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May 24, 2005

Rasheed Wallace

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. Rasheed, how long did you allow yourself to think about last night's game?

RASHEED WALLACE: Not too long. I wasn't too worried about that. I was more worried about trying to withstand the Heat.

Q. In terms of improvement of your game, obviously they're saying that they're better, but do you sense that you guys are playing better, too?

RASHEED WALLACE: Definitely. We step up to challenges. That's what we've been doing for the last two years.

Q. Do you agree that with Shaq's injury Detroit's big men are able to clog the lane and prevent the Heat from driving? Do you agree with that?

RASHEED WALLACE: Definitely. Right now the Big Fella is not 100 percent, so that kind of sort of works to our advantage for the simple fact that what you just said, that Dyess gets as far as sitting in the middle -- not necessarily in the middle, but you know what I mean. It does work to our advantage.

Q. Can you talk about Ben playing Shaq one-up like he does, and I guess the physical pounding he takes but sticks with him anyway?

RASHEED WALLACE: You sacrifice, you know, busted lips, bruised bodies, bruised ribs. Those are sacrifices. It's all worth the wait, all worth the enjoyment once we get to that stage.

Q. He bounces off him sometimes, though. Do you ever feel sorry for Ben in that situation?

RASHEED WALLACE: Not really because I had to guard him, too (laughing), but he's a big guy. I'm about 250, 255; Ben is about 245, 250. We're going to bounce off of him. The guy is about, minimum, 320, 325.

Q. That's about as tough as it gets, isn't it?

RASHEED WALLACE: No doubt, no doubt.

Q. How about the pressure are they facing to win the next game and avoid 2-0?

RASHEED WALLACE: I mean, that's more of a question for them or someone from their locker room to answer.

Q. How do you guys keep up the sense of urgency up 1-0?

RASHEED WALLACE: Just play. We're still going to play like it's 0-0. We can't sit back and say, "okay, we've got one, now we can take it easy or lay back." No, they're too good; they didn't get here by luck or by chance.

Q. You want to be greedy now, right, you want to get the second one and go home?

RASHEED WALLACE: Definitely. We came down here to get two, so we're definitely going to try to get that second one.

Q. Talk about what it is that you bring to the Pistons' offense.

RASHEED WALLACE: Just team defense. To me I think that's the biggest thing when you're dealing with the playoffs is just that team defense, just like yesterday Tayshaun knew I had his back when he was guarding D. Wade and Ben knew I had his back when he was guarding Shaq and vice versa in those situations. So it's more of a team defensive effort.

Q. What about the things that you do offensively? People don't really talk about those things.

RASHEED WALLACE: And I like to keep it like that, sweep it under the rug. I'm not the forefront person. I'm more of behind the scenes. I don't need the accolades and acknowledgment as far as, "oh, he's a great offensive player or a great defensive player." It don't matter to me. What happens on offense or defense, as long as we get the win, that's my bottom line.

Q. So you just fill in the gaps and do what's needed?

RASHEED WALLACE: Pretty much. You know, if I'm having a terrible night shooting, then I know I'll look for more teammates. Running pick-and-rolls or trying to do the little things just to get my teammates off if I'm having a bad night shooting.

End of FastScripts...

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