Thursday, March 6, 2008

Pistons-Celtics & Other NBA Thoughts

The Pistons never seem to make it easy on themselves, do they? There just has to be this "we're underrated, no one respects us" mantra before they can win something. When they are highly ranked and expected to roll over the competition, they tend to take teams lightly. Complacency has been a major vice for Detroit ever since their 2004 title. Complete performances, when they play all four quarters well, are here and there. Even when they are 44-17 like this year, there is an underlying sense that could be better. A poor first quarter like the one against Seattle Tuesday will come out of nowhere. Or a stretch like the Orlando-Milwaukee back-to-back after the All-Star break. Last night, that inconsistent Pistons squad showed up once again for Boston.

If there is one Eastern Conference team not to take lightly, it's the Celtics. A poor quarter is tough to overcome because of Boston's troika of superstars. Any one of Pierce, Garnett, or Allen can score 20 points in a quarter like it's nothing. Unfortunately, the Pistons had two ugly performances in both the first and the fourth, scoring 13 and 11 points, respectively. That was ultimately too much to overcome. We shot just 36% for the game, and only 39% overall against Boston this year.

Granted, our shooting struggles may have been overlooked had we rebounded some of those misses. We lost the board edge 50-38 last night and 45-36 rpg over the series. With Garnett playing more at the top of the key, Wallace has to step away from the basket to guard him. That leaves the rebounding duties solely to McDyess and it looks like he can't handle it himself. Kendrick Perkins is averaging almost 12 rebounds a game against Detroit this season. Read that again. Kendrick Perkins, c'mon. That's double his season average. In Boston's other win, Glen Davis had 20 points on 8-10. Flip Saunders must make a defensive adjustment to solve this problem. Whether we need Maxiell, Johnson, or even Ratliff more on defense, we can't let Boston's secondary big men beat us. The Big 3 of Boston are going to get their points one way or another. But, to let Rondo, Perkins, or Big Baby beat us, it's unacceptable.

A wish for the upcoming playoffs: Please let LeBron and the Cavs stay in the 4 spot. If we stay in the 2 slot, we would face the winner of the 3-6 matchup in the second round. Orlando would currently be the third seed and we have owned them recently in the playoffs. Yes, we split the season series, each team stealing a road win, but the Magic doesn't have a player that can take over a game like LeBron can. Keeping LeBron in the 4 seed would have him face Boston in the second round. Basically, any way we can avoid playing Boston's Big 3 or Cleveland's Big 1 until the conference finals is a plus. Too often in past years, the Pistons have worn themselves out with long series in early rounds.

  • How's that Shaq trade looking now for Phoenix? A 3-5 mark with Shaq has dropped Phoenix to the 6th seed in the West. While Shaq has certainly played well enough (10.0 ppg, 11.3 rpg), the Suns have struggled to win without Shawn Marion's underrated defense and wing scoring.
  • How about the MVP race right now? LeBron puts up 50, 10 asts, and 8 rbs against NY last night. Chris Paul goes for 23 and 18 dimes against the Hawks. Kobe had 52 and 11 rbs Sunday against Dallas.
  • The race for the #1 overall pick in the Draft looks to be coming down to Miami, Memphis, Minnesota, and Seattle. The consensus seems to be that PF Michael Beasley and PG Derrick Rose are the top two players. Memphis is the only team that would obviously go big because of their Conley selection last year. The other 3 could conceivably go either way. Still, it doesn't have nearly the drama that Durant v. Oden had in 2007.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1.) Showing no love for the alma mater in the poll?!
2.) Any TP stats for the Yankees A team?
3.) I was extremely dissapointed not to be able to watch the Pistons-Celtics game down here in Fla. They weren't even on the front page of the Sports in the papers down here. So, I can't really comment on the game last nite, but am astonished at the stats of Kendrick Perkins.
4.) I agree with the wish that the Cavs get the 4 spot. It would definitely be a blessing for the Pistons given the Celtics season and depth now with Cassell and Brown.
5.) If I had a vote for MVP, it would definitely go to LeBron. Though he obviously plays 1000x better when heckled, no other player in the league (besides Kobe 5 yrs ago) can take over a game (or a series as we saw last year against Detroit in the ECF) like Lebron James can.