The Associated Press
Jun. 06, 2005
Detroit at Miami (8 p.m. EDT). The winner faces San Antonio in the NBA Finals, which begin Thursday.
ON THE LINE
Miami has dropped six deciding games at home in its playoff history, including losses to the New York Knicks in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Detroit has won 11 deciding games on the road. The Heat are 2-1 in Game 7s, while the Pistons are 3-3. The Pistons face the Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday night in Miami.
A NUMBERS GAME
In the NBA playoffs, home teams have a 74-16 all-time record in Game 7s. Last Thursday, Miami beat Detroit to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. In NBA history, the winner of Game 5 in a series tied 2-2 has gone on to win it 106 of 126 times. However, the last team to come back after losing Game 5 of a 2-2 series was the Pistons. In last year's Eastern Conference semifinals, the Pistons trailed New Jersey 3-2 after dropping Game 5, but rallied to win the series and eventually the NBA title.
``Maybe that's not smart on my part, maybe it is, I don't know, but I think we have to stay sharp and that's the only way I know to stay sharp.'' _ San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. The Spurs took a couple of days off after beating Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals, but their practice sessions remain strenuous even though some of the players _ notably Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili _ are contending with injuries.