Tuesday, May 16, 2006

When did the Cavs become the favorites? Did I miss the memo?

Oh good God damn Lord. Calm down everyone. After last night's loss, you'd think the Pistons had already lost the series if you listened to sports talk radio, read the MSM, or watched the Worldwide Leader at any time today. Again, all I can say is good god damn Lord. It appears Pistons fans and the Pistons themselves are the only ones who aren't having conniption fits today. Who'd a thunk it, a fanbase staying composed while the media goes off half cocked.

For example, Bob Wojnowski, normally an island of relative calm in the local nedia, sounds the alarm.

The Pistons also have to wonder if the Cavs are growing up a bit too quickly, before Detroit's disbelieving eyes. That sound you hear? Cleveland stretching and testing its youthful limits, and making the Pistons sweat.

The Little Fella, somehow finding time to write about sports rather than My Space, jumps in with more than a hint of dread.

Ugh. This was the last thing the Pistons needed. Of course, they still can win this series. No one doubts that. But did they really need to reduce it to a best-of-three series against a team playing with house money? Did they really need to risk a possible seventh game and -- even winning that -- having to go right to work against a team as tough as, say, Miami?

Detroit's true "Nattering Nabob of Negativity," Drew Sharp, throws in his 2 cents, bemoaning the Pistons lack of killer instinct.

It's this team's frustrating passive nature when the opponent's jugular is in sight that still might not cost them a title, but will deny them the opportunity at the NBA playoff immortality that supposedly was a motivating force.

The pressure is solely on the Pistons now. This series should have been a cakewalk, but it's Rasheed Wallace wearing the egg on his face this time -- guaran-Sheed.

The pressure is on Flip Saunders now. He has an overmatched foe now imbued with confidence, feeling as though they have nothing to lose the remainder of this series. And they're right.

Keith Langlois thinks the Pistons may just win the battle but lose the war.

They might still win this battle - they should still win this battle, given Cleveland's shaky road history - but they're putting themselves in position to lose the war. This is the precise point where they got themselves in trouble a year ago.

Using a stunning lack of perspective and going slightly over the top, Chris Mannix of SI claims that the Pistons lose their home court advantage is Rasheed Wallace can't play Wednesday. Has he been watching the same series as the rest of us?

But there are warning flags popping up all around the Motor City. Rasheed Wallace -- his Guaransheed coming up short -- was severely hobbled by the ankle injury and will probably be limited when the series resumes on Wednesday (unless Pistons recovery guru Arnie Kander can work some of his magic). Wallace's potential absence effectively nullifies any home court advantage the Pistons might have. Should Wallace be limited or unable to go, the calcified Dale Davis would likely be pressed into action.

The Worldwide Leader dot com's Daily Quickie rips the Pistons and adds this bon mot...

There's a big difference between 3-1 and 2-2.

Really? Brilliant deduction. The WWLiS must have brought in Stephen Hawking to figure out that math.

Amazingly enough, Wobb Parker comes off as a voice of reason? He says it wasn't anything special the Cavs did, the Pistons just didn't hit their open looks.

For sure, it wasn't any special defensive formula by Cavaliers coach Mike Brown. The Pistons just didn't make shots. Hamilton missed a point-blank layup with 43 seconds to go.

You simply have to hold your nose and move on. The Pistons have no choice.

You know it's getting weird when a huge Parker basher like myself agrees. Next thing you know, dogs and cats will be living together.

It looks to me that the local bloggers have a better perspective as to what happening in this series.

Eno, over at Out of Bounds, showing his age and wisdom, compares this series to Pistons - Celtics circa 1985. He finds all kinds of parallels and see a similar ending.

I remember in 1985, when the Pistons went up against the vaunted Celtics in a second rounder, and after dropping the first two in Boston, the Pistons returned home and, playing in Joe Louis Arena, won both games in Detroit to square the series. In one of those home games, Terry Tyler was unconscious in the fourth quarter. In the other, Vinnie Johnson burned the Celts in the fourth. So much so, that Danny Ainge coined the "Microwave" nickname.

"If that guy in Chicago [William Perry] is the Refrigerator, then Vinnie Johnson is The Microwave," Ainge told the press afterward.

The Celtics dumped the Pistons out in six games -- the underdog being a team who was cutting its playoff teeth.

The sweaty man, Ian, still thinks the Cavs will not win this series, but reads the Pistons the riot act (specifically 'Sheed) in the process.

'Sheed. Enough of this $#!+, okay? Not when you shoot 3-for-13. Not when you were outscored by Sideshow Bob. Sprained ankle or not, if you're going to show that much disdain for the opponent, you have to go out there and wipe 'em off the bottom of your shoe. If you're going to thump your chest like that, don't put it on your teammates to carry it off for you.

You believe there's no way Cleveland will win this series. Fine. I feel that way, too. So do all Detroit fans. But there's no reason to let the Cavs get this close. You can't let them tie the series at 2-2 and extend it to six or seven games.

Matt at Detroit Bad Boys, who's been all over this series like a wet burlap sack, ponders the total disappearance of McDyess, the crunch time appearance of Evans, and why Flip Saunders is letting Mike Brown dictate the matchups. Those are things we've all been questioning.

Part of the reason McDyess hasn't been scoring lately is because, well, he hasn't been shooting. In the first six games of the playoffs, Dyess averaged 7.5 field goal attempts per game. In the last three games, he has a total of 10: two in Game 2, six in Game 3 and two in Game 4. The starting five likes to refer to McDyess as the team's "sixth starter," but when a starter goes into a rut, the team usually keeps feeding him the ball so he can shoot his way out of it. Here's to hoping that someone on the team, be it a coach or a fellow player, pulls McDyess aside and insist he become more assertive in Game 5.

On a sidenote, I'm not entirely comfortable with that last Flip Saunders quote. Sure, it's mostly just coachspeak, but why does a team always have to match up with what the other team is doing? The Cavaliers have only one player that's good enough to consistently give the Pistons problems, and that's LeBron James. If the Cavs want to go small, the Pistons should be going big, especially in the final seconds when they're desperate for a rebound or a tip-in. I like Maurice Evans as much as the next guy, but can you remember a single instance in the regular season where he was on the court during crunch time of a big game? Yeah, neither can I.

Nat at Need4Sheed, (Congrats on all the love from the MSM, by the way) is the most confident and level headed of all.

Still no worries from this Pistons fan, although I would have liked win on Monday, I still have no doubts about this series. Take a look at any 7 game stretch of the Pistons season, they have not lost 4 out of 7 all year long.

Considering all the gnashing of teeth and hot air emitting from the media, we can thank God that the series is now on an every other day schedule. I don't think I could handle a 4 day break in the schedule and the resulting media blather like the one we had between games 3 and 4.

The last 2 games have been worst case scenario. I still think it's more an aberration than a trend. The Pistons swaggered their way into Cleveland reeking of overconfidence, and left still talking a good game, but not close to playing one. I doubt that's the case tomorrow. The Pistons will be pissed over their own play and have something to prove. They will play well, and should stomp the Cavs into a black hole.

I've had enough of all the damn drama. End the series on Friday. Please?


  1. I give you a lot of credit, I couldn't read through all the negativity. Let's see what everyone says when the Pistons actually play like The Pistons in game 5 and 6.

  2. Big Al, I just looked in my dictionary, and your post is under the definition for "thorough." Good stuff, m'man. (Love the shot at a certain part-time Freep sports columnist, too.)

    I think the Pistons are like the student who knows he only has to pass a class, so he coasts through the semester, only to get serious during midterms and finals.

    They seemed to need to create this challenge for themselves. And in the process, maybe playing another game or two keeps them sharp while the Heat are sitting at home sipping pina coladas.

  3. Thanks for the plug, Al!

    And look who's talking about age -- HA!

    (Mr. "I Remember Chris Ford's Steal, Too"!)

  4. I hope the Pistons wake up, I am not ready to pay attention to the Tigers 100% just yet.

  5. Thanks everyone!

    Eno, I just knew that line would get a comment out of you... lol

  6. C'mon Sports Dude, this Tigers team is different and demands your attention!

    Great post Big Al. Although my prediction of a sweep went bye-bye, I still see the Pistons advancing. I don't like how Miami gets to sit and rest, especially Shaq, and wait for us though.