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Hoop it up all week with SI.com's writers in the NBA Playoffs Blog, a daily journal of NBA commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
11:40 PM ET, 5/17/06

Out of focus: Pistons hardly in vintage form

Posted by Kelly Dwyer
The curious disappearance of the Detroit Pistons team that we learned to respect and admire is altogether unsettling and a little surprising. Tonight's Game 5 loss to the Cavaliers was symptomatic of a team that has showed little of the spark, fire and controlled bits of chaos that spurred the Pistons to a 64-win regular season. Instead, we've seen a lethargic bunch that seems unsure of its offensive sets, unaware of what allowed it to dash through a first-round pairing with the Bucks and uncertain as to how to get back on track.

I'm having a hard time pinning this three-game losing streak on Detroit's famous sense of who it is, or the arrogance and bluster that have held up through three top-flight coaches, two Finals appearances and the 2004 championship. And I don't think this is a team that is masking its insecurity with the stank of hubris.

This is merely an unfocused bunch of veterans, and a team of professionals that hasn't been asked to play a game that matters since early March at the latest. The Pistons roared out of the gate last November with a super-efficient touch on offense, waiting until midseason to turn on the defense (though their numbers looked solid due to a slowed pace) and reacquire their ranking among the league's defensive elite. By the end of the regular season their offensive focus had waned, though Flip Saunders' team continually tried to win on pinpoint jump shots and little else.

So, now that it is time to put it all together, the Pistons are left lacking. This is a team that has as good a resume as any. The Pistons have made a lot of noise, won a lot of games, but haven't had everything flowing seamlessly since before the All-Star break.

Tonight's outcome was in doubt until the final buzzer, and you can never count out the Pistons or count on a mercurial Cavaliers squad, but Detroit's attitude was obvious from the opening tip. The Pistons looked a step slow, uninspired and ill-prepared to deal with a Cavs team that held serve on the glass and seemed to take in every loose ball. Though Detroit held Cleveland to 38 percent shooting and nearly matched the Cavs in free throws, 17 Pistons turnovers (to Cleveland's 12) made the difference. The starting backcourt of Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton contributed 10 of the miscues and combined to shoot 11 of 32 from the floor. That'll never do, even against Flip Murray and Eric Snow, who managed to miss 15 of 17 shots.

While this series has turned into a nail-biter, and we appreciate Cleveland's focus and drive in the face of overwhelming odds, a betting man has to much prefer Detroit winning two in a row over Cleveland winning four out of five against the defending Eastern Conference champs. Role players like Donyell Marshall (14 points and 13 boards) and Damon Jones held their own. Marshall was strong on both ends, rebounding, adding unheralded help defense and coming through with a heralded block in the final seconds. LeBron James was spectacular at times, though he usually frustrated with his shot selection, which carried over from both wins in Ohio.

You don't want to criticize LeBron too much for his bouts of hideous shot selection, mainly because you can't blame the kid. Everything this cat seems to touch eventually turns to gold, and enough of these poorly conceived fadeaways go in to keep him buoyant enough to keep firing away. Tayshaun Prince is probably the league's best perimeter stopper; he makes a point to force James into these shots, and nobody wants to drive at a pair of Wallaces. And it's pretty enticing to know that you can get your own shot (albeit a fadeaway 20-footer) every time you bring the ball up court. LBJ has been surrounded by sycophants, shady facilitator-types and yes-men all his life. Nobody's gotten on him in the press, given him a nasty nickname or asked him to ignore his initial instinct. You can't blame the kid for going with what sometimes works.

But he has to stop. He has to lose these fadeaway jumpers before it turns into a habit and he forgets what got him in the league in the first place. And if he doesn't find the right balance soon, the Pistons will be in the conference finals before LeBron knows what hit him. I also blame part of this on his spotty footwork, which could have been honed on a solid college team, and sometimes leaves him unsure of how to operate in the post or the triple-threat position. It happens to the best of the preps-to-pros guys. Kobe Bryant didn't have it early, Jermaine O'Neal and Kevin Garnett still prefer the face-up jumper to the up-and-under and Tracy McGrady heads into the post once every month or so. Such are the vicissitudes of life when you have to jump right into pro hoops and start to outquick all the greybeards in front of you, rather than being forced into outsmarting them down low.

LeBron overcame his shortcomings tonight; he's still a work in progress and had my vote for MVP at age 21. But unless he spends the bulk of Friday's Game 6 driving toward the front of the rim, the Pistons (even in their current state) will be well on their way to a tie and eventual series win. His call.

*Statty Note of the Night: Have you seen the NBA commercials that detail the amount of chin-ups, pick-and-rolls, free throw attempts and dunks every team had to accrue before making the postseason? They're bogus. Tonight's commercials claimed that Cleveland shot 2305 free throws this year (nope, it was 1,689), and that Detroit had 596 blocked shots (491) along with 602 steals (actually, 580). And the playoff totals, even added to these iffy numbers, don't even add up.

Comments:

Posted: 11:50 PM   by Anonymous
Here's a "statty" you seem to have missed. You jumped right over it in your criticism of James. Maybe that's because you're totally obtuse or maybe it's becuse you've never competed for anything at his level. But the most important "statty" is, James knows how to win, and he keeps doing it. If your intent with this was to cover your earlier prediction of Detroit in 4 or 5, then just admit that. If it's because you really have no clue, I'll believe that as well.
Posted: 11:53 PM   by Anonymous
Great! Another member of a national media outlet, who still thinks the Cavs are LeBron and a bunch of buffoons, and that they've really done nothing to EARN a 3-2 lead in this series.

It's getting boring, from a Cleveland perspective, to hear guys like you constantly saying it's just a problem with the Pistons, and not the effort and guts of the Cavaliers.

Well, when the Cavaliers close out the Pistons friday night, you, and half the national media can come to Cleveland and get sick on a big helping of Crow Pie.

The Cavs have simply outplayed Detroit at the own game, but I guess that's too simply for minds like yours.
Posted: 11:58 PM   by Anonymous
C'mon Kelly, even you have to admire that Lebron has improved his outside game. It was LBJ's three that was a dagger in game 3. Lebron will learn in time. Also, I think a LOT of betting men had the Pistons winning in 6, 5 and even 4. So quite frankly, your analogy of being a better man doesn't work here. The Q is going to be delirious on Friday. If the Cavs respond, you had better give credit to whom credit is due. Right now, your credibility is at stake with this article.
Posted: 11:59 PM   by Anonymous
what about the commercial that claimed the pistons lost 1800 pounds of weight as a team. is there any way that you could verify or discredit this stat? 1800 pounds????
Posted: 12:10 AM   by d_virtuoso
Dwyer,
Give it a break. Lebron is doing everything that he should be doing. Remember, this is his very first playoffs and he is leading his team to victories that you experts (what the hell qualifies you as one, I have no idea) said were impossible. Sure he takes a few bad shots here and there, but he gets his teamates involved through unselfish play and he is still leading his team to victories.
Posted: 12:11 AM   by Anonymous
Did you lose money betting on the Pistons?
Did you really just waste your time and mine writing about the Pistons' lack of fire and Lebron's lack of footwork?
Talk about writing about all the wrong things.
Tell me what the Cavs have done on Defense - the adjustments that have been made - and how a 21-year-old is on the verge of leading a cast of miscellaneous characters to an all-time upset.
It's called reporting. Try it.
Posted: 12:14 AM   by Anonymous
Oh come on, he drives as much as he shoots, and he isn't afraid or intimidated by the two wallaces.

Of course you are entitled to your opinion. But, lebron at this stage is simply amazing, with a little bit of Magic, and a bit of Jordan.

I don't think he has to get away from his fadeaways as long as he drives and passes as well.
Posted: 12:19 AM   by Anonymous
It's funny how we read some of these articles.....He is just a kid and I remember writers as yourself referring to MJ's shot selection when the bad boy's were whooping his bulls. I agree he has much work to do but unlike Kobe or AI, the Kid passes the ball. WHO expected Cleveland to win 3 in this series? If anyone said yeah (STOP LYING). Lets all enjoy this making of the soon to be greatest BB player on earth and let him go through his growing pains.
Posted: 12:22 AM   by Jeremy
Have you missed the last 2 games when LeBron played it safe all night, then took it to the hole constantly in the 4th quarters???? Maybe you should recognize that the Cavaliers have won 3 in a row over the Detroit Pistons, and give a 21 year old some credit where its due. I love people like you that say LeBron should've went to college, I think he's doing well enough as it is. How much did college really help Mr. First Round exit Carmelo Anthony. I hope he's enjoying his one year and title at Syracuse while LeBron lights up the NBA PLAYOFFS. So, shut your mouth and realize that a team from Cleveland is good.
Posted: 12:24 AM   by Anonymous
Please write a column that succinctly states your credentials as a sports writer, or more specifically, as a basketball writer. You national guys are a joke. Every one of you does nothing more than try and "be the first" to predict something correctly. So you all make ignorant statements judt hoping that one comes true so you can say "told you so." You will be the first to kiss LBJ's feet (you know, the ones that are the genesis of all that horrible footwork) when he drops 45, 9 and 9 on the Pistons Friday clinching the series.
Posted: 12:33 AM   by sam
A little perspective -- James is dominating the NBA at the same age when Jordan was a good college player. One must question the judgment or motives of anyone who criticizes this prodigy.
Posted: 12:42 AM   by Anonymous
SCOREBOARD. Give LeBron and the Cavaliers some credit for Detroit's performance. Games 4 and 5 were both decided in the final minute and Detroit's ihnability to close the deal has to have something to do with their opponent. Is LeBron perfect...no, but he has improed his game every year and will continue to do so. As for his shot selection, I think 48 minutes a night begins to take its toll and unless the Cavaliers establish an actual offensive scheme, you are going to see more of the jumpers from LEBron.
Posted: 12:57 AM   by Anonymous
Ok all you Cav Lovers.........Pistons in 7. ;-)
Posted: 12:58 AM   by Anonymous
Calm down all you overheated types! In this series, I'm all for the Cavs because I hate Rasheed, but I agree with Dwyer that LBJ took the "J" in his name too seriously. Dwyer says he voted LBJ for MVP, then makes some valid criticism, and you guys are all over him. Chill out and get some perspective.
Posted: 12:58 AM   by kevin
Everyone is missing the key point. This improbably comeback has David Stern's signature all over it. If it is too good to be true is probably is. Watch the fourth quarter film of games three, four and five and what you will see is offensive foul after offensive foul out of everybody's favorite number 23. Not one of which was called. It was pretty much the same as in the series with the Wizards. Too bad for us the fans, that Stern has not learned his lesson. He continues to give certain players and their teams an unfair advantage to improve ratings. We saw it with Shaq and the Lakers and now with LaBron and the Cavs. James may be a great player in time but not now.
Posted: 1:03 AM   by Anonymous
And to those of you that feel LBJ is DOMINATING the NBA, get real. He is good, he will be great. But his low post game would have matured faster if he played college ball. The Cavs lose two in a row. They can't continue to play at this level, and LBJ is left biting his nails.
Posted: 1:04 AM   by Anonymous
All Cleveland has done to take control of this series is to take Detroit's game plan and shove it in their face. Shooting in the 30's will not win a game unless you step up defensively...and Lebron is leading away (notice the constant pressure and energy all players on putting on Detroit). This is not the same TEAM we saw in the regular season and Mike Brown deserves the credit for getting these guys to buy in to the defensive game plan. Cleveland stepped up...Detroit looks lost.
Posted: 1:07 AM   by Lewis Hitchcock
Mr Dwyer in documenting "a betting man has to much prefer Detroit winning two in a row over Cleveland winning four out of five against the defending Eastern Conference champs," is, in similar effect, failing the "sunk cost" concept. Cleveland's future is having to win 1 out of 2, not 4 out of 5. Its past wins have no effect on the future.
Posted: 1:13 AM   by Anonymous
This is a Piston team that man-handled the CAVS the first two games. They just vanished? No I don't buy it. Like all arrogant bullies or even a baseball closer the thing that made them the Detroit was melting away in the 4th quarter of game 2. They didn't show up for game 3 with the thought they can rap things up easily at home in game 5. But with game 4, their aura of invisibility was gone in the CAVS mind and when the CAVS fought back, Detroit realized they were in trouble. This is the true test of the CAVS coach...can he make sure these wins and all their glory doesn't go to their head. Now it's time to close them out.
Posted: 1:13 AM   by Ben
I think something should be said how the cavs, especially Lebron, have stepped up their defence in the last three games.
Posted: 1:21 AM   by Anonymous
Was it clear that Detroit was unfocused prior to playing Cleveland? Is it that Detroit's losing, and therefore they MUST be playing badly? I think the Cavs look pretty bad on occasion during this series, but I figure Detroit has something to do with it. I'll bet the Cavs have something to do w Detroit looking bad. Sportwriters, like everyone else, extrapolate from the past & miss changes. Cleveland is a better team.
Posted: 1:27 AM   by Anonymous
I'm a Detroit fan and if you can't see that LeBron is the instrumental aspect of this series, well, then I don't know what else to tell you. Honestly, Pistons may not be playing to there potential but James is their main problem
Posted: 1:32 AM   by Anonymous
Sad to say, but with all you "experts" picking the Pistons to sweep, or win in five games, why should your opinions at this point in the series merit any consideration at all?

Repeat after me......"We were all WRONG. That's why they play the games.
Posted: 1:39 AM   by Anonymous
Full disclosure, I'm not a Cavs or Pistons fan, so I'm not as upset at seeing some criticism damper what must have been an exhilerating win, but time after time tonight Bron Bron WAS shooting dumb fadeaways and bailing the Pistons out with long shots that barely grazed iron. He scored 32 points on nearly as many shots, and that's not the sign of someone who is constantly attacking the paint.

I'm excited as anyone to see an upset in Game 6, but he's right. If LeBron doesn't take it to the hoop, the Cavs are in trouble. LeBron has made great strides, and he's ahead of any other 21-year old in NBA history, but it doesn't mean he's above criticism, or above being asked to change parts of his game. You can sip the Kool-Aid, or realize that LeBron has to continue to grow and learn if the Cavs want to move on; even with a 3-2 lead. You know it's the truth: LeBron can't keep shooting fadeaway jumpers.
Posted: 1:48 AM   by Anonymous
You've gotten quite a reaction there, Dwyer. Particularly on your Lebron comments, people seem to think you are discrediting his not complete play, but they miss the point that you've stated hes 21 and fresh out of high. This guy isn't going to be an MJ or Magic for a few years to come. He might be doing all he can but his mistakes have been obvious
Posted: 2:02 AM   by kellydwyer
Take 'er easy, guys.

Above anything else, I'm after a good game. The Pistons didn't play one tonight, the Cavs played brilliantly (how about that rebounding muscle, or Marshall's help D?), LeBron was mostly astonishing but sometimes frustrating, and the result was a classic game.

I didn't post to cover my hide or let some weird motive manifest itself on SI.com. It's just a simple plea, from a guy who is a fan above all, for LeBron to take his game to the rim more often. That's all I'm hoping for. More than anything else, we want to see the guys we cover play at their absolute best, because it makes for the best story.

If you want to read about LeBron's gorgeous late-game pass to Gooden, or the beautiful left-handed drive, there are plenty of outlets out there with documentation of such. I used my platform to cast a hope that LeBron play his absolute best in the final game(s) of this series, whatever the outcome.

(As far as predictions go, I'm glad to be wrong about picking the Pistons in five. The more NBA playoff games, the better!)
Posted: 2:03 AM   by Anonymous
Hey residents of The Mistake on the Lake, what is that on Flip Murray's face?
Posted: 2:09 AM   by Joe Don
It is Official. I am a witness. Lebron James is the greatest force to hit the NBA since Jordan. Nobody and i do mean nobody in his third year has the right to go into Motown and slap around the Pistons . Kobe in his third year ? Doubt it. McGrady in his third year ? Nope not happening. Even Jordan got brought down to earth in Motown early in his career. James has dominated this series while being a team player. In short he's doing something that Kobe didn't learn how to do until last month. This guy is unreal.
Posted: 2:10 AM   by Anonymous
People like you only provide more motivation for Lebron James and the Cavaliers. Lebron spoke tonight about how this all isn't just about the game, and how there is much more to it. This team is doing this for Larry Hughes and the Hughes family as they mourn the death of Larry's brother. It's so easy for you to say Detroit will win, Lebron is doing this wrong, Lebron is doing that wrong, but the facts are the facts: Cleveland's defense has been outstanding the last three games, the likes of which the Pistons haven't seen all year. And the most important fact of all for you, Kelly: Cleveland is leading the series 3-2. Not much more needs to be said after that.
Posted: 2:10 AM   by Anonymous
The Pistons have run out of steam. But don't count them out just yet. Rip,Chauncy or Rasheed just need a decent game and they will beat Cleveland.
Posted: 2:22 AM   by Anonymous
The Pistons' defense seems to be alright, enough to keep the past couple of games close. It's the offense that bothers me.

Whatever happened to posting up Billups or Rip on the Cavs smaller guards? Or even posting up Sheed? It really does look like the Pistons' offense are out of sync, since they've gotten away from what made them successful in the first place and settling for too many Js.

Sure the Cavs have won 3 in a row, but not really in dominating fashion like the Pistons did first 2 games. If anything, it seems like the Pistons are EXPECTING to win instead of WANTING to win. Right now, they don't look like they want it, which is a shame.
Posted: 2:27 AM   by Anonymous
While Detroit probably should have won at least one of the last three games, you really have to give it to the Cavs for finishing out close games against a championship caliber team. I thought the Wizards would be a harder match-up for the Pistons than Cleveland could ever hope to be. Before watching game 5, I refused to believe that it was possible for Cleveland to take this series. While I think it is still unlikely, it is no longer outside the realm of possibility.
Posted: 2:40 AM   by deadpo8t
Did you see the Cavs celebration at the end where Anderson Varejao landed a right-swinging punch that landed on Damon Jones? I Love The NBA! =)
Posted: 2:48 AM   by Anonymous
sorry all u lebron lovers but the 'stons have the series. they have begged for something like this to happen and it finally has. the pistons wanted competition. they needed some difficulty in this championship run. do u believe in conspiracy?? the nba told the pistons after they were up 2-0 to have lebron and the cavs win to draw more viewers(after all they did have the games as prime time). the nba needed to have a new jordan and now they have crowned lebron. however they know that the pistons must win and they sure will. so i am sorry for all u jordan opps i mean lebron fans but the detroit pistons will win and are the best team in the league. thanks for the memories lebron and the flop calls).
-much love,
david stern
Cleveland has long been the proverbial Stalingrad for "championship" teams and the birthplace of a million amazing comebacks - Both for and against our teams.

There is absolutely no question - The cavs, When they are on their home turf, are at their absolute best. Game 5 was the big test, it was the great battle - Detroit had one glowing opportunity to shut down the cavs in The Motor City - Detroit plays phenominally, no doubt about that - The cavs Knew this, and they knew if the Pistons stopped em there, the odds were not in their favor for a series victory. But now all the pressure is on the Pistons, and they have no idea how to handle it against a team like Cleveland - Against a team they never showed respect for, not scince day one. The Pistons have been driven against the ropes, Goliath is stumbling around looking almost out of juice. All it's going to take is one more well placed rock, one Knockout punch to send them packing and move on.

I said it before, I'll say it again. Cav's in Six, and It's on to the Finals for the MVP Showdown of Ultimate Destiny - Wade V.s LeBron. Let the games begin.
Posted: 3:24 AM   by Anonymous
I love - love - LeBron. He's far and away my favourite player. But Kelly is right on this one. Far too often, James is content with launching fading or leaning shots from 20-plus feet rather than penetrating for his own shot or creating one for his teammates. I'm not even a Cavs fan and I often cringe watching him settle.

Y'all are right - it's hard to criticize LeBron with the Cavs up 3-2 in the series. "Scoreboard!" indeed. But the team's lead doesn't mean that the guy is playing perfect basketball.

Daniel
Posted: 3:36 AM   by Anonymous
"This is a Piston team that man-handled the CAVS the first two games. They just vanished? No I don't buy it."

Don't forget - the Cavs were tired coming into game one after back-to-back overtime wins and they had no time at all to prepare for the Pistons. They spent game 2 figuring the Pistons out and almost won the game with Lebron's monster 4th quarter, and now have won 3 in a row. Face it Kelly - the LeCavs are dominating this series.

And in today's game...

The Cavs' 2nd best player wasn't even there.
Their starting center fouled out in only 28 minutes.
Their backup center fouled out in only 19 minutes.
Their starting power forward had 4 points and 3 fouls.
Their starting backcourt shot a combined 2-17.

Can you just admit that Lebron has picked this team up on his back and carried it, and admit that you were completely wrong about what he could do, instead of just blaming everything on the Pistons and criticising whatever you can find in his game?
Posted: 3:56 AM   by Anonymous
No offense, but all this crap about learning anything in college is garbage...like college would have posed any challenge, i bet he'd get bored until March Madness started. And all this crap about a post game, he's a perimeter player, who can pass from anywhere on the perimeter and penatrate-dish. He's not gonna be passing from the post, would be a waste of his play making ability.
Posted: 3:59 AM   by Anonymous
Dwyer,
WHAT a gloss over job...I've heard carefully worded snubs before, but that give-no-credit to the Cavs spin was the most Piston biased/appologist garbage I've ever heard...If I've ever "wittnessed" a bowl of aplphabet soup full of words about to be eaten by You, Rasheed, the bookies and the rest of the media, well get your bib out, something tells me LeBron is about to serve you up a heaping of your own words!!!
The refs have these games fixed. The NBA wants LeBron in the conference finals. David Stern is paying Rip Hamilton to settle on terrible shot selection, for Rasheed to disappear for three games, and he showed Ben Wallace my vintage 7th grade basketball highlight reels before shooting on offense.

For 3.5 games the Cavaliers have wanted this more, and they're playing like it. My Pistons are playing like chumps (or, the Red Wings).

I hate basketball.
Posted: 4:28 AM   by Anonymous
Anyone saying that Lebron James should've went to college has no idea what they're talking about. I've yet to see proof that college players come in significantly more prepared than prep-to-pro kids that get to play. Andrew Bogut played 4 years in college and still has no post game. Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudamire have post moces, and neither played a lick of "amateur" college ball.

Oh, and as for Lebron taking bad shots, I agree that sometimes he settles for fadaways. But that has more to do with him being able to release it anytime he wants, and nothing to do with having gone to college. Vince Carter went to college for 3 years, and if you knock him to the floor the first quarter he'll shoot jumpers the rest of the game. Lebron has showed in this playoffs that no matter how many times you hit him, he'll drive in the 4th quarter. He's a special player, and "we're all witness."
Posted: 4:59 AM   by Anonymous
The fadeaway will get better and will serve him well when he is no longer as young and as athletic as he is now. He will soon be making these shots more consistently. Actually , I think fatigue, more than the Pistons' defense is what making James miss those shots. Remember that shooting is the first to go once fatigue sets in. And honestly, you can't barrel inside all the time, especially against that great Pistons' defense at a time when the lague allows a defined zone defense. You have to keep the defense guessing
Posted: 5:45 AM   by David
I think Kelly is right about a lot of this. James is clearly a phenomenon, and has really shown heart in these playoffs. But it's true that lots of NBA players (not just young ones) are not very well-educated or disciplined in their games. I watched one playoff game, and got so disgusted with players settling for jump shots over anybody from anywhere in any situation it made me wonder if they had ever been coached at all. NBA coaches don't have much leverage on these overpaid characters, so all you have in which to hope is maturity, intelligence, and character, which you don't need to make money, as all the young, undisciplined talents know. Someone said here that you can't blame James - yeah, true; if he's got any real desire to be a real basketball player, and not merely a highlight reel (and I think he does), he will learn. Let's just hope there's someone around to teach him.

Billups might be a good candidate, as an example. There's a guy who plays basketball. His line in game 5 was very uncharacteristic - he will come back. As for what's wrong with the Pistons, they may be complacent, as others have said. They seem to me a team that has to play at a very high level to win, which they have usually done, as everyone knows, with defense, rebounding, and intelligence. But I think their bench is a noticeable weakness. McDyess is steady, as is Hunter, but that's about it. On offense, R. Wallace is undependable, and Hamilton, for all his virtues, is usually not going to beat you. Without the development of Prince (which surprised me), and Billups' smart play, the Pistons would seem actually rather weak to me.

Look at the Cavs, considered far below the Pistons. But as spotty as their lineup is, even without Hughes they have an 8-man rotation. In game 5 they had 2 big guys foul out, who made real contributions, and then had 2 more who made key plays down the stretch to win. Imagine the Pistons losing 2 of their big guys and winning. Damon Jones also sometimes provides that little extra. That 8th or 9th guy can make or break you in these close series, can put you in a position for your stars to finish.

The Pistons should come back from this. They have been a very disciplined team, which has enabled them to beat others with more talent. But even if they somehow get to the final Finals, I can't see them getting past 6 games.
Posted: 5:46 AM   by Anonymous
I can honestly say without a doubt in my mind that your quite frankly the most arrogant unknowing journalist I've witnessed in some time Kelly. You're just a Pistons fan and can't accept the fact that your team is losing or for that matter understand that they're being outplayed. You won't give the Cavaliers due credit they deserve, instead you continue to stand by your sinking ship. When will you wake up man? The Pistons and everything they did in the season mean absolutely nothing now! All that matters now is that the cavaliers are up 3-2 and can close the Pistons out at home. Kelly your writing is dissapointing me of lately, I hope this bad streak of yours ends soon, maybe try taking a few tips from Chris Ballard...
Posted: 5:50 AM   by Anonymous
Let's face it, James at just a couple of years is MORE intelligent than Kobe. This fact is pretty evident when it comes to close games where a last shot spells victory or doom. With the Lakers, you already know it's gonna be Bryant. Even if he gets quadruple teamed in his face, he'll still try to be the hero and ends up a loser. With James, you get a guy who suddenly senses he'll be swarmed and send the ball to the open man. How many times has this occured? We've seen it form James- > Hughes -> Jones, now James -> Gooden. If this was Bryant,he'd heave a prayer even if the entire 5 squad is swarming him. I'm no fan of James but he deserves new found respect. KUDOS to the Cavs. I hope they meet Miami next week.
Posted: 5:53 AM   by Peter, London
There's one big difference to the Cabvs this year that are making them contenders. It's a guy with the initials AV getting the minutes he deserves.
Posted: 6:48 AM   by Anonymous
"But unless he spends the bulk of Friday's Game 6 driving toward the front of the rim, the Pistons (even in their current state) will be well on their way to a tie and eventual series win. His call. "

I simply cannot understand this challenge. Its stating that if LeBron doesn't change his game, immediately and as fast as he can, all hope is lost for Cleveland. That is the goofiest bit of writing I have seen in some time, thats the kind of commentary a pundit should be expected to make when the team is LOSING. I appreciate the Pistons are fantastic when they are playing well, and that fadeaway jumpers aren't the means of becoming a dynasty for Cleveland & LeBron, but to claim that the Cavs have to make big changes in the next game in order to have a fighting chance is just silly. Its not rational, and actually a bit unacceptable from an objective standpoint (I could care less about the outcome as a suffering Blazers fan)...
Posted: 6:55 AM   by Anonymous
Spot on with your commentary. The Pistons are sluggish and thought they would just show up and win this series. The Cavs are getting increased production from journeyman/competent NBA personnel and Mike Brown is making in game adjustments as Detroit changes their defensive strategy. LeBron has faults, but his sheer talent and athletic superiority diminishes these faults. If he ever learns to put it all together, he could go down as the best baller of all time.
The Cavs better win in Cleveland -- they won't repeat in Detroit!
Posted: 7:12 AM   by Anonymous
lebron james does need to work on his shot selection but you write as though they are losing. Lebron's still having a big role in the series when he misses shots thanks to his playmaking. Stop hating on Cleveland.
Posted: 7:20 AM   by chad
Mr. Dwyer..please name another 21 yr old who has performed at this level in the NBA? NBA Playoffs ? In a 7 game series against the "best" team in the NBA?
Further, are you suggesting his game has not improved while in the NBA?
Must be nice to be so good at your craft that you have no room to improve.
Posted: 7:42 AM   by Anonymous
We are all wittnesses!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 7:58 AM   by Anonymous
The pistons largely struggled since they did not get a chance to play their starters together for an extended time. I can't believe I can say this but this series has made me doubt coach Saunders skills
Posted: 8:05 AM   by Anonymous
I am not a fan of either team, but still have watched the series. Detroit is not playing that poorly, Cleveland is just outplaying them. They have that sense of urgency and they just show that they want it more. I know that I might get flamed for saying this, but Detroit is a better Basketball team, even if they lose. Cleveland just overtook them by pure heart. I also disagree with a lot of LeBron's shot selections but he will learn. He is making them when it counts and that is what matters when winning games.
Posted: 8:15 AM   by Anonymous
Please, all of you Lebron haters are just mad he isn't on your team. The guy is DOMINATING the pistons. He got robbed of the MVP trophy, and you are teeling me he isn't that good. Get real piston fans.
Posted: 8:19 AM   by Anonymous
Its amazing how you experts are all in denial. What is this, a national conspiracy. Every morning after a cleveland win all i hear and read is that DETROIT is beating it's self. Give us all a break. Remember Round 1 cleveland had no defence and do you see the defensive intensity now. LBJ's supporting cast may not be good but they have heart. Ok i will give you some reasons for Cleveland's wins (you can pass them off as your own)
Varejao: he is killing people on the boards and his picks are really good
Donyell, Jones: They might not score always but they do when they are wide open
Murray: This was the best pick Danny Ferry made
LBJ: the King
Posted: 8:20 AM   by Anonymous
From the start of the season Mike Brown's emphasis was on building a great defensive team. It took 82 regular season games for the Cavs to buy in to it. The Cavs have the Pistons on their heels, they are the ones who will be tight on Friday night, a night when you WILL NOT be able to hear yourself think @ The Q. Look for another close game and "WITNESS" the Cavs moving on to play the Heat. Wadsworth Ohio loves ya Cavs, and yes, "WE BELIEVE."
Posted: 8:21 AM   by Anonymous
Come on, give some credit to Mike Brown for coaching this Cavs team this far. LeBron may not be playing it the way you think he has to, but that man has adapted and so has the whole CAVs team. Face it, Detroit owned the CAVs in the regular season and it is tough for them to adjust to losing to a CAVs team that has suddenly switched to playing their kind of ball.

You're right that LeBron has gotten some kid glove treatment in the press, but don't you think that has something to do with the humble, down to earth attitude he brings to the microphone. He wants to win as much as anybody, but he has done well to stay close to home and stay grounded.

Cleveland is also breathing a sigh of relief that life under Dan Gilbert's ownership is looking pretty good - Hopefully Mr. Gilbert's mortgage empire survives long enough to sign LeBron to another contract.
Posted: 8:21 AM   by Anonymous
This is just another case of the national media disrespecting Cleveland and LeBron. They are all eating their words right now and I love every second of it. Keep fueling the fire morons! When the CAVS close it out at home Friday, I wouldn't doubt that the media jumps on the bandwagon and expects nothing but a championship because they beat the "BEST" team. GO CAVS and GO LEBRON!
Posted: 8:23 AM   by Anonymous
GOOD NIGHT! Why is it that seemingly NO sportswriters can give LeBron and the Cavaliers credit for the way they are playing?
LBJ is not perfect, but I challenge you to find someone who was better at his age. I agree & admit that James shouldn't take so many jumpers, but only when he misses. Since you continue to MISS on your predictions, maybe you and the media should begin to admit it as well.
The bigger problem here is, too many thought that there would never be a player as good as MJ, and now we have to deal with the realization that it is beginning to happen. DEAL WITH IT
Posted: 8:31 AM   by Anonymous
I am not a fan of either Detroit or Cleveland, but I am truly enjoying how the Cavs are betaing up in the Pistons. Detroit is like the proverbial king that everybody realizes that he is naked. His regular season record got fad by playing the bottom feeders of the NBA. Now that they are facing real competion they do not know what to do. They just talk big but they can not back it up. Cleveland in 6.
Posted: 8:47 AM   by Anonymous
Kelly, you actually wrote the following statement: "And if he [LeBron] doesn't find the right balance soon, the Pistons will be in the conference finals before LeBron knows what hit him."
Please tell me that was a joke, bc if you were serious in that statement, which I think you were, than I feel sorry for the guys at SI that have to write your paycheck. Umm hello!!!?!?! Its the Pistons that dont know what hit them!!! How could you even say that LeBron needs to find the right balance or the Cavs are done when they just won THREE FREAKIN GAMES IN A ROW!!! Detroit hasnt lost three games in a row all year!! You must have a learning disability, bc normal people would have learned a lesson after witnessing LeBrons domination the past 3 games. Cleveland is outplaying Detroit at they're own game, about to make one of the biggest NBA Playoff upsets in history and your writing about LeBrons lack of footwork skills?? Please stop with the cynical, uninspiring writing, its getting old and you just keep making yourself look worse. Just admit that the Cavs are better than anyone expected, LeBron is becoming one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game, and if Coach of the Year voting was done after the playoffs, than Mike Brown would have won.
Posted: 8:47 AM   by Anonymous
Dwyer, your analysis of the series is short-sided. Yeah, LBJ under a microscope will undoubtedly uncover facets of his game that need to improve. I suppose this may be a surprise, afterall, he is as you suggest, an mvp candidate having only a few years in the league. More constructively, I would say that the cavs as a team need to convert more foul shot opportunities. LBJ included, but ultimately the cavs are winning as a team and the pistons are losing as a team. After visiting st. louis you can see the difference in the team cohesiveness. Go cavs. Go labreeze.
Posted: 8:56 AM   by Anonymous
I wonder . . . have you even WATCHED any of the games? You criticize LeBron's fundamentals, meanwhile a "veteran" a SECOND TEAM ALL-NBA PLAYER, Ben Wallace, costs his team the game by going ZERO FOR SEVEN FROM THE LINE!!! Oh, and the final margin of victory was gifted to the Cavs by the "veteran" and "experienced" acts of Flip Saunders and Rasheed Wallace that gave the Cavs two technical free throws (which they made).

Do your readers a favor: get a tape of one of the last 3 games and actually watch it before you write another column.
Posted: 8:57 AM   by Anonymous
I am a lifelong Cavs fan and I'm as surprised as most at their success so far. Lebron is 21 years old and doing things nobody else has at that age. Your article seems to focus on the few things he has done wrong as opposed to what he and his teammates have down right. What have they done right? So far dominate the Pistons since the 4th quarter of game two. Go back and look at it. A questionable charge call on James with a minute and a half to go saved the Pistons. Otherwise the Cavs may have won four straight. I realize it aint over till its over but, "King James" and his teammates are making everyone stand up and take notice. All hail!
Posted: 8:58 AM   by Anonymous
I wholly agree that Lebron needs to get down in the post more, but if he doesnt jack up some outside shots and make even a few of them, then Tayshaun will be right up on him. If the Pistons dont believe he can hit the jumper than they wont let him drive. The balance is fine and the kid clearly knows what hes doing. 2 minutes left in the 4th and how does lebron give the Cavs the lead? Driving around Tayshaun and laying it high off the glass over Big Ben.
Posted: 9:00 AM   by Anonymous
Bad shots from LBJ? What's his field goal percentage genious?
Posted: 9:06 AM   by Anonymous
Great point about what some time in college would have done for LeBron's "footwork". . . except then, he'd have been, you know, in friggin' COLLEGE instead of the NBA, in which he had a rookie season where he was one of the Top 20 players in the league, a second season in which he moved to the Top 10, and third season in which he is arguably the best player in the league and is on the verge of leading his team to the Eastern Conference finals at the age of 21. How can anyone watch this guy dominate the league, and suggest that he -- or the league, or its fans -- would have been better off if he had spent a year working on his "footwork" in college? Unbelievable.
Posted: 9:11 AM   by Anonymous
I find it amazing, even though you state you voted for Lebron as MVP, that you can criticize LeBron when he is the reason they are where they are. End of point. In case you did not notice, the Cavs are up in this series, not the Pistons. They are the winners for the moment. Be a man and criticize those who are not helping their team win, which could be a number of Piston players. The playoffs have really exposed some announcers and writers like yourself for what they are, know it alls who always have to be right-to the point they say ignorant things to back it up.
Posted: 9:17 AM   by Anonymous
Detroit is my home, but I donot like the Pistons because of their arrogance and old-fashioned ideas; just like the City of Detroit (a failure).
Posted: 9:24 AM   by Anonymous
i agree with a previous post - 4th quarter in games 3, 4, 5 had no offensive fouls called on King James. This is Mr. Stern orchestrating some of the best sports television we have seen in years. The NBA is a big business - it is all about making money. King James - yes great player - but what has happened to the pistons (besides the fact that their turnovers have increased) is the lack of respect from the officials in the play offs. The fouls in game 5 were being called left, right and center. On the Pistons...but as the game got close and finally became a "game" suddenly Z and Varajao were called with a few. You know - we can all admit it, this is just another soap opera but the setting is an arena instead of a restaurant.
Go Pistons!
Posted: 9:32 AM   by Anonymous
Regarding the NBA's "Statty" commercials - Are you taking into account any player that was on the roster throughout the season? Take the pistons for example- Did you include any Darko or Carlos Arroyo stattys acrued during their time in Detroit? More research required, my friend.
Posted: 9:33 AM   by Anonymous
I'm also a die hard Pistons fan but the Cavs are just simply a better team right now. Lebron brings more to a team than any other player in the NBA by far. His fade aways are easily higher percentage shots in most cases than the team could get otherwise, since they usually come toward the end of the shot clock. I can not see how anyone could justify someone else in the NBA getting the MVP.
Posted: 9:33 AM   by Anonymous
You Piston fans are idiots. Don't expect Detroit to come out of the Q Friday with a win.
Posted: 9:35 AM   by Anonymous
Anyone else out there who is sick and tired of the Cavs getting no respect raise your hand. All I hear about is how the Pistons are giving away this series. How about hearing how the Cavs are TAKING IT? Seriously, if all you national media guys have nothing better to do than to sit and pick apart Lebron's game, get a day job. You guys can't seem to take it that Joe Redneck could have predicted what happens in the series better that you, who make way to much money doing nothing. BTW, after Friday night, you all are invited to the Q for a good hearty feast of CROW.
Posted: 9:39 AM   by Anonymous
These Cavs fans cannot be serious....You actually think the Pistons are playing their game? Please, the Pistons are too busy booking their flights to Miami, that's the real problem. Here's a stat for you. The Pistons were down 3-1 to the Magic 3 years ago, and they came back and won that series. Two years ago, they were down 3-2 to the Nets, and they won that series. Last year, they were down 3-2 to the Heat, and guess what? They won that one too. The last time they were down 3-2 was against the Spurs in the NBA Finals, and they lost the game in the 4th quarter of game 7. They only play well with their backs against the wall, and they know that.
Posted: 9:39 AM   by Tom
Two words: LeBron James
Posted: 9:39 AM   by Anonymous
I'd like to bring up the earlier comment about Lebron's offensive fouling. It is true, if the rules were like they are in college, not in the nba. Lebron uses his right arm frequently to push off defenders on his left handed drive, not as much vice versa but its still there. He doesn't need to normally, but against these long armed pistons he has. While the pistons D has been nothing spectacular, they are feeling the short end of the nba stick that is superstar treatment, as they lack a true superstar of lebron's caliber of their own. Lebron is money though, no one can deny that. However, this does have the writings of a David Stern miracle all over it as the pistons have had chances to win in 3 consecutive games yet have come up short in some truly disgusting finishing sequences. Pistons in 7
Posted: 9:41 AM   by Anonymous
lebron's j is inconsistent. there is no doubt. but he HAS to shoot it ENOUGH to keep the pistons honest. if you watch the game, prince sags off lebron, and two big men stand directly behind prince. when lebron hits a couple J's, prince comes up on him, and the big men move out from the rim. this then allows lebron to beat prince, and slip inside the big men to the rim.
so lebron HAS to shoot the J to open up the lane. you can't separate the two aspect of his game. they are causally related; if all he did ws go to the rim, he would be much easier to defend. and, just for the record, the guy shot 44% from the field, with 32 points against the best defense in the league. clearly he is making more good decisions than bad.
Posted: 9:43 AM   by Anonymous
The more I read of the national media "experts" the more I have to laugh. It's all about the Pistons. When they win it's about how great of a team they are, how unselfish and how the Cavs are no match for them. When the Pistons lose, it's still all about the Pistons. The Pistons lost it, they were lethargic, they disappeared.

How about a little credit to the Cavs? Could it be the Cavs have been winning because they've been the better team? That's the point of a 7 game series. The cream rises to the top. It's not just the luck of winning one or two games, it's about sustaining it for four wins.

Who knows how this will turn out? Maybe Cleveland will win. Maybe Detroit will win. Why don't you just leave the predicting alone? When it comes to predicting the "experts" look plain silly.
Posted: 9:46 AM   by I-Witness
Let's see.... the Cavs are on the brink of landing a huge upset, and almost all of your pitiful commentary is on your perceived shortfalls of the "King".
The bottom line.... Rasheed opened up his mouth, and the Cavs have nailed it shut. The "King" & his minion trump the Detroit Five, and leaves the Motor City in the "Witness" protection program. Yes !
Posted: 9:50 AM   by Anonymous
Actually, the type of game the Pistons play works to the Cavs' advantage. Detroit is a perimeter shooting team with a weak bench. Two years ago they had Corliss Williamson, Mike James, and Mehmet Okur coming off the bench. Secondly, the Pistons are one of the worst scoring teams in the paint in the NBA. This allows the Cavs to get out in the open court. That will all change if they play Miami. Miami is the number one scoring team in the paint in the league, they have a deeper bench, and a player in Wade who will spend all his time in the paint rather than firing up three-point boms. The Heat will no doubt pound the ball inside to O'Neal who will force Cavs defenders to scramble and close out. In essence the Pistons are a better match-up for the Cavs then the Heat.
Posted: 9:57 AM   by Anonymous
Are you high or something? Yes, Lebron isn't perfect, but for him to come in and single-handedly will a team to victory at age 21 is quite a remarkable feat. Just continue to downplay Lebron and company, and they will just continue to win.

By the way, what's your name anyways? You still haven't made a name for yourself like Lebron has at age 21.
Posted: 9:57 AM   by Anonymous
Math...

The Cavs do not have to win four out five. They need to win one out of two. The probability of them winning games 3 through 5 is now one, it happened.

So now the question revolves around the odds of the Cavs winning one game in two chances. Suddenly it does not look as bleak as you made it seem.

Assuming the Pistons had a 70% chance or less of winning each individual game, the odds favor the Cavaliers.
Posted: 9:59 AM   by Anonymous
Maybe Dwyer should take a scoop out of the humble pie the Cavs have served the Pistons in the past 13 quarters. Detroit is a great team; the Cavs are going to be great, and their maturity is forming now at the right time. Give them some credit already!
Posted: 9:59 AM   by Anonymous
NOTE TO KELLY: Where is your friend Chris Mannix??? I haven't seen a column from him in over a week. I think I know why. I saw that they TOOK DOWN his article after Game 2. Why did they take it down? Maybe because it featured the following quote: "the Pistons-Cavaliers series has turned into a battle of David versus Goliath except in this analogy David doesn't have a slingshot and he's fighting Goliath from a wheelchair. With a hook for a hand. And an eye patch." Then he went on to say ":"...Saturday night the series shifts back to Cleveland. The Quicken Loans Center will be rocking, we will all be witnesses, yada, yada, yada. But this series is over. Last week, I picked the Pistons to win this series in five games. I'm sticking with that prediction, but with one disclaimer: would anyone be surprised if Detroit wraps this up in four?"

Now, why on earth would SI.com remove that article from the website. I'm very interested in hearing from Chris says now.
Posted: 10:05 AM   by pat22
The Cavs are better then everybody expected, I'll give you that. But the real story here is how the Pistons could loose 3 in a row to a team that was so-so in the East. Let's ask this question: who is waiting for a Cavs- Heat match-up....nobody, everyone wants to see the Walaces battle it out with Shaq and Flash.
Posted: 10:06 AM   by Danny
After reading most of the comments after the story, I have to admit that I agree with the content of the article. Obviously I am a Piston Fan, but really the Piston's are beating themselves, the CAVs are playing really well but come on people, wake up. Detriot has not been down all year I can remember when the Pistons were down against Orlando two years ago, maybe that is what is needed, a sense of "if we lose we are really going to hate ourselves in the off season". Lebron will be the most dominate player for years to come but right now he is about to get slapped back to reality on Friday mark my words.
Posted: 10:07 AM   by pat22
Let's ask this question: Who wants to see a Cavs-Heat conference final....Nobody.
Everybody is waiting to see a 7 game series of teh Walaces battling it out with Shaq and Flash.
Posted: 10:09 AM   by Anonymous
Get used to it Cleveland. LA gave Detroit no credit. It was what they did wrong that led to our championship. Same scenario here.
Cleveland has done nothing to impress anyone other than outhustle Detroit. If the Pistons desire ever returns...hang it up..its a mismatch.
Posted: 10:12 AM   by Anonymous
Is bad shot selection and bad footwork all you could come up with? Have you forgotten that LBJ lead the league in points in the paint. He also lead in and 1's. This is just another national media guy tasting the crow pie he's been served. LBJ does have some things to work on but if you can't see that LeBron and the Cavs are simply outplaying the Pistons then you should change professions. Why does everyone thinks its Detroits fault for losing. Was it the Cavs fault when they won??
Excellent, objective post. Lebron is far from a finished product, but he is learning a lot on the fly and continues to achieve more than was expected. I put my faith in the maturity of James and the coaching staff that he will cut down on settling for the jumpers. In the 4th quarter of game 5, what was most effective was a new type of "triple threat": high pick and roll with Damon Jones spread out on the wing and Varejo cutting to the hoop...pick your poison, double team Lebron and leave either jones or varejo/gooden open. Or take your chances and let Lebron drive to the hoop. Thank god Z fouled out because he was not able to execute this play properly. Kudos to Mike Brown for recognizing the matchup.
Posted: 10:18 AM   by Anonymous
I thought the stats on those commercials were the combined totals of ALL teams in the round? Playoff totals only right?
Posted: 10:24 AM   by Anonymous
Spotty footwork? Man that is great. This isn't Riverdance this is the playoffs. The point is to score more points than your opponent and in case you missed it that's what the Cavs have done the last three games. Lebron should of done a piroette before dishing to Gooden for the go ahead score. Maybe then you would be happy.
Posted: 10:26 AM   by Anonymous
Cavs still get no respect from the pundits-- we'll see after Friday
Posted: 10:30 AM   by Anonymous
Boy, I bet you can't tell where these people reside?
I will save you all the guessing, I am a Detroit Piston fanatic, and I am steaming at the lack of effort on Detroit's part.
There is no doubt who the better team is when both are playing 100%, and if your arguing that the Pistons are not the better team all things being equal then your smoking something.
However, the better team this series has been the Cavs, for the following reasons.
1. The Pistons have become full of themselves and their ability to score. Larry Brown wouldn't have settled for their offensive attitude. Funny how the entire NBA stroked Flip Saunders for his offensive genius. Must have forgot that in the Playoffs, Flip has done NOTHING.
2. Flip Saunders has been outcoached in every game this series except for game 1, where it took a real genius to coach a team shooting 65% and 80% from 3 point land. He has done a poor job with his bench, whom I would give the edge to over Cleveland before this series started
3. Chauncey Billipus has let him and his team down and personified their lassie fare attitude. When he wants it he is the best PG, (yes I included Steve Nash) because no PG can take over a game like CB. Let me give you a hint CB, real MVP's turn it on every game and make rythmn happen and WANT to take over
Give the Cavs all the credit in the world, but this series isn't over if the Pistons pull their heads out of you know where
Posted: 10:31 AM   by Anonymous
We are all witnesses.
Posted: 10:39 AM   by Anonymous
The NBA is cyclical. Remember in the 2004 Finals when everyone kept saying, "OK, so the Pistons won a game, two games... the Lakers will wake up and come out focused, and destroy them." Anyone remember how that series turned out?

The Pistons had nothing to lose in that series because everyone picked LA, and likewise, LA had EVERYTHING to lose (4 HOFers starting, coach with 9 rings, etc.).

The Pistons have everything to lose here, and the Cavs have nothing to lose. And when you have the best player on the floor (LBJ) and nothing to lose, look out.

To that person that said Stern's fingerprints are all over this, think back to that 2004 Finals: if Stern controlled all of this kind of stuff, wouldn't he have wanted the Lakers to win more than 1 game in that series?
Posted: 10:43 AM   by Anonymous
Yes and No. Yes, LeBron settles for far too many outside jumpers while he is fading away or to the side. One can only hope his shot selection improves with time. No, you can't say the Pistons are losing this series because they aren't focused; that doesn't give enough credit to the Cavs, who have outplayed them for 3.5 games now. Even in the first game route, the Cavs didn't play too badly--Detroit hit 14 of 15 threes at one point! Change that to 40% shooting (still good) and the game is a tossup, which is where we have been ever since.
Posted: 10:46 AM   by Anonymous
Has anyone pointed out that everyone from Cleveland things that Kelly is wrong? Oh, ok, just wanted to make sure everyone got that point.
Posted: 10:48 AM   by Anonymous
Go ahead, put your $ on the Pistons. This series is going EXACTLY as I expected (from the blowout in game 1 to the present). Game 6 is the last game in this series. Go ahead and put your $ on the Pistons.
Posted: 10:57 AM   by Anonymous
Since you guys in the national media constantly want annoint Detroit as the NBA champions, why even bother playing the rest of the games? Well guess what? Detroit is not as good as you think. The Cavs have made simple some adjustments that you apparently haven't noticed since you think Detroit is "just off their game". After the first two games the Cavs have really clamped down defensively. And then the Cavs have started running more pick n roll plays. That's right, the pick n roll which is one of basketballs most basic plays is all it takes to break down Detroit's "great" defense. Detroit's finished. Get used to it.
Posted: 11:03 AM   by Anonymous
Wow. A lotta touchy posters here. I adore the King, but Kelly's got a point. LeBron takes bad shots. And LeBron hasn't dominated the NBA, as one poster wrote. Jordan and Pippen went to the finals 6 times and won 6 times. That's domination. LeBron has impressed, but I'm not impressed by anyone that asserts that LeBron dominates the NBA or people that can't consider that LeBron makes major mistakes.
Posted: 11:15 AM   by Anonymous
Who gives a damn about Lebron or the Pistons!!!?? Either one is getting their butt handed to them by D-Wade and the Heat anyway.
Posted: 11:18 AM   by Anonymous
And one more thing from the poster who said, "go ahead and put your $ on the Pistons." Another huge reason for the current state of this series is Flip Saunders. He didn't get it done in Minn. The same thing is happening now. You think the Pistons want Larry Brown back now, just for this situation? You writers never talk about the psychological aspects of the game (most anyway). In playoff b-ball, these aspects are just as important as Xs and Os.
Posted: 11:26 AM   by Anonymous
All of you experts are full of it. All of you had detroit in either 4 or 5 over cleveland and New Jersey over Miami. Yall don't understand the game of basketball. Playoff basketball is different then regular season. The intensity is much higher and all those open 3s are contested in the playoff. Detroit was a great basketball team that went away from their strength (defense). All season they have been too happy to fire away from behind the arc. Cleveland has simply pushed them off the tree point line, and they are not accustomed to posting up inside. Their only post up guy is in love with the tree point line. All year long I've known that detroit would have problems in the play offs. But I though it was going to happen agaist Miami, I feel Miami is a better team then detroit because they play a inside outside game. Go Cleveland.
Posted: 11:35 AM   by Anonymous
The CAVS are playing out of their mind to beat a Pistons team that misses open shots and lacks their trademark intensity on defenece. The pistons did it last year against the HEAT - my team of choice - having to win the last 2 games. I think I'd rather see the CAVS against the HEAT because I do not see them sustaining their energy draining intensity all the way to the finals.
Posted: 11:37 AM   by Anonymous
Certainly sounds like a guy who's desperate to hold onto his pre-series beliefs that the Cavaliers had no chance in this series. I'm a Cavs fan, but a "Cleveland realist" who is always waiting for the Drive or Fumble or Jose Mesa to happen. Yes, the Cavs may be over their heads a bit right now, but give them some stinkin' credit for making the Pistons look bad, too. What Detroit has failed to do is respect Cleveland -- guaran-Sheed.
Posted: 11:40 AM   by Anonymous
The outcome of the series has been pre-ordained by Nike. In Cleveland they are airing commercials with the slogan "We are Witnesses." People are being shown in black t-shirts with the word "witness" and the Nike swoosh. Not even the Pistons can overcome Nike. Cavs in 6.

This series is the beginning of what will be the Lebron James legend.
Posted: 11:40 AM   by Anonymous
Does Hubie Brown write a column? He is the only analyst I respect much anymore...because he is actually an analyst as opposed to someone who makes up a storyline beforehand and tries to cram the events into it. It's too bad. Writing like this does nothing to illuminate the game.

James' drives to the hole and Cleveland's newfound defensive energy have altered the landscape of this series. It isn't that the Pistons are "bored" or "demoralized" or "sad" or something. Their defense is predicated on allowing penetration that will be stopped by the Wallaces. Hasn't work with James, "bad footwork" and all. Early in game 4 that was clear as day. Without being able to play that style Detroit is simply not as good a defensive team as advertised. Their perimeter D becomes exposed for the risk it is and you end up with 4 players running to the paint to stop him, more open perimeter shots, and more deep rebounds than the Pistons are geared for.

James jacks up some kooky J's, but if you watched Cleveland's offense all year (what are the odds this guy has seen 10 games?), you know why. Often it's going to be that, a 24, or an E-Snow 15 footer. I'll take the kooky J even though it makes you cringe too. The offense is herky-jerky and LBJ can't drive to the hole every time down when he is playing 47.9 minutes a game. That has a lot to do with his shot selection. LBJ is smarter than 95% of the analysts who cover him. He knows basketball. That line about sycophants is meaningless and a perfect example of the shoddy writing that passes for "analysis."

I hear Psychology Today is looking for a writer.
Posted: 11:45 AM   by Anonymous
So in your "blog" after the game, you thought of his footwork? You didn't want to talk about what he or the team did to win Game 5 in Detroit? You spent more time criticizing the Cavs than giving them the props they earned. I had the Cavs losing in 5. I figured it would be a good learning experience for the young Cavs. LBJ is just proving that he is the best perimeter player in the game. I'm hoping they win this series so him and Wade can go heads up for that title.
Posted: 11:48 AM   by Anonymous
Wow, got some angry Cavs fans in here, eh? All props to LBJ and the Cavs for playing much better than anybody expected, but Dwyer is right in that you still have to treat Detroit as the favorite at this point. Honestly, Cleveland fans, look how close the Washington series was, and Detroit is obviously a much more talented team than Arenas and his ballboys. Detroit looks like they're getting outcoached and outhustled, not out-talented. If those are the factors that end up knocking them out, then Dwyer is right that you have to blame the lackluster Detroit attitudes.
Posted: 11:49 AM   by Anonymous
Has anyone noticed that Lebron holds out his off arm (like a stiff arm block in football) whenever he drives the lane? The two stories in this series have been the collapse of the arrogant Pistons and the ascension (at least to Stern and the refs) of Lebron James as the "Air" apparent of the infamous NBA superstar calls.
Posted: 11:50 AM   by Anonymous
Lewis,
Kelly's claim of a "betting man" preferring the Pistons over the Cavs for the rest of the series isn't an opinion or a sunk cost fallacy but a statement of fact. At Tradesports right now Cleveland's odds are about 1.7 to 1. That means Detroit is still a reasonably big favorite to win the series. If you are certain Cleveland is going to win, then I found some easy money for you.
Posted: 11:51 AM   by htheiss1151
Lets just get to Friday night and see what happens. We can go back and forth about this for the next 30+ hours but here is what it boils down to, other than the obvious being the Cavs need to win. If there is any team that can win these 2 games its the Pistons. As a long suffering Cleveland fan I realize what can happen here. They've been here before and know how to win these games. Cleveland is simply outplaying the Pistons right now. We can talk about fouls that either should or should not have been called. We can talk about the Pistons not being on their game the last 3 games. But why doesn't anyone talk about the fact the Pistons routed the Cavs the 1st game is because they hit 15-22 3 pointers and had 9-10 by halftime? That is absolutely nuts. What team in the NBA could withstand that? The Cavs had 48 points at the half in that game and were down by 21. Detroit came back down to Earth and are now fighting for their lives. If people wanna talk about things that happen here and there that change the outcome of the game, try not to be so one sided. I normally wouldn't be talking about this kind of thing because I know the game isn't decided on one play. If you wanna add another one for the Cleveland side (since no one else likes to mention these things) what about Ben Wallace's "Offensive Rebound" he supposedly got after the shotclock violation in game 2. That was inside 2 minutes I believe and the Cavs would've had position down 4 instead of 6. But I wasn't crying about it after the game. Why don't you "experts" give Cleveland some respect for beating the Pistons at their own game? GO CAVS!!!!!
Posted: 11:52 AM   by Maven
Yes LeBron is playing like a team leader, however there is one more crucial piece of eveidence that no one seems to see as one of the most subtle nuances of this series. Mike Brown, yes he is a rookie coach but a rookie coach who knows how to break down film. Remeber He started out as a video coordinator with the Denver Nuggets. Then learned from Popovich and Carlyle(sorry if I mispelled dhis name. Great Defensive minds, and Champioship caliber coaching mentored him. He has truly earned his keep through the ranks. And you may think I am crazy but after witnessing the slow footed Heat and the Swollen Ego that was called the Detroit Pistons(I liked them till their arrogance destroyed the purity of their game)I feel Cleveland can make it to the NBA Finals. As the commercial syas we are all witnesses. Remember once he got a taste of the Prime time life he doesn't want to seem to give it up till he gets the championship a possibility in his first year. WOW!
Posted: 11:53 AM   by Anonymous
The Detroit Pistons are the epitome of a great team. In the past few games they have let their hubris take over them. Now everyone will see what happens when you put Detroit in the position they are in right now. They will WIN. Sorry to disappoint you Cavs fans. Lebron is a great player, almost as good as Prince. BUT he will not be able to pull this craziness over DETROIT!
Posted: 11:55 AM   by Anonymous
I am a huge pistons fan but i have to admit that the cavs have earned my respect... and for that i say pistons in 7 ;)
Posted: 11:56 AM   by Kalapati
Detroit has been sleeping, now you will see them roar as they take this series. They let the Cavs fool around too much and NOW they realize that. Watch, they will come back and take their crown. The Cavs are not as worthy for a championship as the Detroit Veterans are.
Posted: 11:58 AM   by Anonymous
It's Ok to say that the Cavs are playing better, but the Cavs are not a better team.

I still think the Pistons will win in 7, only because they seem to play better when it an "Us vs. the World" situation.

If the Cavs lose game 6 at home, I don't think they can win 2 in a row against Detroit at the Palace.

It's been an excellent series, as have all except NJ/Miami
Posted: 11:59 AM