Subplots build up hype for Game 7

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

MIAMI (AP) - Additional intrigue is hardly necessary for a Game 7.

Yet Monday night's Detroit-Miami showdown for the Eastern Conference title has a ridiculous number of subplots: Dwyane Wade's health. Larry Brown's future. The Pistons' legacy. The Heat's evolution.

Little was said from the respective camps Sunday as neither team practiced, an effort to heal and ensure that weary legs will be spry for the series finale. Detroit, the reigning NBA champions, will aim to end this matchup the same way it started - by stealing a win in Miami.

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''It's been a great series and it's a great opportunity for both teams,'' Brown said Sunday. ''And the reward is incredible.''

That reward for the winners will be a trip to San Antonio, where the Western Conference champion Spurs will host Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

Wade's status will likely remain a mystery until tip-off. His strained rib muscle suffered in Miami's Game 5 victory kept him out of Game 6. Without its leading scorer, Miami was crushed 91-66 at Detroit on Saturday. Wade tried to warm up for that game, but was ruled out by the team's medical staff and the Heat sputtered through one of their most disappointing losses of the season - one coach Stan Van Gundy wants them to quickly forget.

''I guess this is what everybody else wanted, and they get it,'' Van Gundy said. ''So, you know, that's where we are now. And like I said, every kid grows up dreaming of playing in the NBA, dreams of playing in Game 7. So, there we are.''