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Friday’s Layup Drill

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  • Rasheed Wallace was fined 25 large for his profanity-laced tirade. Over at FanHouse, I revealed what I think to be a pretty ingenious solution to future fines.
  • Speaking of bleeps, Michael Rosenberg writes for the Free Press:

    As he stood in the Pistons locker room Wednesday night, after a painful Game 5 loss to Boston, Wallace told the media to start asking questions so he could "get rid of you (bleepers)."

    This is hard to explain, since I was standing next to Wallace at the time and was therefore the lead bleeper, but I took no offense. Maybe I’ve been around him too much. But he was clearly mad about the game, not the reporters.

    Two minutes later, I asked Wallace if the Pistons’ fourth-quarter comeback would stick in the Celtics’ heads if tonight’s Game 6 or a Game 7 is tight down the stretch. He didn’t even pretend to answer it. He just went off on Mauer and Callahan.

    There is a lesson in there somewhere. As Abe Lincoln famously said: You can call all the men bleepers all of the time, but some of them cats don’t like it.

  • There's not much news on Rip Hamilton. Flip Saunders spoke to reporters yesterday morning before having a chance to check in on Rip's progress, but Keith Langlois did get this:

    "He’s going to be sore today," Saunders said. "If we had to play today, I don’t think he’d play. It’d be different if it was his left arm, but it’s his right arm – his shooting arm. You know, the golden arm. So I think that he’s going to need to get it polished up a little bit before he can play."

    If Hamilton can’t play, Saunders said "more than likely (Rodney) Stuckey" would start in his place. Juan Dixon would be the likely candidate to come off the inactive list and get minutes behind Stuckey at shooting guard with Jarvis Hayes and Arron Afflalo also in the mix.

  • This didn't get too much play, but apparently Lindsey Hunter was "furious" at Flip Saunders immediately after being replaced with Chauncey Billups in the fourth quarter in Game 5. Hunter was providing a nice spark, but it turned out to be the right move as Billups went on to score nine straight. From the same Langlois link as above, Saunders emphasized that he had no problem with Hunter's reaction:

    Saunders brushed off any deeper meaning over suggestions that Lindsey Hunter and his teammates were upset when he sent Billups back in the game for the stretch run.

    "I told (Hunter) after the game, I want my guys to play. When he’s out there, he’s a competitor. But as I said after the game, as coaches we make decisions that players question, you guys question, everyone questions. And not ’til it plays out do you find out if it’s good or bad or whatever. … The other thing you have to understand, too, is if it’s close and you don’t play (Billups), then the question is, ‘Why didn’t you play him?’ Because he’s Mr. Big Shot. So there’s never any easy decision."

  • Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton are big in the U.K.
  • James "Buddha" Edwards played for eight teams over 19 seasons in the NBA, but I've always thought of him as a Piston. Turns out, he feels the same way: "I'm a Piston for life." Fans of the original Bad Boys will appreciate the entire Q&A.
  • Jeff from CelticsBlog respectfully disregards my optimism for Game 6:

    Like it or not Pistons fans, your team lost. It doesn't matter how the last game finished because the score is 0-0 to start the next game. We've seen the Celtics win in the Palace already. It was an important game then too. And a game after a supposed momentum shifting win by the Pistons.

    If the Pistons think they can lean on experience to help them win, fine. I'll just point out that their experience has only gotten them a 2-3 record in Eastern Conference Finals and a 2-3 deficit in this one.

    Maybe this team has had to fight for every inch they've crawled in this post season, but they are still moving forward. All those games means a whole lot of experience of our own. It feels like we've had a whole second season playing together, and that should count for something.

    Bottom line, we only need one win to move on to the Finals. They need two. Let the Pistons and their fans be encouraged by a moral victory. I'll be encouraged by a victory.

    He's right, of course. Both sides have reason to feel optimistic, but only one will have champagne on ice waiting just in case they win. I wish I could counter by pointing out that Chauncey Billups is healthier now than he was when the Celtics won at the Palace in Game 3, but Rip Hamilton's injury kind of makes that a moot point. But (cliche warning!) that's why they play the games. This should be a good one.

Last but not least, here's surprisingly sane conversation between Stephen A. and Lindsey Hunter, swiped from PistonsNation. The good stuff is at the end -- seems Hunter and Rip aren't too happy with Rasheed being so friendly with Garnett: