Friday, June 01, 2007
Game 5: Yuck
Jesus Christ. That was terrible. I'm to angry about Game 5 to write coherent paragraphs with transition sentences, so I'm just going to write some lazy bullet point rants.
1: Flip Saunders sucks. I hate it when people blame coaching staffs for the failings of the players. I think its unfair unless the team is woefully unprepared for the situation or there is a blatant strategic mishap. I remember when Alan Trammell was managing the Tigers how it used to drive me crazy to listen to the radio and have callers nitpick his decision to let Chris Spurling face Juan Uribe in the 8th inning. Another example is how the fans at Michigan Stadium grumble and whine if the Wolverines don't score a touchdown on every single possession or go undefeated every season. I'm guilty of second guessing coaches and managers as much as anyone. I remember thinking Jim Leyland was certifiably insane for starting Alexis Gomez in the ALCS, which turned out to be one of the best moves of the postseason and proved that I, even though I may be a hardcore fan who watches nearly every inning and quarter of every game of the season, ultimately don't know shit about managing. I only give these examples to emphasize how rare it is for me to turn my back on a coach and call him completely fucking incompetent. I'm not usually reactionary like this, but when someone is being out coached by a man who looks like a Mr. Potato version of Brian Ellerbe with Downs Syndrome then it's time to pack up your shit and get out. Before coming to Detroit Saunders had a reputation for being an innovative offensive coach who might be capable of tapping into the scoring potential of a team with a reputation for stingy defense built under Rick Carlisle and perfected by Larry Brown. Saunders offensive creativity was on display tonight at the end of regulation when Detroit received the ball with 9 seconds left and the score tied at 91. The Pistons inbounded the ball to Chauncey who set up at the top of the key and pounded the ball for 8 seconds before pulling up for a 3 from 25 feet away and hoping to draw contact. Really? That was the best play Saunders could come up with? Even Carlisle, who was so slow and grind it out that Mike Fratello was complaining about the games being boring, could diagram a play out of the halfcourt that gave the team a legitimate chance to score. Shit, even a group of preschoolers with fingerpaint and no sense of how the game was played could diagram a more creative and effective play than Chauncey's shot at the end of regulation. I've always thought Flip looked like a drunk, with his red bulbous nose, sleepy eyes, slightly disheveled appearance (it always seems like he has a loose knot in his necktie), mannerisms, and inability to talk in complete sentences during his press conferences. I mean if you threw a pink shirt and jeans on him he would look like Barney Gumbel on the sidelines. If I were Dumars I would administer the breath test on Saunders like he was my teenage son. I can picture Dumars standing there in a bathrobe, smelling Saunders breath of stale whiskey and turkey sandwiches, sending him to take a shower, and disappointingly shaking his head and Saunders skulked away.
2: LeBron James was amazing tonight. Incredible. Completely unstoppable. That was truly one of the greatest playoff performances in NBA history. Scoring your teams last 25 points en route to a double overtime victory is truly a transcendent performance and begins to justify all of the hype that has surrounded his young career. Not to take anything away from LeBron's performance but allowing 25 straight points is completely inexcusable on the Pistons part and is directly related to point #1. I don't care how you stop him just do it. Make someone other than #23 make a shot. If they have to triple team LeBron and leave some shitbag like Pavlovic open in the corner for a three, do it. If you have to send Nazr Mohammed out there for the sole purpose of shivving LeBron before he attempts a free throw, do it, make him earn that 30 million dollars somehow. But don't just sit back in a zone defense and let LeBron blow by Billups into the open lane and throw it down for an easy dunk, over and over and over and over and over again. Jesus that was frustrating.
3: If McDyess gets a one game suspension for his hard foul on Anderson Varejao then basketball will officially become a wuss sport on the same level as soccer. The fact that McDyess was ejected in the first place was laughable and I don't think it would have happened if LeBron wouldn't have reacted to the foul like he did. I would love it if McDyess called out Varejao for reacting to a semi-clothesline as though he had been shot by a sniper in the balcony, by saying he was going to show Varejao what a real hard foul feels like and then proceed to spear him out of mid-air into the backboard support in the next game. It seems the level of flopping and phantom calls has reached an all-time high this post-season and needs to be addressed before players are getting hauled off the court on little miniature gurneys in hopes of getting a flagrant foul called on the opponent.
4: I'm not giving up hope on the Pistons yet because they were in a similar position last year and rallied back to eliminate the Cavs, but I'm not feeling confidant about the chances of that happening again. What happens if the Pistons get eliminated? My dream scenario would be as follows. Flip would sit in his office and know the fans were disenchanted with his time as ruler of the Pistons as well as a growing discord between him and his players who are practicing silently outside his offices. Suddenly a short and shadowy figure appears in the doorway of the practice courts, which leads the Pistons players to cease performing their drills. Billups gathers the charges and goes to meet the mysterious figure who reveals himself to be former coach Larry Brown amid gasps and hushed conversation. An uneasy tension fills the court as Brown and the Pistons glare at each other not knowing what to say, before Rasheed steps forward and says, "Any ya'll cats want to turn yo asses on little man or shout at LB, speak ya shit naw.", and after a moment of silence the Pistons shout in unison "Vive L'Empereur". Saunders would overhear this in his office and realize his time in power was over, which would lead him to open his desk drawer and pull out a pistol with an ornamental ivory handle and......well I guess I don't want Flip dead but you get the point. I also realize that I stole this entire scenario from the return of Napoleon Bonaparte from exile but I figure I have to put my history degree to use somehow......