2:42 left was Indiana's last field goal until 40 seconds remained.

This series had been marked by great defense by both teams, but that didn't apply in the wretched first half. Instead, both teams missed all sorts of easy shots, including layups and wide-open midrange jumpers.

Typical was a sequence early in the second quarter as the Pistons missed three layups and tips before Hamilton finally knocked down his first shot of the game, cutting Indiana's lead to 25-14.

The Pistons were 5-for-31 from the field at one point, drawing boos from the home fans. The Pacers were barely better, going more than 6 minutes in the quarter without a field goal.

The teams had combined for only 51 points before Artest, Rasheed Wallace and Austin Croshere each hit 3-pointers in the final 35 seconds of the half. Indiana continued to hold the lead throughout a third quarter that ended with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Johnson for a 50-46 lead.

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