PISTONS GET BEN IN MUST WIN
AUBURN HILLS -- We can call back the search planes. You can throw the milk cartons in the trash.We found Ben Wallace Tuesday night and he was wearing a big fro and a grimace on his face. The seven game strike by Big Ben is over. He took control of a game the Pistons desperately needed. He blocked shots and grabbed rebounds. He intimidated Spurs shooters and caused havoc for our visitors from the Alamo.More importantly when Big Ben ticks his teammates click. With their base grounded the Pistons pounded San Antonio 96-79 to slice the Spurs lead to 2-1 in this best of seven NBA Finals. It was a must Ben I mean must win game.OK. Maybe it was a must Ben game. The Pistons must have Ben to win.When he is rolling on all cylinders so do the Pistons. He punished the Spurs for 15 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots. The five blocks all came in the first quarter, tying a club record for most blocks in a quarter, and they all set the tone of the game.Wallace started the game with a steal and a dunk. And though things got dicey later he kept the Spurs on edge with his masculine play. "He was unbelievable, " said Pistons guard Rip Hamilton. "He showed a lot of energy and blocked shots and definitely players inside for us."The Pistons fed off him and aggressively attacked the passing lanes. They caught a break when Spurs MVP candidate Manu Ginobili got cracked in his left knee 21 seconds into the game and was turned into a jump shooter and bad passer the rest of the game.With their heart throbbing the Spurs could not match the Pistons for 48 minutes. The turning point of the game came in the final seconds of the third quarter when Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich attempted to give point guard Tony Parker a brief rest.Three turnovers later the Pistons victory parade was on."It snow balled, " Ginobili said. And now the Pistons find themselves peaking from underneath an avalanche. They can see day break if they can win one more game to even the series.This team wins with heart and defense and commitment, something that was missing in the first two games.The Pistons finally paid attention to their Coach Larry Brown, a guy they appeared to be tuning out. But he gave them two passionate speeches leading up to the game. They responded with energy and emotion.They remembered how difficult it is to play a quality team like San Antonio. The Pistons paid attention to detail, sort of left the officials alone and focused on the Spurs.It was about time.