AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Indiana coach Rick Carlisle used all four of his second-half timeouts in the third quarter, trying to slow down the Pistons.
It didn't work.
Ben Wallace had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks to lead Detroit to an 86-67 victory over the Pacers last night, and a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Pistons held Indiana without a field goal for a stretch of 10:39 -- including the first 6:26 of the second half -- turning a tie game into a 22-point advantage. The defending NBA champions turned the game into a rout with a 30-4 run over the second and third quarters.
''I think it's probably one of our best performances," Wallace said. ''When we play like that, we're a tough team to beat."
The outcome was a foregone conclusion by the fourth quarter, but the final few minutes featured an unusual occurence.
League rules require that each team calls a timeout in the fourth quarter, but because Carlisle didn't have any left, the Pacers were charged with a technical foul with 2:17 left.
''I've never seen that. It blew me away," said Pistons coach Larry Brown, whose NBA coaching career started in 1976. ''I asked [official] Joe Crawford if he's ever seen it, and he said he hadn't in his 28 years."
''It wasn't that big of a deal," Carlisle said of the quick second-half timeouts. ''But at the time, I felt like if we were going to have a chance to stay in it, we needed to stop the game."
Game 6 is tomorrow night in Indianapolis. Of the previous 123 series tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 advanced 103 times (84 percent) in best-of-seven series.
''This is going to be a true test of our will," Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal said. ''If we can't win a game on our home court, we better be ready for next season."
Indiana's Reggie Miller was held to 8 points -- his third single-digit scoring game of the series