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Tied East final raises stakes

By wire services
Published May 30, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - The pressure is mounting with the East final series between Indiana and Detroit tied at two games each.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle insists the heat is on Detroit because the Pistons made two moves - firing Carlisle for new coach Larry Brown and trading for Rasheed Wallace - in an effort to get to the NBA Finals.

"Right now, I don't feel like the pressure is on us at all," Carlisle said after practice on Saturday. "Their season rides on them making it to the next step. That's not a secret out there."

Brown, meanwhile, is sure the Pacers have everything to lose after winning an NBA-best 61 games during the regular season.

"We're playing the team with the best record in the league, and we're supposed to win?" Brown said. "We would have homecourt if that was the case."

Two Indiana starters are hobbled by injuries.

All-Star Jermaine O'Neal and point guard Jamaal Tinsley were injured in a Game 4 victory but expect to play tonight in Game 5 in Indianapolis.

DRAFT: The Mavericks are among several teams that have made preliminary contact with the Orlando Magic about the No. 1 pick in next month's draft. Orlando, winner of the lottery Wednesday, appears to be open to trade offers. Connecticut center Emeka Okafor and high school standout Dwight Howard have been mentioned frequently as possible No. 1 picks in the June 24 draft. The Mavs have a number of players they could offer in a trade, most notably forward Antoine Walker.

WNBA: Nikki Teasley scored 12 of her 15 after halftime to lead Los Angeles to a 63-60 comeback win over Detroit. Detroit beat two-time defending champion L.A. in September for the league title, a year after almost moving or folding.

[Last modified May 29, 2004, 23:54:21]

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