|Rasheed Wallace Does Not Approve.
||[May. 26th, 2006|04:00 am]
Rasheed Wallace Does Not Approve.
The Pistons tied the 2006 Eastern Conference championship series at 1-1 last night with a 92-88 victory at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
However, they almost let the game get away from them.
Despite the Pistons' solid performance and commanding leads in Game 2, the Heat would not concede.
With a 12 point lead on the Miami Heat with about 1:46 until the end of the game, a series of Pistons turnovers and referee mishaps found the game with a close finish. In these mishaps, there was a crucial 5-second penalty on the inbound, in which Miami gained control of the ball to set up for the Wade 3-ball. Tayshaun Prince, the inbounder, had called for a time-out, but the referee did not hear him. The end of the game featured almost-empty stands, and many had already left the building, thinking that the Pistons lead was insurmountable.The Heat scored 17 points in this span of time, and Dwayne Wade's amazing 3-pointer brought the score to 90-88, Detroit, with 9.8 seconds to go.
The win was a necessary outcome, but I do not approve of the execution.
The Pistons improved their overall play from previous games, but they have rarely closed out a game with a solid lead, not since the 1st game in the last round, against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The saving grace has been their defense, with exception to this round's Game 1.
I understand more than most that these late rounds feature the best opponents, and the scores should be close. However, this Pistons squad rolled through most every team in the NBA, at home and on the road. Their 'improved' offense, overall, has depleted from their season average around 98 points to their historical levels, around the 80s and low 90s. Meanwhile, Dallas and Phoenix are quite capable of busting out 100-plus-point performances. The Heat are a tough offensive team, too.
For the Pistons, what they did tonight worked, but when they travel to Miami, their strategy of having fun should be matched by a mandate of being none too comfy on the court. I don't think Detroit can afford to take any comfort in 80-90 points as a good chance for a win, from this point through the end of their season.
If they want to win the championship, then they have to match this Game 2 intensity, and it has to be there every game.