The Pistons are home tonight, eager to flip the switch after evening up their 1st round series with the Sixers 2-2 Sunday. The Red Wings are currently in Denver, up 2-0 on the Avalanche, hoping to put a stranglehold on their 2nd round series LATE tonight.
With both series now in full swing, it seemed like a good time to figure out... Just what have we learned so far in the playoffs?
Detroit Pistons vs. the Philadelphia 76er's: What have we learned?
Antonio McDyess, and his lights out shooting off the bench, single handedly kept the Pistons within 10 points of the Sixers in the 1st half of Sunday's game 3. A game 3 that could have been the beginning of the end of the Pistons as we currently know them. If there is one Piston who truly leaves everything on the floor, and wants a NBA title more than anyone, as shown by his locker room speech at halftime, it's Dice. If the Pistons go all the way, will we look back at McDyess' speech in the same way as Steve Yzerman's 2002 playoff locker room speech?
After being M.I.A. the previous 6 quarters, the Pistons we saw for most of the regular to season finally made an appearance in the 2nd half of game 3. Be it Dice's speech, Flip calling out the entire team (save for McDyess), the moons aligning, biorhythms, voodoo, whatever, the good Pistons finally reappeared. Once the Pistons flipped the proverbial switch in the 2nd half, it wasn't even a game. Why they suddenly decided to show up then is something we'd all like to know.
I'd really like to see Amir Johnson on the floor when the game is still in doubt, even if it's just a handful of minutes. Obviously, Flip Saunders doesn't.
Even though the Pistons won going away on Sunday, Chauncey Billups' game isn't where it should, or needs to be. He's shooting 28.6% from the floor, 82% from the line. Both are unacceptable from your All-Star point guard, and team leader. It still should be enough to beat a 7 seed in the 1st round, but in the following rounds? Actually, I should have just written round, as the next round could easily be their last if Billups doesn't step up his game.
NBA playoff scheduling remains mind-numbingly stupid. 2 weeks to play a 1st round series is asinine in any league, in any sport, at any time.
Detroit Red Wings vs the Colorado Avalanche: What have we learned?
In this series, the past does not reflect on the present. Wings-Avs is as much a rivalry as CheatyPants McSweaterVest-Lloyd Carr is a rivalry. It's in name only. Hammer, meet nail. Nail, meet wood. You know where I'm going.
Jose Theodore, to put it bluntly, sucks to high heaven. Is he as bad as he looks? Probably not, but playing against the Red Wings, who continually pepper shots on goal with the consistency of a mini-gun, are making Jose look awful. We haven't seen the last of backup Peter Budaj.
Avs head coach, Joel Quenneville, announced he is playing Theodore between the pipes in game 3. In most instances, such an unconscionable, indefensible decision is grounds for institutionalization. Save for in Detroit, where it's hailed as genius.
Thinking Petr Forsberg's return to the lineup will cure all that ails the Nordalanche is delusional. (You have to think he'll suit up tonight, Hasek-like groin, or not. Right? If not, he's burning up a ton of fan goodwill...) If he plays, he'll help their cause, even if it's giving the Avs a short term shot of energy just by his suiting up. But to expect a gimpy groined, oft injured, older than his years Forsberg to be a series turner is ludicrous.
Darren McCarty can still contribute to a winning hockey team. His dropping the gloves, and more than holding his own, against a much younger and bigger shit-stirrer, Cody McCormick, was the latest example of his value to the Wings.
Mid-week 10 PM eastern time starts, much like the NHL powers that be that keep the Red Wings exiled to the Western Conference and show extreme prejudice against 8 legged sea creatures, blow. They blow hard.