Preview: The 2004 Detroit Pistons went 54-28 and stunned the world defeating the Lakers for the championship. They really improved as a team once they acquired Rasheed Wallace. The Pistons were a very dominant defensive team, arguably the best defensive team in this tournament. Anyone facing this team knows it will not be an easy series.
The 2006 Miami Heat went 52-30 in the regular season and then won the NBA Championship. They are the last and lowest seed of all the NBA champions: A 3 seed. That though tells them they have a point to make. They are led by the duo of Wade & O’Neal, one of the best duos we saw in the 00s. Besides for these 2 they had many good veteran role-players. Ultimately they are champions so they will be tough to beat.
A huge showdown here. The 2004 NBA Champions Detroit Pistons vs. The 2006 NBA Champions Miami Heat. The Pistons have not had too much trouble the 1st 2 rounds, they won both series in 6 and did it through tough defense. In Round 1 they focused on stopping Melo and held him to 33.9% shooting, while in Round 2 they focused in stopping Dirk and held him to 31.7% shooting. This round they will have to focus on both Wade and Shaq. So far O’Neal has led the way for Miami as he averaged 26/12 last series and as they defeated one of the stronger teams 2007 Phoenix Suns in 6 games. The Heat so have proven themselves to be able to beat strong teams, but the Pistons will easily be their biggest challenge thus far.
Player of the Game: S.O誰eal 28pts/12reb on 12/17 FG
Recap: The Heat start out the series strong on the road and take Game 1 away from the Pistons. It was a 1 point game with 2 minutes left but big 3s by J-Will and Posey put away Detroit. Shaq continues to dominate in this tournament run as even the Pistons defense could not stop him. Apart from that the Heat came out with strong defense of their holding Detroit to 40% shooting and forced 20 TOs. Pistons shut down Wade holding him to 6/21 shooting but that will not be enough to beat Miami.
Recap: The Pistons even up the series at 1-1 with a huge win at home. Miami did a good job leading most of the game but Detroit stayed right behind. In the 4th the Pistons took over and controlled the game led by Rip Hamilton who had 14 of his 33 points in the 4th. The Pistons made adjustments and did a good job guarding Shaq holding him to 17 points.
Recap: The Heat superstar duo had their best game of the series to give the Heat a 2-1 lead in the series. Dwyane Wade especially took over playing very aggressive and leading the Heat with 33 while O誰eal added 24. Miami also outrebounded Dallas 54-40 and much of it came from Wade/Shaq. But the Pistons played tough and this was another game Miami ran away with in the final minutes.
Recap: The Heat take a 3-1 lead in the series with tough defense and dominating the boards. The Pistons managed just 38 points shooting 36% from the field as the strong Miami defense suffocated Detroit痴 offense. Detroit did a good job holding Wade to 8/24 shooting but O誰eal had 23 and Posey added 17 for Miami who had many 2nd chance points.
Detroit highers the minutes of their stars facing elimination
Recap: The Pistons played like there was no tomorrow and they sure played it well. The Wallace towers made sure they did not get owned in the glass again and this time owend the Heat outrebounding them 55-37. Ben Wallace led the way with 18 rebounds while Sheed had 14 for the Pistons holding Miami痴 great offense to below 80.
Recap: The Miami Heat finish the series off in 6 games behind another great effort by Shaquille O誰eal. O誰eal led the Heat with 29points and showed that even at this time there was no stopping him. Detroit focused most their efforts on Wade in the series leaving Wallace alone to guard Shaq, but it was not enough. The Heat move on to the Elite 8.