Robert Horry (15 points, five rebounds) and Brent Barry (five points, four rebounds) combined to give the Spurs a huge lift early. Barry took it to the rim, drawing Billups' second foul, and buried his only 3-point attempt. Horry was all over the floor as always, and hit a big corner trey to put Spurs up five midway through the fourth.
Gregg Popovich, Coach
From hooking Parker two minutes into the game to settle him down to putting Bowen on Billups in time for the big blocked shot, he made all the right moves. Matched his mentor Larry Brown in the Xs and Os throughout the series.
Fear the 'fro. Heart and hustle all night. Set the tone by scoring six of Detroit's first 12 points and playing fierce D, but was scoreless (on three FGAs) in the second half.
47 min., 14 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists
Once more the two-man unit of Antonio McDyess (10 points, seven boards) and Lindsey Hunter (four points, two assists) did its part. McDyess helped keep team in game when 'Sheed got in foul trouble, and Hunter played solid D on Parker and Ginobili. But Hunter's poor shooting (2-of-8) was a minus.
Larry Brown, Coach
Navigated team through foul trouble, drew up some nice plays off timeouts and even dusted off Elden Campbell. But saved his best defensive strategies for postgame questions about his future.
Play Of The Night
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
With the Pistons trailing 73-68 with one minute play, Chauncey Billups took a pass from Richard Hamilton and immediately tried to squeeze off a long jumper from the left wing. But Spurs forward Bruce Bowen, who had switched onto Billups, blocked the shot straight on and grabbed the loose ball. As the stunned Pistons tried to regroup on defense, Manu Ginobili found a seam and weaved his way through several defenders for a killer layup that gave the Spurs a 75-68 lead with 35.9 seconds left as the SBC Center crowd roared in delight. The Pistons would never get closer than four points the rest of the way.
Quote Of The Night
"We just stuck with it. We just kept on pushing. We just kept on fighting."
-- Finals MVP Tim Duncan, on overcoming a determined Pistons team
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images
They cheered. They banged their Thunderstix. They chanted "Go Spurs Go!" during timeouts. The SBC Center crowd was definitely rocking for Game 7, raising the volume to jet engine levels. After a passive performance in Game 6 (at least compared to Detroit's Palace madhouse), San Antonio fans were in full throat in Game 7. The crowd support seemed to energize the Spurs, who got to several loose balls and kept the Pistons to just eight offensive rebounds after getting torched in that area in previous games. Even 7-footer Tim Duncan hit the floor diving for a loose ball early in the third quarter. The home crowd might also have helped a little with the refs, who kept a close eye on the Pistons' big men and their physical play. But that's why teams play all season, for the right to earn homecourt advantage. "We needed it. We needed it," said Manu Ginobili, who waved his arms as he walked off the court during several timeouts. "We needed that energy that the crowd gave us."
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
The Spurs will hold a victory parade on Saturday. Then they can get on with the business of trying to cement their place as the next NBA dynasty. With Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and most of the other key pieces signed through next season, they should again be among the top teams in the league. For the Pistons, the future is murkier but no less bright. Detroit's starting lineup and key reserve Antonio McDyess are all expected back. But coach Larry Brown said he will decide in the next few days whether his health issues will prevent him from returning to the bench next season. If not, he might end up as president in Cleveland or somewhere else. "I hope I'll be back coaching," Brown said. "That's my plan."