So this is going to be one of those posts where I act like I know something about sports. I assure you, I don’t. It’s all a clever (or not so much…) ruse.
The Pistons rock. They just do. And every time Shaq goes up against them, he gets frustrated. Case in point: 2004. LA Lakers. Goin’ home. Could be due to bad team dynamics that year. Could have been Kobe’s big head. Also could have been the Piston’s stiffling defense that year.
Case in point: 2005. Miami Heat. Lasted a bit longer – full seven games. And the Pistons did end up losing a tough 7 game series – but in the Finals, not in the Conferences.
They lost game one agains the Heat this year. At home even – ouch. But they were coming off an unlikely (dare I say fluke?) 7-game against the Cavs. They came back strong to win Game 2 – although those last few minutes weren’t the hottest in Piston history. Can they beat the Heat? Sure. But what do they need to do?
1. Get a lead early.
Duh. No brainer. Getting the lead keeps them in the scoring mentality. When the Pistons get down, they start tightening the defense, which is a good thing, but it makes them conservative on the scoring end also. That’s not Flip’s game – it’s Brown’s, and it hurts them to play one coach’s style under another coach. Flip’s about scoring – get ahead and keep on getting ahead.
2. Think you’re the underdog.
The Pistons always play better when they think they’re not getting any respect. It worked great in 2004 when nobody saw them coming. It worked well (although not as playoffs-finishing well) in 2005 when nobody thought they could do it again.
But now they’re considered a powerhouse team. They’ve got 64 wins this season to prove it (plus 9 in the playoffs so far). And somehow, unless the chips are down, they just don’t seem to quite play Piston basketball. Hence games 6 and 7 of the Cleveland series. Hence Game 2 of this Miami series. Somehow, they have to convince themselves that winning against Miami isn’t easy, simple, or likely, and that they are the underdog, not the Heat.
3. Go to Work.
This one is simple. Show up and play like crazy. Go bananas. If everybody on the team played with the heart of Lindsay Hunter every game, they’d be absolutely unstoppable. That’s all there is to it.
(Have I mentioned that I think Lindsay is the reincarnation of Joe Dumars? I do. In fact, I’d believe that absolutely if it weren’t for the fact that ol’ Joe is still alive.)
So there ya go. I’ll see you at the sports bar.