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Stackhouse Figures To Be Marked Man

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Miami's P.J. Brown doesn't know what to expect. Detroit's Jerry Stackhouse, on the other hand, knows exactly what's coming down.

Now that Grant Hill is out with a broken ankle, Stackhouse figures to be a marked man when the Detroit Pistons host the Heat in Game 3 of their first-round NBA playoff series.

Miami leads the best-of-five series 2-0 and would love to close it out Saturday. But the absence of Hill, the Pistons' leading scorer, means the Heat have to change the focus of their defense.

``They're going to come in with a different game plan,'' Brown said. ``We have to expect the unexpected.''

Well, not really.

Without their All-Star forward, the Pistons — who haven't won a playoff series since 1991 — will be forced to rely on the scoring prowess of Stackhouse.

Hill, who broke his left ankle during the second game, was already hobbled by a deep bone bruise in the first game in Miami. He scored 13 points in Game 1 and just nine in the second.

Yet Stackhouse, who also manages to annoy Miami with some of his comments to the media, has been played well. Stackhouse scored 23 in a 10-point loss in the first game and 26 in a two-point loss in Game 2.

There is no question in his mind that Miami will make him the main target this time around.

``It really has been that way all season,'' Stackhouse said. ``All season, I've been the focus. I don't think anything has changed. Every team's game plan has been to stop Grant and myself.''

Still, he doesn't feel any added pressure.

``Other guys like Jud (Buechler) and Terry (Mills) and Lindsay (Hunter) have to step up,'' Stackhouse said. ``I look at it as an opportunity. We know Grant isn't going to be out there, and for the most part he wasn't in the second half of Game 2 — and we did OK.''

Mills is the only other Detroit player averaging in double figures through the first two games. He scored nine in the first and 11 in the second.

Detroit, with Stackhouse and a healthy Hill providing a potent 1-2 punch, had the NBA's second-best offense this season, averaging 103.5 points. But the Heat, with Alonzo Mourning controlling the paint — blocking 11 shots — have held the Pistons to 83.5 points and 45.2 percent shooting.

``They're going to miss a great, great player,'' Miami coach Pat Riley said. ``There's no doubt — a big, big, big, big part of their team. But I've always found in my experience that somebody rises to the occasion above and beyond anything you would imagine.''

Riley has problems of his own. Miami has had to play rookie Anthony Carter at guard in place of Tim Hardaway, who missed the first two games with a sprained foot. Carter played well, and Miami got big production from Jamal Mashburn and Mourning in the victories.

Playing at home might be the best thing the Pistons have going for them. If they can find a way to win Saturday, the fourth game would be at The Palace on Wednesday night. A fifth game, if needed, would be back in Miami on May 5.

The Heat had a losing record on the road this season for the first time in the Mourning-Hardaway era. That's after playing .600 ball on the road the previous three seasons. Miami lost 15 of its final 22 road games.

``If we play similar to the way we did (in Miami), and they're at home, we'll lose,'' Brown said.

Stackhouse was counting on it.

``We've got to win three games, so I'm not even worried about these two at home,'' Stackhouse said, perhaps trying to goad the Heat one more time. ``I'm worried about the one where we have to go back
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