Their Nov. 19 game was disrupted by a historic brawl that resulted in unprecedented suspensions and several arrests. Friday, their game was delayed 90 minutes by a bomb threat -- four of them, in fact.
James Manning, a lieutenant with the Auburn Hills police, said Saturday four calls were made to the arena switchboard claiming a bomb had been placed inside the arena.
The first one was made at 7:19 p.m. -- about 50 minutes before the scheduled tipoff -- and claimed a bomb had been placed in the Pacers' locker room. The second threat was made after the first one became public, and two more were phoned in near the end of the game, about midnight.
Manning said it did not appear the calls were made by the same person, and that an investigation was ongoing.
Pacers guard Reggie Miller said the players were divided on whether to play the game, but they were given no option. Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh, who was at his home in Indianapolis, talked by telephone with Pacers coach Rick Carlisle and NBA executive Stu Jackson throughout the evening. Once Jackson assured Walsh the arena was safe, the order went back to Carlisle.
The game atmosphere was improved, too, at least until the Pacers' win seemed assured. The Pistons put an additional police officer behind the Pacers' bench, and the Pacers had four of their security personnel there -- three more than for most road games.
One Pistons season ticket holder, notorious for hurling rude and relentless insults at the visiting team, made only one half-hearted effort midway through the final quarter.
"Hey, Carlisle, tell O'Neal to wear a suit!" he shouted as Carlisle walked in front of the scorer's table. "Where's O'Neal's suit?"
That got the immediate attention of a nearby usher, who told him to be quiet and threatened him with ejection.
Moments later, however, a fight broke out about 30 rows behind the Pacers' bench, grabbing the attention of fans and players alike. Security personnel and police rushed to the scene, and one man was carried out by his wrists and ankles.
"Welcome to Detroit!" a fan in the front row shouted.
Detroit fans have had a reputation for bad behavior since they rioted after the Tigers won the World Series in 1984. The November brawl and Friday's bomb threat have only enhanced that.
"It's unfortunate, because nothing's ever happened to the Pistons or the Palace," Miller said. "It's almost like it's always our fault. The league knows it, and the league ought to be ashamed of themselves for security to be as lax as it is around here.
"We're always going to get the brunt of it, especially this year. (NBA commissioner) David Stern has to look in the mirror every morning when he wakes up (and face) the way he penalized us and the way he penalized the Pistons."
Basically, I cut out and bolded what I thought was important. It seems kind of odd to me that we weren't given an option to quit the game without forfeiting since there was a bomb threat. What would they think if it was actually true and mid-way through the game half the palace was blown up? Another bit in there basically generalizes all Detroit fans, which a lot of articles still do. It's good to see Reggie speaking out, though. This season he's seeming more like a veteran than he ever has. Ever since he announced his retirement, I'm not even sure if I've seen him smile or show positive emotion.