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News » Pistons' Wallace kicks Sixers in the glass

Pistons' Wallace kicks Sixers in the glass

Pistons' Wallace kicks Sixers in the glass AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Now in his second stint with the Detroit Pistons, some observers might think that center Ben Wallace is simply riding out the rest of his career with the team he won a championship with in 2004.

He proved yesterday against the 76ers that he is still capable of much more than some courtesy minutes during a farewell tour.

Wallace snared 16 rebounds, including seven off the offensive glass, blocked three shots and collected three steals to help the Pistons to an 88-81 win over the Sixers at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Mainly due to Wallace, the Pistons were able to outscore the Sixers 27-13 on second-chance points and limited the visitors to just 26 points in the paint, compared to the Pistons' 42.

It also didn't help that for most of the game it seemed as if the Sixers had to settle for jump shots, not a great solution when you're not a very good outside-shooting team. Further complicating matters was the fact that after the Sixers grabbed their biggest lead of the day at 77-73 with 6 minutes, 2 seconds left in regulation on an 22-footer by Willie Green, they didn't get another field goal the rest of the way and were outscored by 15-4 to end the game.

"It was just one of those games that we couldn't seem to get it going, to get ahead once they got the lead," said Green, who came off the bench to score 13 points in front of hometown family and friends. "I thought we played a decent game. They outrebounded us [51-39] and got some easy baskets in the paint and that really hurt us.

"They just throw it up at the rim and play crash ball. The bigs kicked it out or were able to keep it and go back up and create fouls. We just have to try to do a better job with our team rebounding."

So concerned was Sixers coach Eddie Jordan about the rebounding disparity that he started Marreese Speights to start the second half ahead of starter Sam Dalembert. It was a move due to matchups, not because of anything Dalembert was doing, the coach said.

"It was more strategy than anything," Jordan said. "Even though Ben Wallace was getting a lot of rebounds, they came off the bench with Kwame Brown [seven points, eight rebounds] and [Jason] Maxiell and that's when they really got it going off the glass. I just thought if we could get Sammy coming in to match with those guys coming off the bench . . . ''

Speights again did a fine job off the bench, finishing with 15 points, second on the team behind Andre Iguodala's 24.

With 4:50 remaining and the score tied 77-77, Speights was cutting toward the basket on a side out-of-bounds play and collided knees with Pistons guard Will Bynum. He was taken out of the game, not to return, with what the team described as a knee contusion.

Speights' absence seemed to hurt the team, as almost immediately the Pistons scored three easy baskets in the paint, including two by Charlie Villanueva (16 points) and one by Ben Gordon (team-high 23 points).

After a fast start in which he made his first four shots, the Sixers did a good job of limiting good looks for Gordon. But when his team needed him, Gordon came through, scoring eight of Detroit's final 15 points.

"You just have to try to make him take tough shots," Green said of defending Gordon. "Anybody that touches the ball that much, gets that kind of volume of shots, you just want to make him take tough shots, make him do things that he doesn't want to do. Sometimes I don't know what that is . . . He hit some big-time shots for those guys."

Still, this one came down to paint play, and the Sixers weren't equipped with enough brushes.

"They've got some big bigs and they were hitting us before we were hitting them," Speights said. "They were overpowering us, but we still could have won it in the end."

Perhaps, had they not missed their final eight shots. And, of course, if they had battled a little better against Wallace, still one of the better inside presences in the league - even at 35.

Hold off on that farewell tour for now.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 9, 2009


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