Pistons fall flat without injured Hill

Posted: Sunday, April 30, 2000

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons had almost no fight left in them Saturday without an injured Grant Hill.

Reserve Clarence Weather-spoon had 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Miami Heat powered to a 91-72 victory over Detroit, sweeping the Pistons in their best-of-five Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

The Pistons had been talking bravely about finding someone to step up ever since Hill went down in the second game with a broken left ankle. But that fizzled fast once the action started before a crowd of only 14,507 at The Palace.

''I think some guys just looked scared out there,'' Detroit's interim coach, George Irvine, said. ''I don't know why they would be. They have been in this league for years, at least some of them have. I hope to God they weren't scared, but that's how it looked.''

The Pistons made just 23 of 73 shots and were outrebounded 47-34. Miami converted 18 turnovers by the Pistons into 21 points.

The game was so one-sided that Heat coach Pat Riley was able to sit Alonzo Mourning down after just 22 minutes of playing time. Mourning, who blocked 14 shots in the three games, finished with 12 points and Jamal Mashburn added 11. Both had scored over 20 points in each of the first two games.

Suns 101, Spurs 94

PHOENIX -- With Todd Day the unlikely hero, Phoenix is on the brink of eliminating the defending NBA champions from the first round of the playoffs.

Day scored all 16 of his points in the fourth quarter and Penny Hardaway had his first playoff triple-double as the Suns, down by 10 points at the end of the third period, rallied to win.

Phoenix leads the best-of-five series 2-1 and can clinch it with a home-court victory in Game 4 Tuesday.

As Tim Duncan again sat and watched in street clothes, David Robinson almost single-handedly kept San Antonio in the game with 37 points, three short of his career playoff high, and 13 rebounds.

Hardaway had 17 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. Day, who played 13 minutes and scored six points in the first two games, was 4-for-9 from the field in the fourth quarter, including 3-of-6 3-pointers, and was 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

SuperSonics 89, Jazz 78

SEATTLE -- Gary Payton scored nine of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and Vin Baker, criticized for his play in Games 1 and 2, added 15 points and 11 rebounds as Seattle avoided a sweep.

Playing the full 48 minutes, Payton added 10 assists and seven rebounds, and held Utah point guard John Stockton to just four points. Seattle outrebounded Utah 46-38 as rookie Rashard Lewis had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Pacers 109, Bucks 96

MILWAUKEE -- Only Reggie Miller could have saved Indiana -- so he did.

Miller scored 34 points with a barrage of outside shots as the Pacers beat Milwaukee to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five playoff series.

With a sellout crowd at Bradley Center booing his every move and his teammates mostly ineffective, Miller turned in yet another amazing playoff performance. He staved off a fired-up Milwaukee team aching for its first home playoff win in a decade.

Indiana, the Eastern Conference's top seed, can clinch the series with another road victory in Game 4 on Monday.

The game was marred by the ejections of Milwaukee's Sam Cassell and Indiana's Dale Davis with six minutes to play. The players confronted each other and received double technical fouls for the second time in another intensely physical game between bitter rivals.

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