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Published: Friday, 6/1/2007

Pistons' veterans looking sluggish

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson has come on in the playoffs and
the media have picked up on his nickname of Boobie.
Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson has come on in the playoffs and the media have picked up on his nickname of Boobie.
MARK DUNCAN / AP Enlarge

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - As the Eastern Conference finals enter the stretch run, some of the more veteran Detroit Pistons have looked tired late in recent games.

It could be because of the shorter time in between games. The first three games had two days off in between, but Games 3, 4, 5, 6, and, if necessary, 7 all have just one day off in between.

For example, Chris Webber had 15 points and seven rebounds in Game 3, but two days later in Game 4 he scored just two points and sat the fourth quarter. Rasheed Wallace also looked a little slower on his feet at times in Game 4.

Pistons coach Flip Saunders said before Game 5 last night he thinks it's ideal to have a day between games.

"You hope that what happens is, especially if you're playing well, you like games to come like that," Saunders said. "You get into a rhythm, so you hope that kind of rhythm is better than when you play one game and then sit two, three days and play another.

"We've always played better playing every other day, so I guess we'll find out over the next week or so."

If any of the players are tired or banged up, Saunders said it's up to them to dictate how much they work out in between games.

"It's the individual players taking care of themselves and at this point knowing what they need to do to get their proper rest," Saunders said.

A FUTURE GM? Although he is just four years into his playing career, LeBron James can see himself in other NBA roles down the line. James recognized that rookie Daniel Gibson was a multitalented guard who could do more than just shoot.

"I should be a GM someday," James said after Game 4.

He even has other general managers already quoting him. When the GM of the Cleveland Indians, Mark Shapiro, was asked earlier this week about the Indians having several games decided by controversial umpiring calls, he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Like LeBron James says, 'we're a no-excuse team.'•" James said that after the Cavs' Game 2 loss in Detroit.

"For LeBron to say that and believe that, it has an effect," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "People are going to follow, not just me and the players, but apparently other GMs and other players in other leagues."

WADE VS. LEBRON: James has improved as the series has progressed, and he took over the fourth quarter in both games in Cleveland. But Chauncey Billups said James' game hasn't risen to the level of the Heat's Dwyane Wade in last year's playoffs. He didn't slight the Cavs' star too much, however.

"I don't think he's in the same place that D-Wade was in last year at all, but he's hitting tough shots, that's what he does," Billups said. "When he makes them, it's not like, 'how do you make those?' But he makes them."

'BOOBIE' GIBSON: As Daniel Gibson's prominence grows, the national media have developed an interest. Gibson, the Cavs' rookie guard, was asked about his nickname, "Boobie," which is what he prefers to be called.

"It's something that my mom gave me," Gibson said. "When I was little I liked to play with the big guys, and I used to get beat up a lot. I used to come in the house crying, and so she called me 'cry baby Boobie.'•"

CONGRATS: Brown called Spurs coach Gregg Popovich yesterday and left a message congratulating him on the Spurs' clinching victory in the Western Conference finals. Brown coached under Popovich for three years in San Antonio.



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