Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NBA Blogging: Engine Trouble

Alright, here's the thing about tonight's game with the 76ers. The Pistons dropped Game 1, yeah, but that might have been the best thing to happen to them. They're only down one game with plenty left to play and, you know, they gave that game away down the stretch when they went ice cold. Philly is a beatable team and the Pistons can play much better.

The problem with the Pistons for years now has been that they're a veteran, confident team - this has also been their main advantage for some time so it's a bit of a double-edged sword. A team that expects to get into the playoffs and to do well and figures that they have a second gear they can shift into at any time because they've done so before. They play down to their opponent, in other words. And they can take plays and even whole games off, not work as hard as they need to in order to be fully competitive, and, instead, just do what it takes to skate by. It's a bad habit and one that I'd thought they'd put behind them with all the talk about how upset they were with the end of last year's season.

But now they've been socked in the mouth by a desperate, young team that's dangerous enough to steal games from them. If that doesn't wake them up, nothing will.

One good thing about the long layoff between games in the NBA is that it means the Pistons have had plenty of time to sit and think, in their homes, in their practices, in the coaches offices, and more. To let the sting of defeat burn its way into their minds. While the 76ers have been robbed of the momentum of a quick turnaround and the comfort of just having a game to play. The Pistons have been brooding on this now. They've been sulking.

And don't forget, the Pistons were the #2 team in the league this year. They finished only a handful of games behind mighty mighty Boston. And if they'd really wanted to, they probably could have made a push to match their blistering pace. But they didn't, not because they couldn't, but because they'd already done it. In years before, they'd torn through the regular season, put up the best records, won 60 games, but, now, they understand that it doesn't matter if you don't do anything in the playoffs (Not that Boston is having any problems with this, delivering a statement game while Detroit was floundering). So, once they secured their spot in the playoffs, they rested their starters, they developed their bench and waited.

Now, the playoffs are here.

And, now, the Pistons are angry.

Angry that they lost. Upset that they got humiliated at home. Determined not to let it happen again. Hopefully.

I'm thinking they're going to come out swinging tonight. Mainly because if they don't they really are in trouble.

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