CLEVELAND (AP) -Rasheed Wallace ripped off his headband and threw it toward the Pistons bench in disgust.
It only made matters worse.
Wallace's technical foul helped add a point to Cleveland's pivotal 9-0 comeback run in the fourth quarter, and the Cavaliers beat Detroit 91-87 Tuesday night to tie the Eastern Conference finals 2-2.
``This ain't nothing new for us,'' Pistons guard Richard Hamilton said. ``This is the same old story.''
The loss guarantees a trip back to Cleveland on Saturday for Game 6, a place the Pistons have struggled this series.
The frustration boiled over midway through the fourth quarter after Cleveland's Sasha Pavlovic got a long rebound and broke away for a layup. Unprovoked, Wallace walked toward the bench for a timeout and sidearmed his red headband, drawing a technical.
Detroit coach Flip Saunders argued with the officials to no avail. He said it was a bad call because Wallace was only expressing frustration with Hamilton, who didn't get the ball after Wallace tipped it back to him.
``That's a stupid rule, man,'' Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said. ``Taking his headband off. You can't take your headband and throw it to the equipment guy on the bench?''
Wallace picked up the headband, but spent the rest of the quarter playing without it. He finished with just nine points and shot 4-of-10.
Wallace didn't talk to the media after the game, slamming shut the door to the trainer's room when reporters entered the locker room.
A period earlier, Detroit seemed ready to regain the momentum in the series. The Pistons outscored the Cavaliers 24-15 in the third quarter, winning the period as they have in each of the four games this series. They held LeBron James scoreless in the quarter and Hamilton came alive with 11 points.
But for the second straight game, Detroit couldn't stop James in fourth quarter, as he scored 13 of his 25 points in the period.
The Pistons failed to score a field goal for about 5 1/2 minutes as the Cavaliers reclaimed the lead.
The loss came despite big games from both Billups, who led Detroit with 23 points and nine rebounds, and Hamilton, who had 19 points. The pair combined for just 20 points in Game 3.
Billups again had more turnovers (5) than assists (2).
He acknowledged that the Pistons' last solid game was against Chicago in the semifinals.
``We haven't played our A-game yet and hopefully it's coming soon,'' he said.
Detroit missed an opportunity to lead an Eastern Conference finals series 3-1 for the first time in 10 appearances. Like last season in the semifinals, the Pistons head back to Detroit for Game 5 with the series tied.
Last year, Cleveland won that game and forced the Pistons to come back from a 3-2 deficit, which they did before losing to Miami in the East final.
Billups said he was well aware of what happened last season with Cleveland.
``Our confidence is really never shaken,'' Billups said. ``That's the crazy thing about our group. No matter how we win or lose, we still feel confident we can get things done.''
Sports Insights' Advanced Betting Tools - NFL Free 14-Day Trial

NBA Team Pages

Sports Insights' Advanced Betting Tools - NFL Free 14-Day Trial

Recent NBA Discussions