Thursday, June 09, 2005

Memo to Pistons Fan: Stop your whining 

In the lead-up to tonight's game one, I've encountered a lot of Detroit fans online crying that they're not getting any respect in the upcoming finals against the Spurs. There's a lot of crying and harping and moaning about being the defending champions and extinguishing last year's Lakers (w/Shaq), as well as the Heat (w/ Shaq) in this year's Eastern Conference Finals. So why is it, they wonder, that nearly everyone is picking San Antonio to win it all? Some blatantly obvious answers:

1) What's done is done. Past series' don't mean anything now. That includes last year's finals. To rant about championship experience in this series seems a bit foolish given that the Spurs convincingly won the title the year before in 2003.

2) This year's Spurs are a much tougher propisition than the Laker team that showed up (or didn't show up, depending on your perspective) in last year's finals. You can't really compare the two. Last June, the Lakers were falling apart internally, as is evident by the fact that Phil Jackson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Karl Malone are all gone as a result (be it direct or indirect) of Kobe Bryant. Nevermind the fact that Malone didn't even play in the Finals. San Antonio is much more stable. They're the picture of consistency. No one brings 25 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks a game as steadily as The Big Fundamental, Tim Duncan. Manu Ginobili has blossomed into a star with a complete game. Tony Parker is every bit the equal, if not better than last year's Finals MVP Chauncey Billups. As mentioned earlier, this club has it's own championship experience and has displayed the ability to not only defeat, but adapt to any type of scheme thrown at them. Whether it be banging down low against Denver, keeping up with Seattle's small-ball lineup, or outrunning and gunning the Suns.

Yes, the Pistons can claim back-to-back trips to the Finals as an image of consistency, but if you watched the Miami series (and even the Indiana series, for that matter) you have to admit that they have looked pretty erratic this post-season.

Miami, by the way, had a losing record against Western Conference teams this season. So if you think the Heat with a hobbled Shaq and an obviously hurt Dwyane Wade (nobody misses a game 6 unless its really serious) provided stiffer competition than what San Antonio has in store, you've got another thing coming. I don't think anyone is dismissing the Pistons outright, either. I think all the Detroit fans need to settle down on that one. Just because most of us are picking the Spurs to win doesn't mean we don't respect Detroit (the team, not the city). Most, like myself, believe this will be a six or seven game series. Spurs and Pistons are ranked #1 and #2 in defense, but the plain facts are that San Antonio has a significantly better offense, the best player in the series -- Tim Duncan (who Detroit has no hope at containing down low), and homecourt advantage. The last one is particularly significant given that between the regular season and the playoffs, the Spurs have lost all of, what, five? Six games at home? How is picking them in six or seven games disrespecting the Pistons?? Honestly, stop waving the flag for five seconds and try look at it objectively.

Tim Duncan claims a third Finals MVP as Detroit does down in six games, the majority of which will have final scores in the mid-seventies. Additionally, I see each game being a closely contested affair. No blowouts coming in this series.

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