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20080923/INDDET
Fever-Shock Preview
By MATT BECKER, STATS Writer

The Detroit Shock have a history of frustrating the Indiana Fever, but those roles were reversed in their last matchup.

The top-seeded Shock try to rebound from an overtime home loss and eliminate the Fever from the postseason for the third straight year when the teams meet in Game 3 of their first-round series Tuesday.

Detroit appeared to be control of the series following Friday's 81-72 victory at Indiana, with the final two games to be played at The Palace. The Shock went 10-0 at home against Eastern Conference opponents this season.

The Fever, however, avoided the sweep with an 89-82 overtime win Sunday to snap a six-game losing streak to the Shock.

Making matters worse for Detroit, Plenette Pierson, who tied for the team lead with 16 points in Game 2, is unlikely to play Tuesday after suffering a shoulder injury in an incident with the Fever's Ebony Hoffman.

With just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Shock trailing 64-63, Pierson and Hoffman got their arms tangled while battling for position on a rebound. Pierson ended up crumpled on the floor in pain and left the game.

Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer immediately asked for Hoffman to be ejected, but the officials decided to give both players technical fouls.

"To just allow someone to injure one of our players, maybe for the rest of the year, that's wrong,'' Laimbeer said. "If there isn't a suspension, we'll know how we stand with this league.''

Pierson said through a Shock public-relations representative that Hoffman had deliberately twisted her arm, but Hoffman saw the play differently.

"We got tangled up, and unfortunately she had to leave the game,'' she said. "There was nothing intentional. I'm sure the league will review it and see that we were both going for the ball.''

While the Shock are expected to be without Pierson on Tuesday, Indiana hopes to have star forward Tamika Catchings healthy for the full game.

Catchings, who led the Fever with 27 points and added 10 rebounds Sunday, got hurt the last two years in the games in which Detroit eliminated Indiana. In the first round in 2006, a concussion knocked her out of the Shock's Game 2 victory. Last year in the Eastern Conference finals against the Shock, she tore her Achilles tendon in Game 3, ending her season.

"We went to Game 3 with them in the conference finals last year, and it was a great game until Catchings got hurt,'' Indiana coach Linn Dunn said. "So we know we can compete in this situation on this floor. We just need to play another great game on Tuesday.''

Laimbeer isn't concerned about how well the Fever play, as he knows his team has a lot of room for improvement.

After shooting 52.8 percent from the field in Game 1, the Shock shot 38.4 percent and went 6-of-20 from 3-point range in Game 2. Sunday's third quarter was especially ugly, as Detroit scored eight points, shot 2-of-9 and turned the ball over eight times.

"I expect our team to come out and play much better than we did (Sunday)," Laimbeer told the team's official Web site. "I expect our bigs to be involved in the game. I expect Kara (Braxton) to come and play well. I expect our bench to play better than they did today. I expect a lot of things out of our ball club. I expect us to win the basketball game, no doubt about it."

"(Indiana) may play great again, that's OK. We'll play better."

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