Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Cavaliers have realized the inevitable result. This series is over

"We are all witnessin’ somethin’. We’re witnessin’ an asskickin’."

We all heard Charles Barkley's latest nugget of wisdom last night. I haven't heard truer words spoken since...well, since Charles' laughed about the total and absolute lack of defense in the Cavs - Wiz series. Hell, Barkley is doling out his pearls of hoop wisdom on a nightly basis. And many of those pearls and nuggets are confirming the fact, something we in the D already knew, that the NBA Eastern Confrence Playoffs have become the Pistons Invitational.

You know why the Pistons lost that big lead last night? They became bored. It wasn't that the Cavs suddenly got better, but the Pistons started to coast. Did anyone seriously think that the Pistons would lose? Even when the Cavs cut the lead to 5? Nah, me neither. Pure and simple, the Pistons know they are better than the Cavs, and so do the Cavs. So does the rest of the world at this point, and Charles Barkley has been pounding that fact home nightly.

I can tell you exactly when this series, for all intent and purposes, ended. When Cavs head coach Mike Brown lowered his team to the point of implimenting the contemptible "Hack-a-Ben" strategy in the 1st half of game 2. Laughable. Brown was desperate and grasping at straws. Talk about showing an utter lack of confidence in your team's ability to stop the Pistons. The lack of faith from your head coach must have been damn inspiring to LeBron and his minions. All Brown did was anoint juggernaut status upon Detroit.

How could this still become a competitve series? All the following has to happen. If Mike Brown raises his basketball IQ by 10 points every game. If Z gets 10 years younger. If Flip Murray gets 10 times better. If Drew Gooden becomes 10 times more consistent. If Larry Hughes scores 10 points more than what he's currently averaging against the Pistons. If LeBron James plays defense for more than 10 seconds at a time. In other words, don't expect this to become a competitive series.

Am I saying that Celveland won't win a game? It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Cavs won a game. Even 2. When Detroit falls too much in love with the jumper, as they did in the 4th quarter last night or game 3 against the Bucks, they show one of the few chinks in their armor. That, and the occasional lack of focus due to their sometimes playing like the game is already over when they walk on to the court. But the Pistons are smart enough to realize their folly, and get back to basics in the next game.

I'm getting the same feeling about this Piston team that I had about the '84 Tigers, the '89 Pistons, and the '97 Red Wings. That nothing is going to stop them. That it's their championship to lose.

Any team other than the Pistons winning the NBA title would have to be considered a massive upset.

One more thing... I can't express enough the man-crush I currently have on TNT's "Inside the NBA." ESPN, or any other network that broadcasts sports, could learn a thing or 20 on how to have an entertaining and informative studio show from watching the chemistry between Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson.

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