8:00 PM. What was a delightful summer shower has passed, leaving behind a hellish, humid miasma that causes your skin to crawl. Fresh off probably embarrassing myself in a (soon to be released!) EDSBS podcast interview.
Lindsey says "we can't really worry about the offense," then tells Jim Gray that no one from the team is blaming the officials or each other. Jim Gray calls Lindsey a liar before throwing it back to the studio. I am confused as to the reasons for his continued employment. Gray, not Hunter.
8:07 PM. Stephen A. Smith starts talking.
8:07:01 PM. Mute button employed for first time tonight. Over/under on final count: 6.
8:09 PM. The Bulls now have the second pick in the draft? Plus their own? They have to have enough ammunition for Garnett + actual team. Wouldn't Minnesota do Chandler, Deng, and two picks? A team with Garnett, Nocioni, Hinrich, and Gordon starting is an instant contender even if James Jones is the fifth starter. Sigh. Two weeks ago Detroit was poised to dominate the East for two or three more years. Now people are talking about letting Wallace go and about how dumb the Darko trade was. I miss two weeks ago.
8:15 PM. Flip showed the players tape of the 2004 Red Sox. Bill Simmons, upon hearing that, took a quick, determined trip to the bathroom. Tip to come. Talking in the breaks.
8:17 PM. Ben Wallace used to win all tips. Now he wins none. Exchange of jumpers goes for Detroit... Hamiton quickly 0-4. I hate that crap where Wallace gets the ball in the post and doesn't even threaten to get better position.
OMG BEN FREE THROW!!! An exciting 6-5 match four minutes in. And now we're rotating and running off of it. Wade just blazed past Hamilton but Rasheed was there to challenge instead of observe a dunk. Tentative hurrah. And Wallace annihilates a Jason Williams shot, plus a five second violation. Is this... hope?
Rasheed caps an 8-0 run by going to the hoops, and the forces of eeevil call a timeout. I feel vigorous and capable of anything by proxy.
8:25 PM. Commercials don't count for mute over-under. If the Pistons continue to perform well the under will be achieved, as Hubie will be entertaining instead of anger-inducing. I need a replay of that Wade "block" so I can scream about it being a foul... none provided.
Haslem finally hits a jumper. Holy Jesus! Ben drives, draws foul #2 on Shaq and gets an and-one! Free throw is bricked but who cares? Not I, I say. Heat are picking up a lot of fouls because the Pistons are out-hustling them. Attacking immobile Shaq has paid dividends, since he can't get his ponderousness over to turn blocking calls into charges. Hunter check in with 4:35 left in the first... Offensive Disaster Watch Engage.
I forgot to mention: after I bitched about Wade's shooting percentage through three games, it went up.
Mourning is such an asshole, and that should be a technical foul -- to paraphrase Hubie, "you cannot put your hands on another player, but Alonzo Mourning is one of the great assholes we have in this league."
8:37 PM. Hunter steal + layup, which is +3 in UFR-speak.
And... wow, that's a bad call. Hunter Haslem with his forearm, all ball, and a foul is called. Hubie Brown, of course, lives in Hubie Brown's Alternate Reality where refs are always correct in all instances and disagrees, causing me to wish him pain. End of one with the Pistons playing like notcrap and being rewarded for it: 25-20. Tom Petty causes mute utilization #2. The VIP room at the Sands goes crazy!
End Of First: 25-20.
8:46 PM. I don't think I want to see a movie that makes Kill Bill look like Sesame Street, because that movie is full of acid.
8:48 PM. I hate the NBA caring. Do it, and don't tell me about it.
Shut up about the layups, Hubie. Hamilton has his first two in the second. "Best that we have in regards to streak shooting" from Hubie re: Hamilton, since Hubie is given a small electric shock whenever he says "shooting" without streak in front of it.
Antoine Walker turnover special leads to a three on one break that Hunter almost blows but for a timely Prince tip in.
The Heat have gotten an eight second violation simultaneous with calling a timeout... the refs adjust the shot clock to 17 (potentially fair given the timing), and the announcers blither about tenths of a second. Detroit continues to push after everything, getting layups like they're... well, Miami two nights ago. Another Miami TO with Detroit up nine. This is just like two weeks ago.
8:56 PM. Wade took a desperation three about five feet behind the line with Hunter in his grill and panicked about it going in. Billups is taking a lot of bad shots, and yes, Mike Brey, Hunter is playing well. He sits down and I have nothing to complain about. Good on yer!
Pistons TO after a Rasheed shot -- a good one -- just barely ticks off the front rim, leading to a fast break dunk for Wade. Still up five, though, and the shots that they're getting are obviously far superior than those of the last few games. Cautious optimism.
9:03 PM. Chuck Daly has looked that old since 1989. Maybe he's Dick Clark. Nice basket cut for Rip leads to a layup... these are frequent tonight and nearly non-existent previously. Miami cuts it to two, then two Ben plays: a dunk and then he draws Shaq's third on the defensive end. Ben is here tonight.
Prince is now on Wade, but he still scores. It LOOKS harder, okay?
2:55 left and the Pistons only lead by two. Bollocks.
9:11 PM. Foul on the Pistons that's obviously Rasheed's third but NBA Magic turns it into Billups' first. Our Greatest Asshole splits the pair.
And goddammit. I swear to God, that's a foul on Hamilton but it goes uncalled because it's Wade and a runout dunk results. Detroit is pissed and runs off four quick points. Then some other stuff happens... Wade gets his second and is yanked with 12 seconds let in the half, which brings me to a pet peeve of mine: why is it verboten to play Wade with 12 seconds left in the half but okay at the start of the third? Do you get spanked if you have a player with three fouls before the half?
As I say this, Chauncey drives to the lane for a layup and the half ends.
9:38 PM. Rasheed opens the half up with a hit jumper. Chauncey does draw a foul against Williams, which causes Brown to talk about Chauncey's confidence against him... but it's been mostly bad shots thus far.
Hubie gets muted after calling someone "active" for the 300th time... and then it's SERENITY NOW time for the refereeing, as Hamilton gets banged while shooting with no call and picks up a technical, and for some reason ESPN refuses to show us any of these replays. Thanks, ESPN. Feel like cutting in for some Barry Bonds at bats any time soon? At least they've cut out the rolling camera stuff.
AAAH! BEN DESTROYSHAQ!!!!! AAAH BEN WIN TIP!!!!
Ahh Chauncey falldown? That's not right.
9:47 PM. "From The Creator Of White Chicks": not something I'd put in my movie preview. Mine would go something like "From a man who had nothing to do with White Chicks or, for that matter, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigilo..."
9:51 PM. Wallace dunk and foul. Horrah. WadeJumper(TM). Not horrah. Defense, offense, bitching at the refs: we look like the Pistons. Wade flops like fishy, gets call. AARGH. Could we hit an open three? We've had about six. Antoine Walker shows his true chucker nature by hoisting a three on a two on one break, which he hits. Riley calls TO; Pistons by six; 3:52 left in the third. Refs smell like death.
9:58 PM. 0 for 9 from three, and the Pistons lead by six... that's why this feels like a blowout but is not. Our Greatest Asshole commits a loose-ball foul (uncalled), shoves a du
nk at the rim and picks up a foul (phantom), and splits a pair. NO HUNTER NO JACK THREE. YES PRINCE YOU JACK THREE. 24 for Prince. Funky.
Chauncey's shot a lot of junk tonight but he has nine assists and one turnover.
After three: 73-65. Further playing, like, good and stuff will result in a game six.
10:09 PM. I find Burt Reynolds whining about a finger in a beer somewhat dillusioning. Peyton Manning, sure, but Burt Reynolds is supposed to be a man, man.
10:11 PM. Hunter gets an assist by taking an 18-foot jumper that McDyess puts back in. PS: I hate Wade, in the same way mice hate cats. Three minutes gone in the fourth and the Piston lead is down to four: not an acceptable attrition rate.
10:15 PM. It's a special time: we've been making fun of the WNBA for ten years.
A 24 second violation followed immediately by Chauncey's imminent return. Shaq goes to the line and one of two: Pistons up three. Wit and decorum have left for the next eight minutes of game time. Yes. Dice from his spot on the baseline. Goddammit. Ben successfully challenged a shot... a great, great defensive play. Ref checks to see if the shot goes in. It doesn't. Then a foul call. Most irritating thing in sports. Ball don't lie: Wade misses both.
Ach. Tension! Stuart Scott is still talking about things! Why?
10:26 PM. Pistons come out of a timeout and run a disjointed set. Screen switching raises its head again... Hamilton misses an open jumper and Wade banks it in, the bastard. Hamilton blocked by Shaq, ball bounces to Prince... three! Zing! The b key on my keyboard is getting wonky! Just in case you see references to "en Wallace" or "asketall"! Talking with exclaimation points is fun! I need some whiskey!
10:33 PM. Awesome: in many fonts the words "BLURAY" and "BLURRY" are nigh indisinguishable. Fire someone in marketing! More exclamation points!
10:37 PM. Dammit, with 3:25 left just foul Shaq when he looks dangerous in the post. Dice pre-emptively comes in so hack-a-Ben cannot be employed. Yuck. Wallace's line: 3-11. Misses first free throw. Makes the second. Hubie gets muted (#4). Haslem nearly airball a jumper and there's a total joke of foul call on Wallace. Ball continues to agree with my assessments of the refereeing as Shaq misses both. Hubie helpfully suggests that you should rebound missed free throws. Chauncey to the line, which is a wonderful experience relative to the Wallaces: Rasheed is shooting like Ben and Ben is shooting like a man trapped under a Yugo. 2/2. Pistons up seven with 2 and 35.
Wade misses as Prince challenges at the last second: Hack-a-Dice, who knocks both down... and then? D-PICTURE OF FENCE. Up 11. 1:50. Walker chucks one. Missed. Still Miami ball. Why is useless-on-offense Payton still on the floor? 1:33 left, up eleven. Game six beckons.
10:44 PM. Five second call. Ballgame. Mute-button under achieved. Game six in two days. Please don't suck.