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The 2005 NBA Finals


Guest Alan

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Guest Alan

Its that time of year yet again, the NBA Finals tip off on Thursday as the San Antonio Spurs host the Detroit Pistons, which is completely the opposite of what i predicted (Suns/Heat). It promises to be a very exciting Final series, as Detroit try to defend the title they won this time last year by beating the Lakers. Lets look at how the two teams got this far:

 

The Western Conference representative in the NBA Finals this year are the San Antonio Spurs, who last reached this level just two years ago when they beat the New Jersey Nets to be crowned NBA Champions. A 4-3 preseason was fairly average for the Spurs, but as the regular season began in November they looked and played superbly. San Antonio went on a 6-game win streak and went into December with a 12-3 record.

Losing just 3 times the next month showed everyone that the Spurs were playing just as dominant on the road as they were at home. Important victories over Detroit and Phoenix helped San Antonio go into 2005 with a very strong 25-6 record. 12 victories from 16 in January further strengthened their cause as they remained fighting for the top spot in the West with Phoenix with a huge 37-10 record. February was a slow month due to the interruption of the All-Star break, but of the 9 games the Spurs had, they managed to remain strong and win 6.

March signals the final stretch of the regular season as the last two months of games get under way. It was during this month that San Antonio had their worst run of the season, losing 5 of their 15 games to move into April at 53-18. With just 11 games remaining of the regular season, San Antonio were still in with a chance of taking the number 1 seed in the Western Conference over the Suns, but going 6-5 over that time meant that they missed out. The good news was that their final regular season record of 59-23 gave them the second seed overall in the West, and they clinched the Southwest Division title.

That second seed in the west paired the Spurs up against the seventh seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. Denver had been on fire in the latter part of the season, and carried that form into Game 1 as they walked away with a shock road victory. San Antonio was not giving up their home court that easy though, and ran riot in Game 2, winning by 28 points and tying the series. The Spurs won easily in Game 3 in Denver, but the Nuggets were able to take Game 4 into overtime after a close match. San Antonio were stronger in the extra period and took a 3-1 lead in the series. Game 5 was in Texas, and the Spurs made use of the home court to clinch the series 4-1.

The Western Conference Semi-Finals were next, and the team in the way of the Conference Finals were the Seattle Supersonics. San Antonio didn’t seem too bothered though as they were easily able to win Games 1 and 2 at home for the 2-0 series lead. Playing in Seattle seemed to produce a problem for the Spurs though, as they were unable to stop the Sonics from sweeping their home court and tying the series at 2. San Antonio recovered quickly to win Game 5 at home, and then in Seattle for Game 6 the Spurs were able to clinch a last minute 98-96 victory.

On to the Western Conference Finals San Antonio marched, and here they encountered the number 1 seed in the West, the Phoenix Suns. The Suns had the home court advantage, but San Antonio overcame that and was able to shoot their way into a 2-0 lead after the games in Phoenix. It looked bleak for the Suns as they were trailing by 2 and away from home, and of course it was all in the Spurs favour. San Antonio was dominant in Game 3 on their home court, taking a 10-point victory and moving into a comfortable 3-0 lead in the series. Phoenix recovered eventually and was able to win Game 4, but the comeback the Suns were looking for never materialised as San Antonio earned a superb road victory in Game 5. That clinched the series 4-1, giving the Spurs the Western Conference Championship and the chance to win their second NBA Championship in just 3 years.

 

Detroit were the underdogs in last years NBA Finals, but were victorious after upsetting the Lakers in 5 games. Again this year they go into the Finals as underdogs, but for good reason. The Pistons opened the year with a 3-5 preseason, which wouldn’t normally be anything to worry about, however it was the regular season opening that made people worry! November came and Detroit began the regular season in a very shaky way, especially for a team looking to get back to the Finals, as they went 7-7 on the month. Things improved slightly going into December as some encouraging victories came their way. However the Pistons continued to lose games they really shouldn’t have, and moved into 2005 barely over .500 with a 15-13 record.

2005 seemed to be when Detroit woke up and realised they were looking to defend their NBA Championship. January’s schedule held 16 games for the Pistons, and thankfully they won 11 of them, including 6 straight. That improved their season record to a much more promising 26-18, but it still could have been so much better. February was the best month for Detroit, as even with the All-Star break they had 10 games, and were victorious in 9. This greatly improved their standing to 35-19 going into the final stretch of the season. However the Pistons seemed to lose their way slightly going into march, as they lost 8 of their 17 games in that time. That meant their record barely improved, but they were lucky in the fact that their nearest contenders in the East were still quite a few games behind them. 11 games remained for the Pistons in April, and they went on a storming 10-0 run before losing the final game of the season in Charlotte. Their 54-28 record was good enough for the second seed in the East and the Central Division title.

As the second seed in the Eastern Conference the Pistons were paired up against the 7th seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. Detroit began strongly in Game 1 at home, coasting to a 21-point victory. Game 2 also went the Pistons way, but by a slightly lesser margin of 15. Philadelphia were looking to defend their home court, and did so extremely well in Game 3 as they powered to victory. Detroit were still leading the series 2-1, and they added to that in Game 4 as they kept their cool in overtime to take a 3-1 series lead. At home for Game 5, and Detroit dominated the match and wrapped up the series 4-1.

The Eastern Conference Semi-Finals saw the Detroit Pistons take on the Indiana Pacers. Detroit took Game 1 at home by 15 points, but effectively lost the home court advantage by losing n Game 2 by 9 points. The Pacers played well on their home court in Game 3 to take the series lead 2-1, but Detroit recovered quickly and dominated the next 3 games to take the series 4-2.

Detroit then faced the top-seeded Miami Heat in the Conference Finals, and it got off to a great start as the Pistons dominated a disorganised Heat to win Game 1. Miami were quick to get back on track though, taking Game 2 at home then Game 3 in Detroit. The Pistons had been strong at home all year, and showed why in Game 4 as they tied the series at 2. Miami eased to victory at home in Game 5, before the Pistons defence tightened up during Game 6 in Detroit to tie the series again and set up a deciding Game 7. And it was the trademark defense that got the Pistons through, playing extremely well during the fourth quarter allowed them to earn a road victory in Game 7, and move on to the NBA Finals.

 

So who will be victorious? Anyone going to be watching these games? I will be watching all 7 if needs be, and hopefully the Pistons can make it two from two.

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Game 1

 

Game 1 – Detroit Pistons @ San Antonio Spurs

 

At the SBC centre on Thursday 9th June 2005 the NBA Finals were getting ready to begin. Alanis Morrisette got things under way with a rendition of the American National Anthem, which was then followed by Will Smith performing his hit “Switch”. After an energetic performance the teams were then introduced, with the Pistons being first, followed by the Spurs. After the starting 5s for each team had been announced, it was time to tip things off in the 2005 NBA Finals between the Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs.

Nazr Mohammed won the tip-off for the Spurs, and it was he who opened the scoring shortly after. But after a steal and a couple of missed shots Detroit were able to take a 6-2 lead behind shots from Hamilton and Prince. Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich then called a 20 second timeout hoping to get the Spurs heads back into the game. It didn’t work though as they came out looking rusty after having 8 days of rest, missing shots which they would normally sink with ease. Detroit was already establishing their defence, as they forced 4 turnovers early in the first period. Brent Barry and Robert Horry came off the bench for San Antonio with 7 minutes to play as they attempted to switch the momentum their way. The Pistons were having none of it though, moving to a 13-4 lead before the Spurs called a timeout. Detroit came out and immediately moved to a 17-4 lead, but Tim Duncan was on hand to score 5 and bring the Spurs back to within 10. With 4 minutes left in the period San Antonio needed to get a run going in order to close the gap, and it began to take shape as Tony Parker moved in for a tough lay-up to make the score 19-11. Pistons coach Larry Brown then called a timeout for Detroit, then brought Lindsey Hunter and Antonio McDyess into the game. The Spurs brought in veteran Glenn Robinson, and he helped get the crowd into it after slamming one in with authority after a successful half-court trap. Arroyo was then brought on for the Pistons whilst Udrih came on for the Spurs, but it made no real difference as San Antonio had woken up and was able to close the quarter behind by just 3 at 20-17.

Early in the second quarter both teams were missing easy shots, but eventually it was Billups who kicked off the scoring with a jump shot for 2. He followed that with a trey to which Horry immediately answered with one of his own. With just 3 minutes played in the period the Pistons were ahead 25-22, and Larry Brown called a timeout to regroup and find a way to get back into a comfortable lead. After the timeout it was the Pistons defence which prevented the Spurs from tying the game, therefore ensuring that Detroit were able to move back into a 5 point lead. Arroyo committed two quick fouls on Parker, and the Spurs were beginning to work a bit harder and show some of the talent that got them this far. The Pistons defence was still strong, but the Spurs were just as good as they made Detroit commit a momentum changing shot clock violation. After a timeout San Antonio cut the gap to 2 after some quality shooting from Parker, then Tim Duncan tied the game with two free throws. With 3 minutes to play baskets were traded back and forth, but eventually the Pistons went into the break ahead 37-35.

The teams switched sides and the third quarter got under way. Ginobili hit a trey after Detroit had opened the scoring to make it a 1 point game, then baskets from Duncan and Nazr gave San Antonio the lead for the first time since 2-0. Some high quality defence was played by both sides over the following couple of minutes, and then Nazr somehow sunk an awkward lay-up to keep San Antonio in front. Duncan sunk a hook shot to increase the lead to three, and then Brown called a timeout for Detroit. Coming back into the game Duncan did well to complete a 3-point play to give San Antonio a bit of breathing space. Detroit were looking shaky, and needed to calm down and select their shots a bit better, as they had missed 11 of their last 13 shots. One of their stars this year has been Tayshaun Prince, and he was able to break the slump to close the gap to 2. After another timeout Billups tied the game at 49 with 2:14 to play, then Nazr nullified that with two free throws soon after. Manu Ginobili pushed the lead back to 4, and the quarter slowly ended with the score 55-51 to the Spurs.

12 minutes to play in Game 1, and although it was a low scoring game, it had been very close and extremely exciting all the way through. Ben Wallace began the scoring in the fourth, but shortly after he was called for a blocking foul at the other end of the court. Wallace was then hit with a technical foul due to his reaction, which didn’t help his team at all. Manu was getting into his stride now, as he scored the basket that gave San Antonio a 7 point lead. In response Brown called another timeout, but as the teams returned things got worse for the Pistons. After Billups had re-opened the scoring, Parker and Ginobili were able to extend San Antonio’s lead to 9. Manu completed a 3-point play shortly after and moved the Spurs ahead by 12, the Detroit took another timeout. Prince looked to get the Pistons back into the game, but the Spurs defence had tightened up considerably and Duncan was able to give San Antonio a 14 point lead with 6 minutes remaining. The Spurs were playing their style of game at this time, and it really shone through as they moved into a 17 point lead at 74-57. Hamilton ended Detroit’s drought with a basket at the 5:00 mark, then Billups scored his 23rd of the night to cut the gap to 11. Popovich took a timeout for the Spurs, and as they returned Bowen missed his 5th consecutive three point attempt of the evening, something very unusual for him. 10 unanswered points by the Pistons had dramatically cut into the Spurs lead, but they got right back on track as Ginobili slammed one in. He followed that with a trey to stretch the lead back to 12 with just 2 minutes to play, and Brown again called a timeout for Detroit. As they returned Manu sunk his 15th fourth quarter point to give San Antonio an 81-67 lead with 1:10 to play, and the game was pretty much over. A couple of missed shots allowed the Spurs to run down the clock, with Horry dropping in a three to end the game 84-69.

That was an important victory for the Spurs, as they have established themselves as a strong home court team looking to win this championship. It wasn’t all bad for Detroit though, as they proved that their defence was excellent and their only problem seemed to be their toughness down the stretch. Game 2 takes place on Sunday night.

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Game 2

 

Game 2 – Detroit Pistons @ San Antonio Spurs

 

The SBC Centre hosted Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night as the San Antonio Spurs looked to improve on their 1-0 series lead over the Detroit Pistons.

Once the teams had been introduced the game got under way with Nazr winning the opening tip for the Spurs. Some good passing opened up Ginobili and allowed him to kick off the scoring with a three pointer. Parker and Bowen joined him on the score sheet soon after as San Antonio raced to an 8-0 lead. Rasheed Wallace opened the Pistons account by dropping one in over Duncan, but the Spurs defence were able to handle them and stop Detroit from scoring on their following two possessions. Nazr Mohammed hit a free throw to give San Antonio an 11-2 lead, but Detroit broke through and scored 4 points to cut the lead to just 5. Tayshaun Prince was called for his second foul shortly after and left the game, allowing Nazr to complete the 3-point play and take the score to 14-6 before the Spurs called a timeout. Barry and Horry entered the game for the Spurs and were able to provide Tim Duncan with his first basket of the evening. He was fouled whilst doing so and was able to sink the resulting free throw as the score moved to 17-8. Hamilton and ‘Sheed cut the gap down to 6, but the Pistons defence let them down as Duncan immediately pushed the score to 19-11. The Pistons took a chance by bringing Prince back into the game even with his foul trouble, and it looked to be paying dividends as 3 points quickly came their way. However the Pistons were already in the penalty and every foul they committed gave the Spurs easy points, and San Antonio was taking them with open arms. Horry sunk a lay-up with 2:43 on the clock to make it 25-16, and Larry Brown then decided to take a timeout. The Spurs came out stronger and were able to take a 30-19 lead into the second quarter on the back of a Ginobili trey.

Antonio McDyess began the second period’s scoring for Detroit, and it looked as though the Pistons defence had began to wake up as Sheed picked off a sloppy Spurs pass. However the resulting offensive play came to nothing, and San Antonio scored straight after thanks to some quality ball movement. Robert Horry picked off an inbound pass, and another pass shortly after as the Spurs defence began to clamp down, however they were unable to capitalise on both situations. Brown called for a timeout with the score at 36-25, and on returning to the game Tim Duncan scored 4 points to give San Antonio their biggest lead of the game with 13. With 7 minutes left in the half, it seemed as though Detroit were in tatters, missing simple shots and failing to close down players on defence. Due to this Horry was able to sink an open trey and make it a 16 point game, prompting Brown to call a timeout. Ginobili came back to increase the lead to 18, and Detroit looked as if they were falling to pieces with 5 minutes still to play in the half. Their defence looked to be non-existent at times, but they were able to cut the deficit to just 11 with a minute and a half to play. San Antonio’s defence forced a 24-second violation and then increased the lead to 14 off the turnover. Horry again stole the inbound pass and the Pistons were looking very frustrated. The half ended with the Spurs ahead 58-42.

Ben Wallace thought he had opened the scoring in the third quarter, however the basket was rightly called as offensive goaltending, allowing Duncan to score one at the other end. Hamilton ran down and sunk a lay-up, but he thought he was fouled and shouted at one of the referees, which meant he was the recipient of a technical foul. Bowen downed a trey and returned the Spurs lead to 18, their largest of the game. Detroit’s defence was improving, but it was still not up to the standard of Game 1, and after San Antonio took a 64-44 lead Brown called a timeout in an effort to regroup and get their heads back into the game. Their shots were still off, and their defence was lacking any intensity, but they were not giving up. At times it seemed as though they should as Bowen took the Spurs lead to 23. 6 consecutive points went to the Pistons, but they still could not establish any sort of significant run, trailing by 17 with 3:56 still on the clock. Some rare poor defence from the Spurs prompted Popovich to call a timeout, and on returning to the game Manu put the Spurs back in front by 20 with an easy trey. The Pistons were able to cut the gap to 15 thanks to Lindsey Hunter and Sheed, but Manu sunk his 4th trey of the night to stop the Detroit run. As the period ended the Pistons were trailing 79-63.

It took over two minutes for a basket to be scored in the fourth quarter, and it eventually fell to Billups on a lay-up, which he quickly followed with a jump shot cutting the San Antonio lead to 12. Duncan was fouled in the act of shooting by Sheed, which was immediately followed by a timeout from Popovich. His free throws returned the Spurs lead to 14, but Detroit sunk two of their own shortly after. San Antonio were beginning to make mistakes, and Detroit had a great opportunity to get back into the game. Parker was unfortunate enough to pick up his 5th foul, and had to sit as the Pistons cut the gap to 8. Popovich called a timeout after that 10-2 run from Detroit and was hoping to get the Spurs heads back into the game. Off the short break Ginobili was able to penetrate well to the basket and force Rasheed Wallace to commit his 5th foul, sending him to the bench on Brown’s instructions. Manu’s free throws put the lead back to 10, and with some excellent defending the Spurs were able to extend their lead to 12 with 6:14 on the clock. A superb steal from Ginobili was a momentum shifter as it allowed Bowen to down a trey and increase the San Antonio lead to 15 points. Coming out of a timeout the Spurs were the stronger team, controlling the ball and running the clock slowly downwards. Both teams were in the penalty, but it seemed to only be San Antonio at the line as Detroit were crumbling. Larry Brown and Chauncey Billups were both hit with technical fouls after some harsh words to the officials, and the Spurs had then taken a 21 point lead. The Pistons had fallen apart in the space of two minutes, and there seemed to be no way back. Popovich seemed to think so too, and brought Ginobili out of the game to a huge ovation. He did the same with Robert Horry and Tim Duncan shortly after to much the same reaction from the crowd. With 2:16 to play the Spurs had taken a 97-75 lead after a 16-2 run, and both teams sent their bench players out for a run around. The only thing of note to occur within those last minutes was that Carlos Arroyo needed to be helped off the court after taking a knock on his ankle. The game fizzled out and ended with the Spurs up 97-76.

Yet again the star of the game was Manu Ginobili, and if he continues to play like this then he would be a strong candidate for the Finals MVP award.

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Man, San An is just dominating Detroit. Bruce Bowen, in my opinoin, is the person giving the Spurs the biggest chance to win. He has put the clamps down on Rip Hamilton, Billups is missing shots, and Rasheed isn't playing like he should. This leaves the burden of scoring on Prince and Ben Wallace, two defensive specialist.

 

Detroit, who aren't a scoring team, need an offensive spark. Usually, that would be Rip, bu Bown has him on lockdown. Prince needs to be the offensive player he was in college in order to give the Pistons any hope. Ben Wallace also needs to put up 20.

 

The Spurs have everything working for them. Duncan is just unstoppable, and Ginobli always turns on his A game in the forth, so then he just takes over. Match that with exellent 3-Point shooting from Bowen and Horry, and Toney Parker getting all of them the ball, the Spurs are looking to be on a level all their own.

 

The Piston just match up bad against the Spurs, a team that has tight defense and eplosive, unstoppable, relentless offense. When there are three people on the court than can put up 30 a game, it's just hard to win against them.

 

I say the Spurs sweep.

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Detroit looked like a championship team for the first half of Game 1, since then they have looked like pretenders. San Antonio are a fantastic home team, losing only 3 of 41 during the regular season, and they have proven that over these two games. If the Pistons continue to play badly, with easy shots missed and thier defence in a mess, then i agree it will be a Spurs sweep.

However Detroit only lost 9 home games over the season, and always seem to step up at home. I have a strange feeling that Detroit will take Game 3 in Michigan, but then lose the following two home games. 4-1 San Antonio with Manu as Finals MVP :xyx

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Im glad Detroit are getting beat, no way they would even be in the finals if the Heat werent carrying so many injuries to so many of there starters.
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Game 3

 

Game 3 – San Antonio Spurs @ Detroit Pistons

 

The Palace of Auburn Hills was the venue for Game 3 of the 2005 NBA Finals as Detroit looked to turn things around at home against San Antonio. This was the first of three consecutive home games for the Pistons in this series, and if they want any chance of taking home the championship they would have to win at least 2 of these. San Antonio come into the game with a 2-0 lead, and a victory tonight would nearly wrap up the series.

Ben Wallace failed to win the opening tip, but he picked up the ball after a Ginobili turnover and opened the scoring with a dunk. Being fouled in the process, Wallace had the chance to make it a three point play from the line, which he did with ease. Manu picked up a foul shortly after, and as he went to the bench, the Spurs were able to start scoring and move into the lead. Brent Barry, Manu’s replacement, hit a trey as San Antonio grabbed a 5-3 lead. The other Wallace score his first points of the evening, and although he picked up a foul, Rasheed pushed the Pistons into a 9-6 lead with 7:30 left in the quarter. Already there was a difference in the teams, with Detroit seeming energised by their home crowd, and their play was a stark contrast to how they ended the first two games. Although Duncan was able to reduce the gap to one after a timeout, Rip Hamilton replied with a sweet jump shot as Detroit moved back up by 5. Manu Ginobili had re-entered the game, and it was a trey from him that gave San Antonio the lead back at 17-15 with 3:27 to play. Billups sunk one to tie it up, but Nesterovic came off the bench and returned the lead to San Antonio. This was a turning point in the first period, as the Spurs regrouped and embarked on an 8-3 run to close the quarter up 27-21.

Tayshaun Prince opened the scoring in the second quarter, and he scored a total of 6 within the first two minutes as the Pistons crawled back into the lead. Detroit’s defence was gradually beginning to look like that of the regular season, as they allowed just one San Antonio basket over the first four minutes of the period. The Spurs offence was not playing well, and seemed to falter under the pressure of the Pistons defence. San Antonio re-took the lead with 9:17 to play, and after Billups was called for his first foul shortly after, a timeout was called. Duncan came out of the timeout and missed a jump shot, but luckily enough he recovered a lost ball by McDyess and was fouled trying to score. His two free throws increased the lead to three, however Rasheed and Rip each scored their 6th point of the evening and pushed Detroit ahead 32-31. At the other end Tony Parker had an opportunity change the lead yet again, but his jump shot fell to the side and Gregg Popovich called a timeout for the Spurs. For over a minute after the timeout both teams were scoreless, with quality defence being the main reason, and it was Hamilton who broke the deadlock at the 4:34 mark. Bruce Bowen dropped in a trey to tie the game at 36, and Duncan added to that shortly after as the Spurs got back into the lead. Prince tied it up immediately after, however Horry continued his playoff hot streak and sunk a trey to give San Antonio a three point lead. Billups had three points over the final 40 seconds, which brought the score to within one after Tony Parker sunk a free throw, closing the half out 42-41.

After a minutes play in the third quarter Chauncey Billups put the Pistons ahead with a trey, to which Hamilton added two free throws shortly after. Tim Duncan quickly gave the Spurs back the lead with two free throws of his own, however Detroit began to take charge as Prince and Hamilton scored 8 unanswered points between them to put the Pistons up 54-47. Parker halted the run with a lay-up on the 7 minute mark, and along with Manu put together a 9-0 run over the next 3 minutes to swing the momentum back towards San Antonio, and help them take a 58-57 lead. Rip scored his 16th point of the evening to halt the Spurs run and hand the Pistons back the lead, to which Ben Wallace added two points on the following play. The Pistons were able to hold on to the lead as the period closed out, with McDyess and Hunter dropping in 7 between them. Although Horry sunk a jump shot with just 2 seconds on the clock, Detroit held a 5 point lead going into the final quarter, up 70-65.

McDyess and Billups opened the period by increasing Detroit’s lead to 6 over the first two minutes. The Pistons were playing like a completely different team compared to the last two games, and it was allowing them to get in front and maybe get back into this series. Barry sunk a lay-up for the Spurs but in reply Billups scored 5 unanswered and increased the lead to 9. Chauncey committed his fourth foul shortly after and the game went to a timeout. Antonio McDyess was playing a big part for the Pistons, and he cemented that fact as he scored their next 4 points out of the timeout. The Detroit defence was playing superbly, and were shutting down the Spurs with ferocity. Rip Hamilton added a basket to increase the lead to 16 with 6:37 on the clock, and San Antonio needed to turn things around quickly. Tony Parker looked to be getting San Antonio back on track with 4 consecutive points, but Prince immediately followed that with 2 free throws, returning the lead to 13. The Spurs could not get anything going, as the Pistons were defending as if their lives depended on it. Bruce Bowen dropped in a free throw, but he couldn’t stop Detroit from going on a 6-1 run over the next couple of minutes. With less than a minute on the clock, the Pistons cleared their bench and San Antonio was pretty much out of it. Carlos Arroyo made his only basket of the evening, before Brown sunk a last second lay-up for the Spurs to close the game 96-79.

An emphatic home victory for the Pistons, proving that this series isn’t over yet. Their defence returned to previous form, and prevented Ginobili from dominating as he did in the first two games. This could be the turning point of the series.

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Game 4

 

Game 4 – San Antonio Spurs @ Detroit Pistons

 

The venue once again was the Palace of Auburn Hills on Thursday as Game 4 of the 2005 NBA Finals got under way. Detroit was looking for a victory in order to tie the series, whilst San Antonio was looking to get back on track after the poor Game 3 loss.

Ben Wallace won the opening tip, and as Billups recovered the ball Manu Ginobili was called for a foul on him. Bowen recovered the ball though and allowed Tim Duncan to get the scoring under way. Nazr increased the lead to 4 shortly after, and Billups tried to retaliate for the Pistons with a trey, but it fell way short. Detroit’s defence was again playing well, and were able to move into a 6-4 lead on the back of three forced turnovers. The lead quickly returned to the Spurs as Ginobili hit a trey, but another turnover allowed the Pistons to get back in front 11-7. Gregg Popovich was a bit too vocal with the officials and was hit with a technical foul, and as a whole the team were struggling early. So with 6 minutes to play a timeout was called, and San Antonio needed to get their heads into the game. On returning to the game the Spurs forced a 24-second violation, but that was a rare occasion on which they actually stopped the Detroit offence, as the Pistons moved to a 14-9 lead. That was extended to 16-10 after a long 2 from Ben Wallace, and as Billups dropped another 2 in shortly after, San Antonio called a timeout. The Spurs cut the lead to 6, but a dry spell then ensued until Udrih knocked down a trey with a minute to play. The Pistons had the final possession of the period, and Sheed knocked down a three to make it 23-17 at the break.

San Antonio couldn’t open well, and the Pistons were looking very dangerous as they moved to a 27-17 lead, their largest of the game. Gregg Popovich called an early timeout as that gap was reached, but as the teams came back to the court it was the Pistons who increased the lead to 12. Detroit capitalised on yet another Spurs turnover and made it a 14-point game on an 11-0 run. McDyess had an open shot and suck it, but was fouled as well which led to a possible three point play. He completed it to make the lead 17 points. San Antonio was looking extremely sloppy until Devin Brown came off the bench and dropped in a three. Duncan followed that with a lay-up which decreased the gap to 12, but it was returned to 14 immediately after as Billups sunk a couple of free throws. McDyess was called for a foul, putting the Pistons over the limit, which ensured Larry Brown was up and calling a timeout. Duncan’s resulting free throws cut the lead to 10, and after Tayshaun was called for an offensive foul Brown sunk a free throw to cut it to 9. Rasheed hit a trey to silence the Spurs, and Hamilton followed closely with a jump shot to make it a 14 point game again with 4:25 on the clock. San Antonio called a timeout shortly after with the score at 43-29, and they needed to do a lot of work to get back into this game. Detroit were having their way with the Spurs, going back to a 16 point lead, and San Antonio couldn’t find the form they had in the first two games. Tony Parker scored his first points of the evening, but during the final minute the Pistons were able to take control and go into half time up by 51 points to 36.

The third quarter got under way with Manu getting to the basket in traffic and sinking a tough lay-up, which in Game 3 and so far tonight he had been prevented from doing. Bowen followed that with a basket to cut it down to an 11 point game, but Detroit came right back to make it 55-40 after a couple of Billups free throws. At the other end Duncan had an opportunity to complete a three point play after being fouled whilst sinking a lay-up, however he missed the free throw and was unable to follow it up. The Pistons defence forced another two turnovers, each of which led to scores, and again the Spurs were forced to call a timeout. San Antonio got the scoring under way as the teams came back with Tony Parker dropping in a lay-up over Rasheed Wallace. However a run failed to materialise after some questionable calls in Detroit’s favour, and the Pistons took advantage and made it a 17 point game at 61-44 before a timeout was called. Detroit was by far the better team, and extended the lead to 19 as Hunter came off the bench and scored 4 straight. Barry halted the run with a trey, and a little later the Spurs were able to cut the gap to 15, but Hunter hit another long 2 with 2:30 left on the clock. Detroit was leading 70-55 as the final minute approached, and McDyess scored a couple to close the period 74-57 in the Pistons favour.

Rasheed opened the final quarter with a tip-in, and even after Duncan made a free throw Detroit were increasing the lead, as McDyess made it 78-58 just a minute in. Just over a minute later another basket was scored, and it was Billups who gave the Pistons their largest lead of the game at 22. Hamilton made it 82-58 with 9:01 still to play, and even now it was looking pretty much over. The Spurs were still trying to get back into it, but for every time they scored it seemed as though the Pistons were doing double. Horry and Parker made baskets for San Antonio to make it a 20 point game, but 4 consecutive points from Hamilton put it to 88-64 with just over 6 minutes to play. Horry knocked down a trey, but it was only a temporary respite as Hamilton made it a 23 point game. Detroit were showing everyone why they were Champs last year, and that they deserved to be here this time around, as Wallace sunk a free throw to put the score at 93-69 with 3:50 to play. Shortly after Lindsey Hunter dunked one in to make it 97-71, the Pistons cleared their bench for the final two minutes, and even gave Darko Milicic a run around! Darko scored a hook shot in reward for Brown’s generosity, and Arroyo hit a jump shot to end the game 102-71.

The Spurs had been outclassed on the road, and now go into Game 5 needing a victory. Another road loss would give Detroit a huge advantage going into Game 6 in San Antonio, as with only one game in Texas the pressure is not as immense as with 2 to win! At home the Pistons have proven themselves to be a force, shutting out Manu and Parker, and controlling the game. San Antonio needs to find a way through if they are to win this series.

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Game 5

 

Game 5 – San Antonio Spurs @ Detroit Pistons

 

Game 5 was upon us on Sunday, and it was a must win game for both teams. Detroit wanted to keep their momentum going and take their third straight victory, whilst the Spurs looked to turn things around and go back to Texas for Game 6 with the lead.

The final game of the season in the Palace of Auburn Hills got under way with the Spurs taking the opening tip, and Duncan was able to start the scoring from that. Ben Wallace looked to counter immediately but was stopped by the Spurs, which then allowed Parker to make it a 4-0 lead. Billups sped down the court and started the Pistons scoring, to which Prince added a basket shortly after to tie the game at 4. After a couple of San Antonio misses both Ben and Rasheed Wallace sunk baskets, moving the Pistons ahead 8-4. Detroit were starting a run early, and after Sheed sunk an easy one over Duncan, Billups sunk a trey to give them a 7-point lead, prompting Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout. Tim Duncan got the scoring back under way after the break, and that was followed by a lay-up from Manu Ginobili. He was fouled whilst doing so and promptly completed the three point play, cutting the gap to 2. Big Ben was shooting well, and helped put the Pistons up 17-13 with 4 minutes to play. Shortly after he was able to complete a three point play and extend the lead even further before Duncan tipped one in. The Pistons called a timeout, but as the teams came back it was the Spurs who were stronger, tying the game at 19 thanks to some excellent movement from Ginobili. Detroit was able to score 4 points in the final minute and moved into the break up 23-21.

San Antonio had to be encouraged by the fact they were only 2 points behind at this stage, as in the previous two road games they have been nothing short of poor. And although the Pistons opened the scoring in the period, the Spurs were looking better as a unit than they had previously, and were able to tie the game at 24. Some beautiful ball movement allowed Bowen to sink a trey and put San Antonio in front, to which Parker added a lay-up soon after. The Spurs defence was playing a lot better than it had in Games 3 and 4, and so much so they were able to take a 31-28 as the pistons called a timeout. Off the break Manu was looking like the player he was in the first two games, and Brent Barry was able to down an open trey soon after. Duncan added a tip-in and again the Pistons called for a timeout with the score at 37-28. The Spurs were beginning to dominate the game on both ends o the court, and they were not turning the ball over, which was a big factor for them previously. McDyess sunk a free throw to cut the gap to 8, but one immediately after from Brown cancelled it out. Detroit made a quick burst to score 6 unanswered points with 5 minutes to play, whilst the Spurs were missing easy shots. San Antonio called a timeout with the score at 38-35, and they had only scored one point in the last 4 minutes of play. They looked to turn that around as Manu sunk two free throws, but Ben Wallace came off a steal and brought the score to within 1, and promptly tied it with a free throw shortly after. Parker quickly put the Spurs back in front, but two free throws from the Pistons tied the game at 42 going into half time.

Already this was turning into a very exciting game, and it was going to get even better. Rip Hamilton gave Detroit their first lead of the second half, but Nazr Mohammed quickly nullified that. With another basket for each team, the question was who is going to make that decisive run and take the game into their hands? Well it started to form as Tim Duncan and Bruce Bowen helped take the Spurs to a 53-48 lead, before the Pistons called a timeout. Detroit came straight out from the timeout and missed their first shot, allowing Bowen to get to the other end of the court and make it a 7 point lead. Billups cut it to 5, but Duncan and Ginobili muscled their way to the basket and pushed it back to 7. Both teams were looking pretty good, with their defence holding up well and not allowing the other team to make a run. However this was not too good for Detroit, as they needed a run to get back into the game. Hamilton hit a great jump shot before the Spurs called a timeout with 4:30 remaining in the quarter. Neither team were able to score within the next minute, but when Billups hit a free throw with 3 minutes on the clock it seemed to spark a scoring run. Duncan tipped one in at one end, followed by Billups knocking down a trey and a three point play to tie the game at 61. The Pistons defence was really coming into its own, allowing the Pistons to take a 63-61 lead over San Antonio. A trey from Robert Horry gave him his first points of the period and the Spurs a single point lead going into the fourth quarter.

The fourth period was kicked off with Horry sinking another trey, giving the Spurs a 4 point lead. Hamilton was able to cut it to 2, and McDyess tied the game with the next basket. Tim pushed the Spurs back in front, and it was fast becoming the best game of the series so far from a neutral stand-point. Tayshaun Prince scored a couple to put the Pistons back in front before San Antonio decided to call a timeout. Duncan re-tied the game with a basket off the timeout, but was unable to complete the three point play for the lead. Prince took advantage of that and was able to give Detroit back the lead. Manu Ginobili found his form and sunk a tough lay-up to tie the game, and he was able to complete the three point play which gave the Spurs the lead. Detroit called a timeout with 6:15 left in the game, and as they returned the Pistons were able to take a 3 point lead. However Duncan was able to cut the gap to 1 shortly after, before Billups sunk two from the foul line and returned the lead to 3. Horry hit yet another trey soon after which tied the game at 79, prompting Brown to call a timeout for Detroit. Billups sunk another two from the line, giving the Pistons back a 2 point lead, to which Ginobili countered immediately after with 3:00 on the clock. Hamilton gave Detroit back the lead, and then it was San Antonio’s turn to call a timeout. Off the break Horry sunk two free throws to tie the game at 83, but at the other end Sheed sunk an easy basket to give the Pistons back the lead. Horry popped up and tied the game again, which was followed by baskets from both sides going back and forth. Horry was sinking all the clutch baskets tonight, and it was he who sunk a trey to give the Spurs the lead by 1. Duncan had a chance to extend the lead from the foul line, but he missed both, meaning he had not hit a free throw in the fourth quarter. Detroit then took a timeout with less than a minute to go, and coming back off the short break Billups gave Detroit a 2 point lead. Duncan made a free throw eventually and tied the game at 89 with 33 seconds remaining. Detroit failed to score on their final possession, and it was down to San Antonio to win it in 16.9 seconds. Ginobili’s lay-up attempt failed, sending the game into overtime with the score tied at 89.

What a game this had turned out to be, and with an extra 5 minutes of overtime to go, anything could happen. Ginobili missed the opening shot, and even an offensive rebound for the Spurs couldn’t give them a basket. Prince sunk a long two for Detroit, and shortly after Billups sunk two from the line for a 4-point Pistons lead. San Antonio called a timeout with 2:51 to play in the extra period and on the return Parker was able to cut the gap to 2. Sheed immediately put the gap back to four, but Horry showed up again and slammed one in over Hamilton, picking up the foul in the process. He failed to score the free throw, and Duncan committed a turnover which allowed the Pistons to run down the clock. Luckily for the Spurs, the pistons missed their shot and handed San Antonio possession with 9.4 seconds on the clock. After a timeout the ball went to “Big Shot Bob” Robert Horry, and as he had done all throughout the fourth quarter he sunk a trey with 5.9 seconds on the clock. This gave the Spurs a single point lead, with Detroit having enough time to have one last shot. San Antonio prevented the ball going to Billups, and Hamilton had to put up the shot. It fell short and Bowen picked up the rebound, giving the Spurs the 96-95 victory in overtime at the Palace.

So the last game of the season in the Palace ended in disappointment for the Pistons, and they now have to win in San Antonio, where they have failed to win a game all season. The Spurs take a 3-2 lead home, requiring just one more victory to claim their third NBA Championship in 7 years.

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Game 6

 

Game 6 – Detroit Pistons @ San Antonio Spurs

 

Back to San Antonio they went for Game 6 of the 2005 NBA Finals on Tuesday. Could the Spurs end the series tonight with a victory, or could the Detroit Pistons force a Game 7 on Thursday night?

Well the opening tip went to the Spurs, but it went out of bounds immediately, and the Pistons had the chance to open the scoring. The shot fell short, allowing Ginobili to start things off at the other end of the court with a trey. Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince scored baskets in quick succession to give Detroit a 4-3 lead, then Parker scored his first of the evening to a round of cheers which put the Spurs back ahead. The lead changed a few times over the next minute or two, with Sheed putting Detroit ahead before Parker did the same for San Antonio. The Spurs at first were looking the better of the two teams, driving to the basket and drawing the fouls. Manu weaved his way inside to sink a lay-up and make it 9-8, and then the Spurs took a timeout 30 seconds after. Rip Hamilton came off the break and sunk a rare trey to give the Pistons a 2-point lead, to which Rasheed Wallace added a dunk to make it 13-9. Even though he was being hounded by Rasheed, Tim Duncan scored his first points of the game with a hook shot, which was followed by a trey from Brent Barry who had just come off the bench. Detroit was getting a good contribution from Hamilton, as he helped them move to a 4 point lead again before San Antonio called another timeout. As they returned Duncan sunk one in over McDyess to cut the gap to 2, to which Bruce Bowen added a trey for the lead 19-18. Chauncey Billups replied with a trey of his own, and Prince added a basket to put the Pistons back ahead by 4. San Antonio tied the game with the final possession of the quarter, making it 23-23 going into the break.

The second quarter got under way with a foul called on Lindsey Hunter as he tripped up Ginobili. And it was he who opened the scoring by sinking a lay-up. Tayshaun Prince scored a couple to give the Pistons back a single point lead, but shortly after Hunter was called for his second quick foul. McDyess recovered the ball for Detroit and downed a decent jump shot, which was followed by a dunk from Ben Wallace that put them ahead 30-25, prompting the Spurs to call a timeout. With 9:37 still to play in the half the game got back under way with Barry sinking a lay-up, which was followed by a one-handed dunk from Duncan. After Sheed had sunk a long two, Ginobili got to the basket again and made it a 4-point game. Hunter then picked up his third foul of the quarter and was taken out of the game. Manu only sunk one of the resulting free throws to cut the gap to 3. Fouls were handed out to both teams shortly after, and due to his vocal response Billups was hit with a technical foul, putting the team in the penalty. Barry’s free throws tied the game at 35 with 7 still to play. Duncan added a free throw shortly after to give the Spurs the lead, but Billups was on hand to reply with a long trey and switch the lead back to Detroit by 2. But again the Pistons were being a bit too vocal, this time with Larry Brown getting hit with a technical foul. Detroit was still leading though, or at least they were until Parker tied the game with a jump shot with 5:24 remaining. Duncan then put the Spurs ahead with a long two, before McDyess re-tied the game with a slam. Detroit was pounding the offensive boards and San Antonio were losing ground because of it. Detroit was able to take the lead 44-42 with under 3 minutes to play, until Horry retaliated with a trey immediately after. Horry then picked up his third foul of the quarter and sat down, and the resulting free throws allowed the Pistons to tie the game. They took the lead from a Hamilton free throw, but Nazr made two from the line shortly after to re-take the lead with 35 seconds left. And this was how the half ended, with the Spurs ahead 47-46.

Into the third quarter we went and the Spurs opened it with a 24-second violation, allowing the Pistons to try and take the lead. They failed however and Ginobili was able to sink a running jump shot to give San Antonio a 3 point lead. Manu was fouled on his next drive to the basket, sinking both from the line to counter a Sheed jump shot and keep the lead at 3. Hamilton sped down the court to sink a jump shot, again making it a 1 point game with the score at 51-50. The Spurs were beginning to dominate when it came to grabbing offensive rebounds, allowing them to take a 5 point lead. However Billups was on hand to sink a trey after a jump shot and tie the game at 55. The Spurs then called a timeout, and coming back into the game the Pistons took a two point lead after a Billups shot. He then extended it with another jump shot shortly after, before Duncan and Ginobili hit free throws to cut it to 2. Bowen was able to sink a trey and give San Antonio back the lead, but Billups was on hand yet again to sink one of his own and turn the lead back around before a timeout was called. Duncan tied the game off the break, and was followed by Barry sinking a lay-up to move them into a 2-point lead. With 2:43 to play in the period Hamilton completed a three point play for the lead, and McDyess extended it to 4 points as the Pistons were able to capitalise on the turnovers that San Antonio were giving away. The Pistons held on for the lead as they ended the quarter up 71-67.

San Antonio was down but by no means out, but it looked that way as Detroit opened the fourth quarter by extending their lead to 7 with a three point play from McDyess. Rasheed then picked up his fifth foul, and was forced to sit to a chorus of jeers from the Texas crowd. Barry tipped his own rebound in, following that with a free throw to bring the game back to within 4. San Antonio’s defence was playing well, but it still had some gaping holes as the Pistons were able to keep their lead. Horry then stepped up for the Spurs, downing a trey with 9 minute to play, prompting a timeout to be called by Detroit. Ben Wallace missed a dunk coming back into the game, but the Spurs were unable to capitalise on the opposite end of the court. Hamilton then hit a turnaround jump shot to make it a 5 point game, and this time the Spurs called a timeout. Hunter came off the bench and made it a 7 point lead again for the Pistons, before Parker hit his first trey of the series to make it 80-76. Hunter then came back to make it 82-76, but Duncan made two from the line to cancel that out. With 5 minutes remaining Ginobili sunk a trey to make it a 1 point game, and the Spurs seemed to be getting their second wind. Duncan was poor from the line though, and was unable to prevent the Pistons from taking a 5 point lead off a Sheed trey. With 2 minutes to play and a single point lead, Detroit took a timeout. Prince came off the break and hooked one in, followed by a jump shot from Sheed making it a 5 point game. Popovich then called a timeout, but San Antonio had lost their momentum, as the Pistons were able to hold on to their lead with 25 seconds left on the clock. Detroit then ran the clock down, closing out the game 95-86 and ensuring a Game 7 in Texas on Thursday.

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Game 7

 

Game 7 – Detroit Pistons @ San Antonio Spurs

 

So it all came down to this, 82 regular season games and three previous playoff rounds all leading up to Game 7 of the 2005 NBA Finals, where the Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs would go head to head. In this series so far both teams had won two games at home and one on the road, so no-one could honestly say either team was favourite to win. You could say that due to the fact the Spurs are at home they will win, but what about Detroit’s victory here in Game 6? Well, it all got under way on Thursday night in San Antonio, Texas with expectations high from the home crowd.

San Antonio controlled the opening tip, and Duncan hooked one in to open the scoring. Rasheed Wallace was able to exploit his height advantage and tie the game, but Ginobili sped down the court and sunk a jump shot to re-take the lead. Hamilton got away with some blatant travelling which allowed Ben Wallace to tie the game, and he was on hand to give Detroit the lead shortly after by dropping one in over Nazr. The Spurs gave away another early turnover and Ben was able to extend the Pistons lead to 4, but Ginobili came back to score his second basket of the game and halve the gap. Billups missed a trey as he tried to extend Detroit’s lead, but he was successful on the next drive as he sunk a lay-up and made the score 12-6. The Spurs called a timeout with 6:43 to play, bringing Robert Horry into the game. Tim Duncan came off the break and started the scoring as he cut the gap to 4, then Barry drove in for a lay-up and further closed the gap to 2. Ben Wallace attempted to extend the Pistons lead immediately after, but Duncan made a superb block that allowed Horry to get to the other end and sink a lay-up and tie the game. On their following offensive play the Spurs forced Detroit into making their fourth team foul, which also saw Chauncey Billups get sent to the bench with two fouls. Detroit called a timeout with 4:08 to play in the period, but it was the Spurs who came out better, driving straight in and drawing a foul from Detroit, putting them over the limit. Horry made one from the line to give them the lead, and after a Hamilton miss he sunk a big trey to make it a four point game. Rip recovered from the earlier miss and cut the gap to 2, but again “Big Shot Bob” came through and moved the lead back to 4. McDyess came off the bench and sunk one in over Horry, making it a two point game again. The Spurs stole a Detroit inbound pass, but Barry’s shot was amazingly blocked by Hamilton, closing out the period 18-16 to San Antonio.

Detroit began the second quarter with possession, and Hamilton was then able to get the scoring started and tie the game with a lay-up. Duncan managed to save a loose ball on offence and put the Spurs back in front, but Rip tied the game immediately after. Prince then sunk a trey to give Detroit the lead, and the Spurs then brought Manu back into the game with the hope of him sparking something special. He dished the ball out to Parker who then tied the game with a trey of his own, his second in the series, prompting as timeout to be called by Detroit. Prince came out of the timeout to put the Pistons up by 2, but Duncan was able to re-tie the game almost immediately. Both teams were defending well, which was the main reason why the scoring had been so low, but the Pistons were still giving away fouls whilst the Spurs were committing easy turnovers. With 5:51 remaining in the half and the score tied at 25 a timeout was called. The scoring drought was eventually broken after 3 minutes without score by the Pistons, however Barry then hit back with a trey to take the lead for the Spurs. After McDyess had given the lead back to Detroit, Horry was caught in the eye by Hunter whilst attempting a shot. Even so Horry was able to sink both his free throws and give San Antonio back the lead. Ben Wallace slammed one in with authority on the Pistons next attack, but their lead didn’t last long as Manu made a trey to push the Spurs ahead by 2. Wallace was again there to tie the game, but in reply Bruce Bowen drove in and sunk a lay-up to re-take the lead. Ben was on fire in this first half, dropping in another basket to tie the game, and this time the Pistons capitalised on that as Billups put them ahead by 2. Parker tied the game up, but a couple of free throws each allowed the Pistons to go into the half up by 39 points to 38.

The tension was building with just 24 minutes remaining in the season, let alone the game, and it was very tough to call. Detroit missed the first shot of the half, and at the other end Sheed picked up his fourth foul, which effectively sent him straight to the bench. Ginobili made on from the line to tie the game, but Rip was fouled at the other end and was able to complete a three point play. San Antonio were beginning to power their way through on offence, but the shots were just not falling. Prince extended the Pistons lead to 5 as the Spurs called a timeout. San Antonio came back and committed yet another turnover, allowing Detroit to take a 7 point lead. McDyess was then able to extend that to 9 shortly after, but the gap promptly went back to 7 as Parker sunk a lay-up. Duncan was tough under the basket to grab an offensive rebound, score the basket and draw the foul as well. He then completed the three point play to make it a 4 point game with 6:18 to play. Ginobili followed that with a lay-up to cut the gap to 2, and Detroit were forced into calling a timeout. McDyess returned the lead to 4 off the break, but Ben Wallace couldn’t extend in further from the foul line. It was Prince however who made it a 6 point game with a long two, before Duncan was again fouled in the act of shooting. He made both free throws to cut the gap to 4, and the following play saw the same happen, but Duncan completed a three point play this time to draw the within 1. Rip hit one from the line to double their lead, but Duncan tied the game soon after with a bank-shot, which he had been missing so far in the series. Billups returned the lead to the Pistons with a couple of free throws, but Manu was then able to get free and tie the game with an emphatic dunk, much to the joy of the crowd. Duncan then got free and sunk a shot to give San Antonio the lead, and it looked as though the Spurs had got into their rhythm, playing some outstanding basketball late on. Detroit were able to tie the game though with just seconds remaining thanks to a long two from Hunter, and into the final period they went tied at 57.

San Antonio got the fourth quarter under way but failed to score, luckily for them Detroit did the same, allowing Duncan to slam one in and give them the lead. It was nearly a minute later that Sheed tied the game with a jump shot, to which Manu replied with another powerful slam for the lead. Detroit attempted to come straight back, but a foul was called on the Spurs and the Pistons couldn’t capitalise. Horry was then able to get to the opposite end of the court and drop in a trey, making it a 5 point game. The Pistons committed a 24-second violation, but had been able to close the gap to 3 on the previous play. Bowen hit a trey and made it a 6 point game as the Pistons then took a timeout. With 6 minutes remaining the game got back under way, and both teams were playing some very good defence, exemplified by the low scoring, until Sheed sunk a jump shot which cut the gap to 4. Duncan missed one off the glass but the Pistons were unable to make use of the opportunity, and Duncan was then able to sink a long two. His basket gave the Spurs a 6 point lead with 3:30 remaining, to which Billups replied with a lay-up. That didn’t help for long though as Manu then came back with a trey to make it a 7 point lead for the Spurs. A timeout was then called by Detroit, and off the break Ben Wallace helped the Pistons get back within 6 after a free throw. Detroit was hit with a charging call, which allowed the Spurs to run down the clock a little more. The Pistons made a huge steal with 1:30 remaining and cut the gap to 4, and following that Duncan was sent to the line with a chance to again make it a 6 point game. He only made one of two though, and it was a 5 point gap. Bruce Bowen blocked a shot from Billups, allowing Ginobili to extend the San Antonio lead to 7 with 30 seconds to play. Sheed then quickly sunk a trey to cut it to 4, before sending Ginobili to the line with 22 seconds remaining. Manu made his two free throws as the Pistons used their final timeout. Sheed missed a trey, which allowed the Spurs to grab the ball. Horry went to the line and shot two, making both and giving them an 8 point lead. Hamilton replied for Detroit with a three point play, giving them a chance to tie the game win two possessions. A long inbound pass to Manu allowed the clock to run down even further before he was sent to the line, and as he made his two free throws the game came to an end. San Antonio won the game 81-74 and were crowned the 2005 NBA Champions.

Their performance had been superb, and they deserved to win. The Pistons did a great job of defending their title, but in the end the Spurs were the better team. With that said, the Finals Most Valuable Player award was then handed out. Manu Ginobili had been my favourite for the award, but after his display in Game 7, the award rightfully went to Tim Duncan. Congratulations to him and the San Antonio team for winning their 3rd NBA Championship in 7 years!

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