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Pistons-Spurs

What's the deal with San Antonio "cravenly servicing" Detroit last night? Unlike Christmas Day, the defending champs seem to be about out of excuses this time. At home, with Ginobili in the lineup, and it wasn't even a close fight. Maybe the SBC Center / AT&T Center name swap through them off.

January 13, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

Umm, the Pistons are better? Just like they were last year.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jan 13, 2006 11:43:07 AM

Hey, SCMT gets one right. We can have a big argument about what "better" means. On paper, the rosters are pretty evenly matched, but the Pistons are playing so much better this year that there's no reason to think the games should be competitive. Of course, all that can change by playoff time.

Posted by: ogged | Jan 13, 2006 11:52:26 AM

A friend of mine suggested after last night's game that the Pistons had a real shot at breaking the Bulls' record for most wins in a season. I suggested that his belief in this demonstrates that he is mad. But then we looked over the Pistons remaining schedule; I no longer think it's quite as crazy an idea. Still somewhat crazy though.

Posted by: washerdreyer | Jan 13, 2006 12:18:40 PM

I was pissed about that. I was really looking forward to that game and it turned out to be a blowout. Grrr. I watched the first half of Lakers-Cavs (through LBJ's awesome dunk at the end of the first half), but then dozed off. And THAT was the great game of the night, apparently. Grrr, grrr.

It seems to me that the Spurs aren't playing all that great at the moment. My Nets almost beat them the other night without RJ in the lineup (and would have beaten them if the refs hadn't given the Spurs a completely unjustified 38-15 edge at the free throw line). I'm not sure why the Spurs are playing like this, though.

Posted by: Al | Jan 13, 2006 12:22:56 PM

Pistons winning 72 games is indeed pretty crazy, but it does looks like they're headed for a win total in the mid to high 60s. Detroit played great last night, but I was definitely surprised by how bad San Antonio looked. Aside from some brief stretches in each of the last three quarters, they weren't into the game at all, and they didn't do jack in the first quarter.

Posted by: Haggai | Jan 13, 2006 12:23:46 PM

The odd thing is that the Pistons aren't playing SO much better than the Spurs. Detroit wins 84% of their games, but San Antonio wins 75%; one would think that it should enable them to at least make it close at home. After all, if Utah can sweep their season series against Detroit, why can't the Spurs make it competitive? The big difference seems to be rebounding; big advantage for the Pistons on both games. Or maybe past playoffs opponents (like Phoenix and Detroit) make a better job of guarding Tony Parker (it's not so difficult, but it takes time to get the hang of it).

Posted by: Carlos | Jan 13, 2006 12:24:59 PM

Spurs have what - 27 wins? Pistons have, let me see, 28 wins? Boy, the Spurs really suck.

I do think my Pistons are going to win this year but if I only watched their two game series with Utah I'd be tempted to think not. In the two Spurs games Detroit managed to play with more fire - they were, after all, on the sort end of the finals last year. If they can stay pissed off through the playoffs this year there will be dancing in the streets come June.

Posted by: LowLife | Jan 13, 2006 12:33:18 PM

Ogged takes the strong stand that, as the Pistons won last night, they were the better team...last night. But he denies that the result gives us information about future outcomes. So ogged does not believe the game was fixed, and that's about it. Bold, ogged, bold.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jan 13, 2006 12:50:50 PM

Another glaring stat from the game: Spurs go a horrendous 12-24 from the FT line. I mean, I know Duncan's bad, but really! I don't quite understand why an otherwise do-it-by-the-book Pop would stand for such poor FT performance.

When the Pistons won two years ago, I argued at the time that they were primarily the beneficiaries of fate: they were the least injured good team in the league. And more and more I hear about how the Pistons are one big injury away from Big Trouble. Watching the game yesterday, I am definitely inclined to agree: I think Flip Saunders is great, and does his best to mix things up, but yesterday revealed that Chauncy Foul Trouble + Arroyo Suspension = Who The Hell Runs the Point?

Posted by: DJ Ninja | Jan 13, 2006 1:23:11 PM

"...Chauncy Foul Trouble + Arroyo Suspension = Who The Hell Runs the Point?"

Lindsey Hunter, who is about to return from ankle surgery, is the regular backup at the 1 spot. Much more controlled as Arroyo, better shooter and MUCH better defense.

I think Earvin Johnson summed it up best last night. The difference in the Pistons this year is in their transition game. They push the ball up the court rather than settle into the half-court game. Their length in the front court allowed them to significantly out-rebound SA last night and played to the new offensive philosophy.

Can they win 70? Who cares. They would have won it all last year if Larry Brown had called for a quick foul on Duncan in the closing seconds of game 5 -- before Horrey got off his triple.

Posted by: itsjim | Jan 13, 2006 1:38:09 PM

Another glaring stat from the game: Spurs go a horrendous 12-24 from the FT line. I mean, I know Duncan's bad, but really! I don't quite understand why an otherwise do-it-by-the-book Pop would stand for such poor FT performance.

Yeah, Duncan going 3-10 is bad. Of course, on Monday night, in the Spurs' 5 point win over the Nets, Duncan went 13-15 from the FT line. So go figure. It's hard to say Duncan wasn't concentrating in a game against the Pistons, but what other explanation is there?

Posted by: Al | Jan 13, 2006 1:55:43 PM

Like I've been trying to tell y'all, the authentic action is in the East this year.

The winner of Pistons/Heat is going to be the title winner.

(And if you think the Heat have no chance in that series, you're not paying close enough attention to the way things work...)

Posted by: Petey | Jan 13, 2006 2:35:54 PM

"I do think my Pistons are going to win this year but if I only watched their two game series with Utah I'd be tempted to think not."

Utah has been playing really, really well the past month. Don't sleep on Kirilenko.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 13, 2006 2:37:08 PM

Yeah, Utah is pretty legit whenever AK47 is healthy, even if a couple of their other guys are injured.

Duncan's always been inconsistent, at best, from the foul line. I think it was the Phoenix series last year where he had a great streak going, something like 17 in a row over a couple of games, but then he started clanging them left and right.

It's true that Detroit has benefited from good health, which is at least partly due to good fortune, but the way their roster is constructed has something to do with that as well. Rasheed and Ben aren't spring chickens anymore, but seeing as how they're both 2 years younger and 100 pounds lighter than Shaq, it shouldn't be too surprising that they're also less injury-prone at this point than he is.

Posted by: Haggai | Jan 13, 2006 3:33:09 PM

Utah's terrific. Am I the only one who has only heard of three of their starters before seeing them (Okur, AK-47 and Ivey only b/c he played in the Big 12). Has there been a recent playoff team that has been this anonymous?

And Charley Rosen nailed it: for all the talk of Larry Brown or Phil Jackson's genius, people forget about Jerry Sloan.

Posted by: Chris R | Jan 13, 2006 4:03:28 PM

Miami was overrated at the start of the season; I think it's 50/50 as to whether they make the conference finals. I wouldn't be shocked if NJ or CLE ended up beating them.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jan 13, 2006 6:06:56 PM

SCMT reverts to form. You think Miami is going to lose to Cleveland? Here's a bold stand for you: no way a Shaq-having Miami loses to Cleveland (or New Jersey), even if they try to throw the series.

Posted by: ogged | Jan 13, 2006 6:20:34 PM

no way a Shaq-having Miami loses to Cleveland (or New Jersey), even if they try to throw the series

How dependable is Shaq? I dunno. So "Shaq-having" might be a bit of an assumption.

Nonetheless, I'd probably agree with you, although I would note that Miami lost to both Cleveland AND New Jersey in the past month (and Shaq played in both games).

Posted by: Al | Jan 13, 2006 6:34:32 PM

ogged:

Wait and see, padawan. If you had followed the NBA for any length of time, you'd know that Riley has shown himself to be something of a genius at losing playoff series. (I honestly don't know, but have his post-Lakers teams ever done better in the playoffs than predicted by their record?) If Z can play Smits (or even Longley), I like CLE's roster a lot more than I like Miami's. Shandon Anderson, Payton, 'Toine, and White Chocolate - and all for only $17 mil. Jersey's complete lack of anybody in the paint bothers me, but when's the last time Shaq ran back on defense? By year-end, he'll be pushing 400 lbs, and he'll hate Riley.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jan 13, 2006 6:45:08 PM

SCMT reverts to form. You think Miami is going to lose to Cleveland? Here's a bold stand for you: no way a Shaq-having Miami loses to Cleveland (or New Jersey), even if they try to throw the series.

I think I agree about Cleveland. But I'm not so sure about NJ. I've got a funny feeling about the Nets. Kidd is a beast. I doubt they could get by the Pistons in a best of seven, nor San Antonio for that matter. But right now I'd say the Nets are the second best team in the east. Shaq is still a force, but his best days are behind him.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida | Jan 13, 2006 9:05:46 PM

(I honestly don't know, but have his post-Lakers teams ever done better in the playoffs than predicted by their record?)

No. Of course Riley's Heat were upset by the Knicks in 1998, 1999 (the Knicks were an 8th seed, beating 1st seeded Heat) AND 2000. But also remember that Riley's Knicks were upset by the Pacers in 1995 (the infamous Patrick Ewing missed finger roll). In addition, I don't know if you'd call it an upset, but the 1993 Knicks actually had a better regular season record, and higher playoff seed, than the Bulls (and of course the Bulls won the series, despite Starks' dunk over Jordan, Grant and Cartwright). Riley's Heat and Knicks never upset a higher playoff seed.

So part of the reason I could see the Cavs and the Nets beating the Heat this year is that I think Riley is overrated. Also, the Heat have really not come together as a team like I thought they would. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Nets are NOT a great team by any stretch; they've got major, major flaws - at this point I'd be surprised if they get past the first round of the playoffs. The Cavs are a more talented team than the Nets, but they're relying on a 20-year old, and they have ZERO playoff experience. And the Pacers have obviously blown up. All in all, I still think the Heat will play in the Eastern Finals.

Posted by: Al | Jan 13, 2006 10:43:01 PM

I've got a funny feeling about the Nets. Kidd is a beast.

God knows I love Kidd, but he's not the most important player on the team any more. As goes Vince Carter, so go the Nets. If Vince shoots 47% and scores 33 points per game (as he did on their 10-game winning streak), the Nets are a very dangerous team. But I don't think he can do that for a whole season. And if they play against a quality defensive team in the playoffs, he certainly won't be able to do that.

Posted by: Al | Jan 13, 2006 10:47:12 PM

"God knows I love Kidd, but he's not the most important player on the team any more. As goes Vince Carter, so go the Nets."

Yup.

"And if they play against a quality defensive team in the playoffs, he certainly won't be able to do that."

Detroit would pose a special problem for Vince. But against a team other than the Pistons, he can win you a bunch of games out of 7 all by himself.

------

I just experienced a Tivo Nightmare. I get home and get set to vidi the Sixers/Celtics game.

With around two minutes left and the game tight, I notice I'm about 2:45 into the telecast. That's a reeaally slow game. Normally an entire game runs around 2:10 to 2:30.

The broadcasters always use a 2:30 block for the games, but I record 3:00, because who wants to lose the end of a tight game? I figure 3:00 is safe. Even the triple overtime Knicks/Suns game only went about 3:00.

And, of course, you can figure out the end of my sad tale by this point. My three hour recording didn't even get me to the end of the first overtime. The game must've gone 3:30.

So not only do I miss a motherfucking triple overtime Sixers win, but how do I proceed in the future? Do I have to start recording four hour timeslots for hoops games? I like to record movies too, y'know. Someone needs to talk to David Stern about this.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 14, 2006 3:17:34 AM

I just experienced a Tivo Nightmare. I get home and get set to vidi the Sixers/Celtics game.

Petey, same thing happened to me, and I had set the freakin TiVo (as I always do for Celtics games) to 3.5 hours. The game must have run close to 3:45. On the bright side, at least my team lost.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida | Jan 14, 2006 9:18:24 AM

I also set my TiVo for 3 hours for Nets games. (The problem is that the wife wants to TiVo Mind of Mencia and the Daily Show, at 10:30 and 11:00.) So I've missed the end of games too. The solution isn't to get Stern to change the games. The solution is for TiVo technology to advance to the point where the TiVo KNOWS when a game is in overtime and automatically extends the recording time. Can't we get Bill Gates or somebody to work on this crucial technology???

Side note: do the Sixers games have a late night replay? Nets games don't (we're second class citizens, of course), but most NBA broadcasts do.

Posted by: Al | Jan 14, 2006 1:34:58 PM

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