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Grantland has an extensive oral history of Malice at the Palace

Jonathan Abrams of Grantland has a huge recap with comments from several of the players, media and others at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Nov. 19, 2004, when a cup of beer ruined the Indiana Pacers. There are so many great quotes I could excerpt, so just go read the whole thing, but these comments were among the ones that stood out to me:

Stephen Jackson (guard/forward, Pacers): [Toward] the end of the game, I recall somebody on the team told Ron, “You can get one now.” I heard it. I think somebody was shooting a free throw. Somebody said to Ron, “You can get one now,” meaning you can lay a foul on somebody who he had beef with in the game.

Ben Wallace (forward/center, Pistons): He told me he was going to hit me, and he did it. That was just one of those things. It happened in the heat of the battle.

Watching that game, it was pretty clear that things were going to escalate. I’m not shocked at all that Artest’s foul was premeditated.


  • Feb 29, 20123:14 pm
    by DK


    I get so sick and tired of hearing about how much better the Pacers were that year; that’s just not a fact. Their team the previous year was just as good, and we beat them in playoffs.
    Meanwhile, we added Dice, were getting a full season out of Sheed (who had been traded mid season the year before), Prince got significantly better, and Chaunce/Rip were just beginning to come into their own. By that year, Reggie was not anywhere near the same Reggie as he was even the year before. In the playoffs that year, he just could not keep up with Rip when he played them.
    Just look at the lineups:
    DET: Ben, Sheed, Dice, Elden Campbell, the corpse of Derrick Coleman, and the human victory cigar.
    Ind: Jermaine O’Neal, Austin Croshere, Jeff Foster, Scot Pollard, and the corpse of Dale Davis
    DET: Chauncey, Rip, Tay, a still-servicable Lindsey Hunter, a never serviceable Carlos Arroyo
    IND: Jamaal Tinsley, a very-old (and barely serviceable in the playoffs) Reggie Miller, Stephen Jackson, Artest, Anthony Johnson
    We had HUGE advantages in point guard (Chauncey vs. Tinsley) and power forward (Sheed vs. Foster/Croshere). I would give us a slight advantage at center in Ben over O’Neal, but you could even call that even. Then, Rip ran circles around Miller in the playoffs, so we have the advantage at shooting guard, with Indy having the advantage at SF.
    That is an even matchup, with us having a slight edge. Plus, we beat them in the playoffs the year before. Plus, that wasn’t even the best regular season team out of that run; the next year, when we won 64 games was. So, our team was just getting better. They had the same team (you could also argue that Al Harrington fit better with the team than did Jackson) as the year before.
    The whole “that was Indy’s championship to lose” argument is 100% revisionist. Yes, they won that night. It was also 7 games into the season.

    • Feb 29, 20123:48 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      I don’t think the Pacers were necessarily better, but they were certainly really good and a title threat. They added Jackson to their lineup and the Pistons lost Okur/Williamson/James from theirs.

    • Mar 1, 20127:02 pm
      by Youssif


      Thing is… without Tayshaun’s block on Reggie, Pacers probably make the Finals in 2004. In 2005, I’d say both teams were exactly even. Let’s not dwell on that, because if you give either a slight edge — it’ll be just that: slight. In sports, that means you’re in for a close game/series and that’s about it. 

      So what to dwell on? The end of the article — the bit about how the Pacers never really recovered. It gave a unique take on the Pacer’s side of things during the brawl. In all honesty, it’s just too bad that things ended with them the way they did. Both the Pistons and Pacers could have established a great rivalry through 2008 and potentially pushed each other to stay on top of their games. Hell, the Pacers could have even worn down other teams like Boston/Cleveland/Miami 2006-2008 and given the Pistons a better shot at going to the Finals those years.

      Huge what-if with the brawl here… really wish it never happened.

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