PISTONS WIN BUT DON'T PAINT A PRETTY PICTURE
AUBURN HILLS -- Style points don't matter in the NBA playoffs.
The only point in a playoff game is to score the most points and move on.
That is what the Pistons did Tuesday night. They struggled and chased Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson all over the place. They did their usual bump and grind on the little fella' and then did enough at the end to pull out a 88-78 victory at The Palace.
This was no Picasso painting. It looked more like the picture your kid scribbles on construction paper. It is only art to you because it is your kid and you love them more than anything else.
So you post it on the refrigerator any way.
It does not matter that the Pistons did not paint a pretty picture. What matters is they are resting today. They are sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the rest of the Indiana-Boston series. Whoever wins this odd ball series plays the Pistons.
The Pacers or Celtics will be a little bruised and a little more fatigued. The Pistons will be a little fresher and more prepared.
"We have a lot of work to do," Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said. "We didn't do anything that we didn't expect to do. Yeah, we're happy to win, of course, but we're a long way away from what we're trying to accomplish."
The theme of the Pistons caravan is "NBA championship of Bust."
In the end the Sixers were nothing more than a little speed bump. But lets take time out here to praise the fallen champions. Iverson showed greatness and playoff maturity through out. He pushed and challenged the Pistons for nearly 48 minutes every game and he even kept his cool when bone headed fan popped him in the back of the head with a quarter near the end of Game 2.
I have a new respect for Iverson. At the end he grabbed his pal Chauncey Billups and told him he loved him and told him to move on. It was reminiscent of the talk Kevin McHale had with former Piston after Detroit finally got past the Boston Celtics in the 1988 Eastern Conference Finals after years of struggle and bad breaks.
"A lot of times when you are in the NBA you play against guys and you see them but you never have a relationship with them, " Iverson said. " (Billups) is one of four or five guys on that team I have a relationship with. It is crazy playing against them and being in a war with people you are so close to. It is wild but I wish them the best. "
Iverson finally rode off into the sunset, but not before torturing the Pistons for 34 points and seven assists. Not before making every moment on defense a house of horrors.
He averaged 31.2 points and 10.0 assists against the Pistons.
One of the smallest men in the league made one of the largest impacts. But Iverson lacked help and not even his gigantic talents could overcome the Pistons depth and defensive intensity.
"They are honestly the best team I have played against all season, " Iverson said. "You can say that about a team with a great offense or a great defense. This team is good on both ends of the floor. They got five guys on the basketball court and you can’t guard nobody. I think they are one of the best coached teams and it shows on the floor. "
Some of us debated before the game whether the Pistons should play Tayshaun Prince because of a gimpy ankle. The Pistons needed everybody because you simply don't want to take risks with Iverson and the Sixers. The guy was so dominate that he had a hand in 56 percent of his teams scoring.
You don't want to mess with this guy for more than five games.
Credit Iverson for making this series a bit ugly because of his enormous heart and talents.
But the beautiful thing about this series is that it is over and the Pistons are now at rest for at least four days.