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Pistons' backs to wall once again



Published: Tue, June 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Trailing 3-2, Detroit must win twice in San Antonio to defend its title.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Larry Brown was sleepless in suburban Detroit.

The Hall of Fame coach said he felt like he was "one step out of the grave," the morning after the San Antonio Spurs overcame a four-point deficit in the final 1:25 to beat the Pistons in overtime.

"I read a little bit, drove my wife crazy, let the dogs out and got in here kind of early," Brown said Monday. "I'll watch the film on the flight to San Antonio, and I already know what that's going to be like.

"I'm not a good flyer, so one Valium and the film, that'll get me down to San Antonio."

Familiar position

The defending champion Pistons are in a familiar position -- heading into Game 6 Tuesday night -- and hope to build upon their reputation as a resilient team.

"We've had our backs against the wall before," Tayshaun Prince said.

"You don't want to be in the situation where it happens too many times, but until this point, we have played great in that situation. Hopefully, we can continue to do that."

Detroit fell behind Miami 3-2 in the conference finals earlier this month and responded with two wins, including a rare road victory in a Game 7.

Last year, it also rallied from a 3-2 deficit against the two-time defending conference champion New Jersey Nets before moving on to claim its third NBA championship.

The Pistons advanced despite trailing Orlando 3-1 two years ago, with four current starters playing key roles.

Must win on road

But the current hole they're in seems deeper than any of the previous ones because to eliminate San Antonio, they have to win twice on the road against what appears to be the best team they've played in three years.

"You have to look at it as a great opportunity," Brown said. "This team has always fought back. It happened to us last year when we had some bumps along the way. I remember Game 5 against New Jersey, losing in triple overtime, I felt the same way I do now."

Brown's players didn't feel much better after losing in heartbreaking fashion against the Spurs.

"It's obviously tough to put a loss like [Sunday's] behind you, but we have to respond," Prince said.

San Antonio won the first two games of this series easily -- 84-69 and 97-76 -- then were routed on the road -- 96-79 and 102-71 -- before Sunday's one-point thriller.

Need more effort in Texas

Lindsey Hunter said the Pistons simply have to play with more effort on their return trip to Texas.

"Play the way we played here -- that's the bottom line," said Hunter, the last player to leave Detroit's locker room.

Richard Hamilton said the Pistons have to stay connected, like they have throughout their turbulent season.

"We win together and we lose together," he said.




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