5/29/06 - Pistons 78-89 Heat - Heat lead 3-1
It's times like this when I wish I really knew basketball. I mean, I know that if you shoot from behind the line it's three points and you have to shoot within 24 seconds and all that stuff, but that level of knowledge is insufficient to explain what's going on in Miami. Watching the Pistons go down fairly helplessly in the last two games -- trailing the whole way, making one push that only serves to increase the pain of the loss -- would be somehow mitigated if I could whip out some obvious reasons. This is probably an after-effect from football season; in retrospect Michigan's losses were more tolerable when one could scream "ack! Pat Masssey." With the Pistons I am forced to shrug and blither, which is no fun at all.
I do know these things:
- Emotionally, I have turned against Flip Saunders something fierce. The ABC/ESPN coverage is wont to linger over the coaches' expressions after every play of consequence, and when they do Saunders gives off a very Bobby Williams-esque vibe. He appears pensive, biting his lip, probably thinking "God, I hope they don't fire me." By contrast, Riley looks like he's going to order a hit on the refs and Shandon Anderson, but not before he gets in some good Joe-Pesci-in-Casino bat action on them. This is where the knowledge would come in handy, as with it I could confirm or dis-confirm my emotional reaction.
- The Pistons are not in a shooting slump any more than the teams the Pistons faced when Carlisle and Brown found suddenly found themselves in a shooting slump. They're not getting quality shots -- no fast break points, lots of contested jumpers, seemingly all of them from Lindsey Hunter, and very few easy buckets at the rim. I don't know if it's the players or the coaching, but the offense has devolved into a one-on-one thing where the Pistons are often faced with an iso way away from the basket with the clock running down.
- Ben has not impacted the game and his free throw shooting has gone from atrocious to a war crime. He's hired an agent. He's offering snippy comments to the press. I need a hug.
- This does not feel like a series the Pistons can come back from.
That last comment is the most telling and disturbing. I hate this losing stuff on a variety of levels, but since people actually started reading this thing the worst part is having to sit down and not call for assassinations. I try to keep an artificially even keel when things are in progress but going badly; when the need for a post-mortem arises one shall be given. This is not that time. Yet.