Monday, May 23, 2005


I don't want to hear about long layoffs or Shaquille O'Neal's injury.
Please spare me every sob story that will come out of Miami with its apologetic media. The Pistons won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference 90-81 in the same manner in which they beat Philadelphia and Indiana.
They shut down the Heat right when the Heat thought they were getting hot. And ladies and gentlemen we saw the difference between these two teams in the final five minutes of the game.
The difference is simple. The Pistons have experienced the frenzy and heat of the final five minutes in intense playoff action a dozen times before. When the red light turned on signaling crunch time we saw the Pistons turn prime time, holding the Heat to one point down the stretch.
We saw Rip Hamilton hitting shots he could not make earlier and we saw Tayshaun Prince turn dead eye killer.
We saw the scowl and the howl of Rasheed Wallace. When this guy is screaming like a wolf and looking at folks with that know it all grin, then the Pistons are the best in the land.
And we saw the best coach in the NBA, Larry Brown, turn Miami Coach Stan VanGundy into mush.
Teams follow the lead of their leaders. VanGundy was frantic and confused, kicking his heals. His team played the same way. The Heat did not kick its heals. It kicked the ball away along with a chance to beat the defending World Champions.
The Heat made every bad play in the book down the stretch. That included ignoring Shaq in the middle. Instead they threw up half bait shots, many of which were swatted away by the Pistons.
This was a text book victory by the Pistons. They placed six players in double figures and I witnessed some of the most astonishing defensive plays I've seen in a while. The Pistons turn ever shot into an adventure. That is why they should be favorites to win this series. And that is why the Heat scored 25 points below its playoff average.
But the Pistons were cast as underdogs because most people usually pick the team with the best player. The Pistons, however, defy logic because they are so splendid on the defensive end.
In Miami they will cry how O'Neal was worn down because of his injury. I don't want to hear it.
He came out on fire as many of us expected. But Shaq wears down in games where he is pressed. He no longer is a guy who can dominate for 82 games in the regular season and then roar through the playoffs. There are too many miles on those legs along with the usual bumps and bruises.
And poor Dwyane Wade still does not know what train hit him. He was guarded by four men who used four different tactics. He didn't know if he was getting blasted by the A-Train or the commuter to Ann Arbor.
The Pistons defense wore on him. It caused him to shoot quicker than he wanted and in spots he did not feel comfortable in. He missed 18 of 25 shots. But Wade did not have an off game. Rather he was thrown off by the Pistons.
I dare say the guy looked like Kobe Bryant during the 2004 NBA Finals.
But this is just one game. The series is not over and there is plenty of hoops to be played.
But for one night we saw what a real champion roars in crunch time and how a pretender swoons.


Blogger zeeshan khan said...

Hey Dan ReTard,
What did I tell you? I bet you don't email me back, See Terry the guy's a Punk! Wade hadn't faced a Defense all playoffs like the Pistons D, yet the national media was anointing him the second coming! Anyways Great team game by the Pistons. Deeeeetroit Bas Ket BALLLLLLL!!!

12:06 AM

Blogger K Long said...

Miami looked good in spots, but if Shaq isn't in good shape, and if Wade is contained like he was in this game for the rest of the series, then Detroit will win in 6.

1:01 AM

Blogger Jack Fu said...

Welcome to the grown-ups' table, Miami. Let's see what else you've got.

8:26 AM

Blogger T Foster said...

Jack Fu,
You are so right. This is the grown up table. I do not believe this series is over but the Heat needed a dossage of reality of what real playoff basketball is about.

8:58 AM

Blogger T Foster said...

You won't hear from him either. Columnists rip people and cities and then they hide. It is a shame. If we can dish it out we should be able to take it.

8:58 AM

Blogger Jack Fu said...

I agree 100%, Terry. This series is far from over, but the Heat are (“is”? Is there a rule on this?) Going to have to bring something else to the table. If they keep doing what they did last night, this sucker is gonna be over in four or five. But I fully expect adjustments to be made.

By the way, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the key to the game last night was clearly Elden Campbell’s ability to neutralize Shaq for long stretches of time. If the Pistons keep getting efforts like that out of the Big Easy, Shaq’s gonna be reeling. If he isn’t already...

12:08 PM


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