Mighty Joe not done
Dumars delays his retirement again as Pistons rout Hawks
Posted: Saturday May 15, 1999 01:14 AM
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Joe Dumars made sure he has one more game to play.
"Joe didn't look like he wanted out," Atlanta guard Steve Smith said. "He knocked down a lot of big shots. He kind of holds them together."
All four games have been routs for the home team. Atlanta won the first two games by 20 points each and Detroit won Game 3 by 15 points.
"I think we kind of took the momentum from them," Dumars said. "But, you never know. When you have the Nos. 4-5 teams playing, like we have here, The series should be about even. And, so far, it is.
"But, when you get to a Game 5, anything can happen."
The fifth and deciding game will be played Sunday in Atlanta, where the Hawks won the first two games. But this time they will play at Georgia Tech because the Georgia Dome was booked for a concert.
"For two years, we've been the only team in the NBA that has had to play in two arenas, and I don't like either one of them," Hawks coach Lenny Wilkens said. "But it is in Atlanta, and it will be our fans."
The Pistons will try to become only the sixth team in NBA history to come back from an 0-2 deficit in a five-game series.
Grant Hill scored 23 points and Bison Dele 17 for the Pistons. Steve Smith, who picked up his fourth foul with 5:51 left in the third quarter, had 21 points for Atlanta.
Dumars, who turns 36 on May 24, turned in a vintage performance. Finding the range early with his high, arching jump shot, he hit four 3-point baskets -- three in the third quarter when the Pistons made it clear they were determined to play another day.
"It didn't look like he wanted to go," Detroit guard Lindsey Hunter said. "Not this early. We don't want him to go, either.
"We're hoping maybe we can take him along for 15 or 16 more games."
The Pistons' playoff record for 3s is six by Bill Laimbeer in the 1990 NBA Finals.
With recently released U.S. POW Christopher Stone looking on, the Pistons opened the second quarter with a 12-2 burst. A 3-point basket by Dumars, followed by Dele's free throw, gave Detroit a 39-21 lead with 8:11 left in the quarter.
The Hawks narrowed the gap to 43-33 on a jumper by Smith with 3:03 left in the quarter, but two baskets by Dele helped Detroit take a 54-39 halftime lead.
More importantly, perhaps, was the fact that Dikembe Mutombo, the Hawks' 7-foot-2 center who dominated Detroit in the first two games, picked up his third foul with 11.9 seconds left in the half. Mutombo finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
The Pistons stretched the lead to 78-54 on consecutive 3s by Dumars with 3:12 left in the third quarter. Detroit took an 80-60 lead into the fourth quarter.
"Joe's been a great player," Wilkens said. "Detroit has been very fortunate to have had him. He's class, on and off the court."
There were four minutes gone before Ed Gray scored Atlanta's first basket of the fourth quarter.
Dumars has been with the Pistons longer than any other player. He is retiring as Detroit's leader with 1,018 regular-season games played in 14 seasons. He topped 16,000 career points this season, the 61st NBA player to reach the mark.
Notes: The NBA record for fewest points in a four-game series was 323 by the Cleveland Cavaliers last year against Indianapolis. The Pistons went into Game 4 against the Hawks 105 shy of that mark. ... The Hawks have never lost a series after going up 2-0, winning on six previous occasions with such a lead. Atlanta's last 2-0 lead was the first round of the 1988 playoffs against Milwaukee. The Hawks won that series 3-2. ... Only 14,812 fans turned out for Game 3. Friday night's crowd didn't look any larger. The Palace holds 21,454 for basketball. ... During a timeout, with 9:15 left in the second period, a Dumars highlight film was shown on the scoreboard screen, to the music of "The Way You Do the Things You Do" by the Temptations.
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