Coaches' timeouts are worse. Basketball teams should get one, full stop.
5/10/2006 - Pistons 97-91 Cavaliers - Pistons Lead 2-0
Don't they know I'm Bron Bron? Bron Bron sad.
Bron Bron miss Washington Matadors.
There's only one thing you can possibly say about the prison shizz that went down at the Palace on Monday and Wednesday: holy butt Jesus. Do not be fooled by Wednesday's final score, as the Pistons took double-digit leads into each quarter and we're never seriously threatened, leading by 20 most of the way. Combined with the 27-point pimp-slap from Monday, it's almost enough to make you feel sorry for the Cavs who aren't fools who antagonize Rasheed Wallace (Anderson Varejo, Zydrunas Ilgauskas), Nike's anointed (LeBron), or Damon Jones (Damon Jones). Can these really be playoff games? Second-round playoff games?
Perhaps. And perhaps the real reason the Pistons didn't challenge the Bulls' wins record was boredom. Early in the season, I called my good friend Kit ("Like the car, only David Hasselhoff isn't in me," he says), who lives in New York and has only the Food Network for cable and asked him if he had seen the game. He had not. I tried to explain, but only managed to say "they're good" several times in a progressively more alarmed tone. Kit said "yeah," but I don't think he really understood the frightening magnitude of what we were seeing.
This awe continued up until the point where the will-they-catch-the-Bulls chatter was dispelled by a smattering of losses across the month of December and then it was gone. The Pistons, dismayed by the puny mortals they were forced to smite on a daily basis, were often bored and infrequently dominant. It seemed that once they had proven to themselves that the ugly but effective caterpillar had emerged from its defensive cocoon, they could coast most of the season. I missed the innocent vigor of the early portion of the season, when the Pistons flexed their muscles to see just how far they could fling boulders. Watching them ruthlessly batter patsy after patsy was sports morphine.
Well, it's back. And I might start watching games with a blankie, just in case the team goes all Skynet on us and turns evil. (Yes, I know Skynet wasn't technically evil and only acted in self-defense. Take shower! Get a girlfriend!)
A certain TNT commentator summed everything up in one sentence:
"I will say this, we are witnessing something...
we're witnessing an asskicking."
Have I mentioned that I support Charles Barkley's candidacy for anything from county drain commissioner to Supreme Imperator Of The Galactic Federation? That's a mildly funny line in when written by an know-nothing blogger -- in fact, I had intended to lead this column with that almost verbatim -- but is the apex of hilarity when delivered on national television by a man who is indirectly paid by Nike and their stupid ad campaign.
That line was the capper of a four-day run in which everything came up roses for Pistons fans. The home team beat LeBron James and four guys who suck like they stole something -- something like momma's anal virginity. Mamba got bitch-slapped out of the playoffs like it was game five of the '03 Finals. Team Mexico and Miami got spanked at home like the naughty girls they are. The softbatch San Antonio crowd was so incensed by the fact that every time San Antonio fouled someone it was called they politely chanted "Ref you suck" for large swathes of the second half, eschewing the more traditional "bullshit."
Bullets of Utter Domination:
- How can everything be going so swimmingly? Have I mentioned my playoff beard? That's right. Playoff beard. I am accepting baskets of fruit in appreciation.
- You've seen the goofy "team roles" on TNT's NBA broadcasts, right? Ben is "grit," Hamilton is "efficient scorer," etc. Lebron? "Savior." Just savior. Not "team savior" or "basketball savior," just "savior." Guess that makes the Pistons Pontius Pilate.
- Stackhouse looks like a much, much better player when he's not surrounded by Michael Curry, Chucky Atkins, and Ben and thus forced to score 30 points a game. I wouldn't take the Hamilton trade back -- the man wears a mask all the time -- but Stack's all right by me.
- The "tilt" defense -- essentially a one-man zone just outside the low block by whatever post guy is handy whenever the Cavs try to iso LeBron at the elbow -- employed by the Pistons appears to be the first serious effect that the liberalized illegal defense rules have had on the game. Any team that seriously wants to prevent a star player from creating their own shot from an iso set can employ it at the low, low risk of a skip pass to the corner through a thicket of hands. The Cavs seemed helpless in the face of it, as LeBron's driving was almost entirely removed.
- Words cannot express how dear I hold the TNT studio show. Ernie, Kenny, and Charles have terrific chemistry, are fearless in their commentary, and are just damn funny. With the recent Big-N-Rich implosion of Gameday it's the undisuputed king of the talking-head shows, and there are no scheming princelings. If TNT was to buy out ESPN's NBA rights I would probably make a little yipping sound and click my heels together in fey fashion.
- More Barkley: "I took some good players over to Europe to play, and he [Dirk Nowitski] dropped 50 on us.... so I ask him 'How old are you' and he says '19' so I tell him 'I'll give you any amount of money in the world if you go to Auburn"
Kenny Smith: "Isn't that cheating?"
Charles Barkley: "We're in the SEC, if you aren't cheatin, you ain't tryin. We got Alabama, Georgia, Florida..."
- Things faster than Antoine Walker. (via DBB)
One Last Thing
Warning: if you go into seizures at mindblowing photographs, don't look down.
What on earth can Bill Laimbeer be saying to Kid Rock? Caption contest!