AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Detroit Pistons intend to get this over without further delay. They want to beat the Bulls in Game 5 and advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the fifth straight year.
“No doubt, that’s our intention—to try to close the series out,” Chauncey Billups said Monday.
Detroit had a chance to end the series in Game 4, but the Bulls showed a lot of resolve against a team that usually doesn’t waste time when it has a chance to eliminate an opponent.
Chicago beat the Pistons 102-87 to avoid a sweep and make Game 5 necessary Tuesday night at The Palace.
“We should have a nothing-to-lose attitude,” Bulls veteran forward P.J. Brown said. “The pressure’s on them.”
Teammate Ben Wallace disagreed.
“There isn’t a whole lot of pressure on them. They’re at home,” he said. “I think the pressure’s still on us.”
Brown’s opinion was based on the predictions of a sweep after the Pistons took a 3-0 lead in the series.
“They didn’t get the job done,” he said. “We’re still alive. We kept our season going. We’ve just got to go up there and play carefree basketball.”
The odds are stacked against the Bulls winning three more games against Detroit.
“I think it’s going to happen one day,” Brown said. “It could be us. Somebody will be able to get over the hump one day.”
The Pistons don’t plan on letting Chicago come close to making league history.
“We will take care of business,” Detroit’s Rasheed Wallace said simply.
Since 2003, the Pistons are 12-2 when they have a chance to win a series with the only losses coming Sunday night and in Game 7 of the 2005 NBA finals against San Antonio.
After sweeping Orlando in the first round and getting time off, the Pistons hope to win Game 5 to earn another break before playing Cleveland or New Jersey in the conference finals.
“You want to try to take care of business as quick as you can for your own sake because until a series is done—anything can happen,” Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. “You can have an unforeseen injury.
“That’s why when you get control of a series, you don’t want to let up.”
The Pistons routed Chicago 95-69 and 108-87 at home in the first two games and turned a 19-point deficit into a seven-point victory in Game 3.
Detroit are coming off their first loss this postseason and Billups said that might’ve been just what the team needed after its confident grew unchecked.
“In a strange sort of way, I think so,” he said. “Game 3 was a big emotional game, coming back and winning like that, but winning like that may have got our guard down.
“We can obviously see that when we play the way we’re supposed to play, we can get what we’ve got to get done.”
Nothing will be done to Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich for his actions while Flip Murray dunked on him late in the third quarter of Game 4.
A video on YouTube provides a replay of the ABC broadcast, which appears to show Hinrich throwing left-handed jab that connected with Murray’s groin as he was falling away near the basket.
“I didn’t think he did it on purpose,” Murray said.
An NBA spokesman said there would be no action taken against Hinrich.
Billups didn’t know that would be the case after the Pistons practiced, but he was hoping the league wouldn’t punish Hinrich.
“I want them to be at full strength,” he said.
Associated Press basketball writer Brian Mahoney contributed this report.