Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I had Robert Horry flashbacks

First off, it's doesn't get much uglier than 79-76.

I'm sure we'll hear nothing but bitching and moaning from the MSM and bloggers over how they would much rather being watching Phoenix or Golden State score 120 points each, than a defensive walk-the-ball-up, eastern conference slugfest.

I couldn't care less about the media bitching.

The only thing that counts is Detroit taking a 1-0 lead over the Cavaliers LeBron's in the ECF. A win is a win is a win for the Pistons.

Considering LeBron James' bad game (even if he had a near triple double, James was held in check), it would have been a shame to lose a game where James is shut down so effectively. Any game where Anderson Varejao Sideshow Bob arguably has a bigger impact than King James, that's a game the Pistons have to win.

The Pistons dodged a bullet. A huge bullet. A snub nosed, hollow point, .357 caliber bullet. The LeBron's were one missed Donyell Marshall trey from stealing home court in game 1 of the ECF.

The question Cleveland fans have to be asking is why didn't King James take the final shot? He was in the lane. If he doesn't make it, he''s probably fouled on the play. Yet he dishes to someone who's not half the player he is. Admittedly, Marshall was wide open, but also 23 feet away from the hoop, compared to LeBron's 5.

I have to admit that when I saw Rasheed Wallace leaving Marshall, hustling down into the paint to help on a driving James, and then looking back to see Marshall standing all by himself in the corner, I had Robert Horry flashbacks. Bad Robert Horry flashbacks.

For 'Sheed's, and the Pistons' sake, unlike Horry's shot, the 3 ball caught all iron. You don't get a more wide open shot than Marshall's opportunity. Then again, who would you prefer with the ball when the game in the line? James? Or Marhsall? I'll take Donyell Marshall 100 times out of 100. I want the ball out of James' hands.

Props go out to Rip Hamilton, who was the Pistons' only consistent offensive option. Rip's big game makes the Cleveland Plain Dealer's position matchup series preview even more laughable. The LeBron's beat writer called the shooting guard matchup...even?

Let's look at the SG stat lines...

Rip Hamilton: FG- 11-21, 3pt- 2-3, Rb- 3, Ast- 7, Stl- 2, Pts- 24

Sasha Pavlovic: FG- 4-14, 3pt- 1-3, Rb- 0, Ast- 0, Stl- 0, Pts- 9

That sure is one even matchup. I'd like to try the drugs the Cleveland beat writers are taking, it must be fun in their world...

Dale Davis saw the floor, but not in garbage time. He entered in the 1st half, with Chris Webber in foul trouble, and was damn effective in his limited playing time, coming up with a couple of big hoops in the paint.

Chris Webber actually made an in game appearance, after being all but invisible for the last 3 games of the Chicago series. C-Webb was nowhere to be seen in the 1st half, had a great 3rd quarter, and then just as suddenly disappeared back into witness protection.

'Sheed was 'Sheed. He was everywhere on defense in the 4th quarter, and hit some big time shots down the stretch. Though I'm still recovering from a near heart attack caused by his leaving Marshall all by his lonesome...

Chauncey Billups, to put it bluntly, had an awful game. You aren't going to win many games when your point guard has more turnovers than assists. Billups' performance, or lack thereof, is another reason I feel the Pistons' win tonight was huge. They won with their best player having his worst game of the playoffs.

Tayshaun Prince wasn't much better, going 1-11 from the floor. But Prince was effective in other ways, with 6 boards, a team leading 9 assists, and his normal rock solid defense on that guy Cleveland is all a witness for, or whatever is this post seasons' marketing gimmick...

I wouldn't expect LeBron James to continue to put up Larry Hughes-like numbers, so I doubt the Pistons could get away with this sort of game thievery again.

It can't be said enough, the Detroit Pistons dodged a bullet, stole a game, used up one of their 9 lives. Any metaphor you can think of for winning a game they easily could have lost fits this awful performance.

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