Extra MustardSI On CampusFantasyPhoto GalleriesSwimsuitVideoFanNationSI KidsTNT
Commentary, news, analysis and reader-driven discussions focusing on this year's NBA playoffs.
12:30 a.m. ET, 4/22/07

Pistons Sleepwalk In Game 1

Posted by Kelly Dwyer
Rasheed Wallace scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds in 35 minutes.
AP
The opposing team, playing on the road, missed 18 free throws. It also turned the ball over 20 times, made only two three-pointers and the opposing coach drew several plays down the stretch for the team's third-leading scorer to attempt to attack the Eastern Conference's premier perimeter defender. So what excuse do the Detroit Pistons have for allowing the Orlando Magic to come within three points of the East’s No. 1 seed with less than a minute left in the game?

Despite the missed free throws, the miscues and Orlando coach Brian Hill's insistence on trying to score over Tayshaun Prince, the Pistons never turned this eight-point win into the blowout victory it should have been. This isn't to say the Pistons didn't play well. They did, the outcome of the contest was never in question, and the ponderous pace both teams like to employ had a hand in preventing a lopsided outcome. But too often, this Pistons win felt like a game from the first two rounds of last spring's postseason run, one that saw Detroit turn the switch on in time to pull out games that shouldn't have been as close as they were. Troubling, especially for a team that has their eyes on a championship.

The Magic were pretty lousy, despite the comeback. Orlando had the worst turnover rate of the 2006-07 regular season, turning the ball over 16.3 times for every hundred possessions they played. They managed an even worse mark on Sunday evening, coughing it up 20 times in 88 possessions, to go along with that 18 of 36 mark from the free throw line and an unimaginative offense that seemed to feature one cutter per quarter.

Before we label these Pistons out and out sleepwalkers, it would make sense to point out that the team didn't really have to give a rip about the season's final month, that a win is a win is a win, and that it makes little sense to overreact to a one-game sample size while an outfit is still in the feeling-out stage. That said, outside of Miami, no team exudes a sense of entitlement, and a "we can win even at half-speed" mind-set, like these Pistons. The Heat came out on Saturday, on the road, and played Chicago to a hilt. Detroit's opening turn? Not as impressive, and a little worrisome.

posted by SI.com | View comments |  

Comments:

Posted: 5:01 AM, April 22, 2007   by Anonymous
As unimpressive as the Pistons victory may have seemed, it must be remembered that they never trailed in the game, even though Orlando shot a playoff franchise record 58 percent from the field. If you can beat any team that shoots 58 percent for the game, it means you are still doing a lot of things right. Look for Pistons to dominate the next game as the Magic shooters cool off.
Posted: 7:08 AM, April 22, 2007   by Anonymous
Flip used the bench beaucoup, otherwise this would have been a laugher
Posted: 9:58 AM, April 22, 2007   by Anonymous
Detroit not as impressive. I think the bottom line is Detroit up 1-0, Miami down 0-1. I would take an unimpressive win over an impressive loss any day. Detroit wins this series in 5. Miami loses in 5.
I think they looked fine. No reason for Flip to run them into the ground when they can play half-stepping and still win with relative ease. Saves them some energy if they face the energetic Bulls or the AARP card holder team known as the Heat.
Posted: 2:09 PM, April 22, 2007   by Anonymous
For one the piston team this year is much different than the piston team of last playoff time. Their bench is much deeper and actually has carried the team the last month of play. Reason number two is that this year in the 4th quarter they always seem pull it out. THats what I look for in a 7 game series. Yeah they dont always blow teams out they should but they usually do enough to win and win at a consisten pace. THey have 7-8 legit scorers no 40 or 50 point games like kobe put the potential to get 20 points from up to 8 guys, that is a nice luxery.
Posted: 3:03 PM, April 22, 2007   by pete
Saunders cannot coach.
Posted: 3:02 AM, April 23, 2007   by Anonymous
the magic only lost by 8 right? and they shot 18 of 36 from the line. if they coulda made only 9 of the 18 missed free throws they coulda won by one point! dwight howard needs to shoot thousands during this offseason. hes worse than shaq and ben wallace right now i think. if the magic cut down on turnovers and practice free throws they could be alot better.
About the last post: Yeah, and if the sun weren't shining it would be dark. The points you make are absolutely right, but the Magic have proven most of the season that they are incapable of turning the ball over less than they do, or shooting better from the free throw line than they did on Saturday. My point is: if Orlando could beat the Pistons, then they would, but they can't, so they won't. Pistons in 4 for their first sweep in a million years.
About the last post: Yeah, and if the sun weren't shining it would be dark. The points you make are absolutely right, but the Magic have proven most of the season that they are incapable of turning the ball over less than they do, or shooting better from the free throw line than they did on Saturday. My point is: if Orlando could beat the Pistons, then they would, but they can't, so they won't. Pistons in 4 for their first sweep in a million years.
Posted: 10:27 PM, April 23, 2007   by Anonymous
You guys are HYSTERICAL. Thanks for the giggle. Pistons in 5 - even at half speed.
divider line
Search