“Y’all put it in the front page, back page, middle page, wherever. We will win Game 2.”
After a clutch Reggie Miller strike handed the Pistons a deflating loss in Game 1 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, Rasheed Wallace knew it was time to make a statement, both figuratively and literally. His “Guaransheed”, as it became known, served as a media flashpoint leading up to the second game of their series against the Indiana Pacers.
Game 2 didn’t exactly open as planned for the Pistons. A flat start yielded just 12 first-quarter points. Wallace, the man with the guarantee, connected on just 1-10 attempts from the floor in the first half. Subsequently, to the surprise of few, the Pistons trailed 43-37 at intermission.
Then things got serious.
Tayshaun Prince makes history
The Pistons limited the Pacers to 11 points in the third and by the time there were two minutes left in the fourth, Detroit had built a 69-63 advantage; it appeared as though Rasheed’s proclamation would hold true. Not so fast. Miller utilized his veteran savvy to draw fouls on back-to-back plays, resulting in four unanswered points that’d cut the lead to two, and life was quickly injected back into a filled-to-the-brim Conseco Fieldhouse.
Moments later, following a Jermaine O’Neal block on Rasheed Wallace’s dunk attempt, Pistons guard Chauncey Billups was stripped as he attempted to slide into the lane with the shot clock whittling toward zero. Indiana’s Jamaal Tinsley scooped up the loose ball and fed it ahead to Miller, who had nothing but wide-open real estate between himself and the rim.
Yet, just when it seemed all hope was lost, Tayshaun Prince happened.
To those who followed the Pistons throughout the 2004 campaign, and perhaps dating back to 2003, it wasn’t exactly a surprise. In just a year and a half of work, Prince had carved out a niche as a guy who was liable to chase someone down and block their shot in the open floor, if they weren’t careful. But this was the Eastern Conference Finals, and that was Reggie Miller, and the space between Miller and the closest defender was just a bit too far, even for Prince. Right?
OTD: Tayshaun Prince came out of NOWHERE to block Reggie Miller in Game 2 of the ECF (2004)
— Barstool Detroit (@BSMotorCity) May 24, 2022
Wrong. In the blink of an eye, Prince chased, elevated, extended, deflected Miller’s layup attempt, then involuntarily launched himself deep into the Indiana crowd.
There is no question about it that this block will be shown each and every year on this day, as it should be.
Now, let’s just hope Cade Cunningham and his pals can soon bring us some more playoff wins!