Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Iverson must find answer for Pistons' star Wallace

The Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Ben Wallace loves the clock tower "DONG" that reverberates throughout the arena, announcing another show-stopping block.

He doesn't score much, but the defensive player of the year has become a star with his ferocious play around the rim - and a mound of hair that makes him seem a whole lot bigger than his 6-foot-9 frame.

When Wallace is introduced and makes key plays at The Palace, a sound blares from speakers, mimicking London's Big Ben tower, which he has tattooed on his arm.

And then there's a hairdo so intimidating that his self-styled slogan is "Fear the Fro." Fans often show up at games with big wigs in tribute to the Pistons' star.

After Wallace slaps a shot out of the air or dunks, he raises his arms and grabs his left wrist with his right hand over his head, directing attention to his 'do.

"It's like framing a picture of my 'fro," said Wallace, who hasn't cut his hair in about four years. "And it just tells people we're playing 'Fear the Fro, because that's where I get my power.' "

Now Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers will have to deal with Wallace's act in their Eastern Conference semifinal series that begins today in Detroit.

Iverson scored just five points, snapping a string of 186 games of scoring in double figures, the last time he played in Detroit. Wallace blocked four of Iverson's shots.

The top-seeded Pistons became just the seventh team in NBA history to advance after trailing a series 3-1. They bumped and pushed Orlando's Tracy McGrady when he didn't have the ball, and surrounded him when he did.

The Magic star led the league in scoring during the regular season. Iverson is the NBA's leading scorer during the playoffs, entering Monday's games with a 34.8 average.

"Iverson is their McGrady," Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "In some ways he's more difficult to guard because his speed is second to none."

Still, no other NBA player has a game like Wallace's. He led the league during the first round of the playoffs with 17.9 rebounds and 3.14 steals a game and 125 total rebounds. Wallace is averaging 11.1 points, up from his regular-season average of 6.9.

"You don't see a star quite like Ben anywhere in the NBA," Pistons teammate Jon Barry said. "He's the best player on the team and he averaged six points. He fits Detroit."

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Monday's Results
Today's Games

Eustachy leaves Cyclones after reaching settlement
Proposed rule changes get lukewarm reception

Shaq fouls out as Spurs get the jump
Today's conference semifinal openers
Iverson must find answer for Pistons' star Wallace

Red Wings say so long to Robitaille
Senators eliminate Flyers 5-1

Tuesday's sports on TV, radio