HEAT AND OFFICIALS DOOM UNFOCUSED PISTONS
AUBURN HILLS -- It is very rare that I blame officials for any loss.
I usually don't go there. I know fans get a jaded view of games and when they complain about the officials I usually tune them out.
But not this time. For one of the rare times in sports officiating played a major part in the Pistons losing a game. The Pistons played soft defense for much of Sunday's 112-103 loss to the Miami Heat at The Palace. They lost their composure down the stretch which is inexcusable for a defending champion.
But if you look closer there were a number of questionable calls in the second half. The officiating crew was terrible and the Pistons bore the brunt of many of these calls.
The Pistons did not keep their composure. They wilted and instead of focusing on the game they spent too much time complaining. Both Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups were called for technical fouls in the fourth quarter. And Rip Hamilton was begging for one near the end.
Usually I dog them for that. This time I understand.
This is not an NBA conspiracy. I do not believe for a second the league is rooting for a Heat-San Antonio Finals. Officials simply had a bad night, just as the Pistons did.
Certainly a number of you believe the Pistons are in trouble because Dwyane Wade continues to score at will and the Heat actually made their run when he was on the bench.
However, this series is far from over. It simply won't be easy for either team. For the third straight game the teams were tied with less than six minutes remaining.
You can expect just about every game to be that way.
So the key is who is smarter down the stretch and more composed. The Heat won that battle two out of three times. They will have to continue to win that battle if they are to win this series.