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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.
1:10 AM ET, 5/30/06

These aren't the real Pistons

Posted by Chris Mannix
Pistons
This isn't the same confident, collected bunch that won back-to-back conference titles.
AP
Composed has never been a word associated with the Detroit Pistons. Savvy maybe. Cool under pressure. But whenever you have a fiery presence like Rasheed Wallace on your roster, you're always going to be considered a volatile bunch.

Yet perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Pistons' utter collapse -- and that's what it is, a collapse -- this series has been the top-to-bottom meltdown of the players. Think about it: For all the issues surrounding the imminent departure of Larry Brown last season, rarely did you hear a Detroit player publicly criticize the coach. Even when SI's Jack McCallum broke the news last year that Ben Wallace was especially incensed at Brown's antics, you didn't hear a peep out of Big Ben. Just a "naw" and a shake of his head, as if the news that he and Brown were feuding came as this incredible revelation.

Flip Saunders? Apparently Flip has earned no such respect. We've all heard about the criticisms of Saunders this series, from Ben Wallace to Rasheed Wallace to Tayshaun Prince. Flip knows offense; Flip don't know defense. I'm not saying they're wrong: For all of Saunders' offensive wizardry, he has a mediocre defensive crew on his hands, an astonishing statement considering there are three All-Defensive players in his starting lineup and one (Rasheed) who missed making the team by one vote. Yes, they are struggling. But to criticize the coach? In public? What good does that do anyone?

Then there is the matter of the Pistons' reactions on the floor. Rasheed is a perpetual loose cannon -- we expect that from him. But to see Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups tossing up their hands after every call that goes against them and to watch Rip Hamilton take a cheap shot at Dwyane Wade with the clock (and possibly the Pistons' season) winding down is appalling. Referees are human beings. They can appreciate a disagreement but, like most people, can't stand whiners. The Pistons aren't currying any favor with their behavior.

I wrote last week that I thought Detroit -- despite trailing 1-0 -- was still the favorite to win this series because it was the best T-E-A-M. I was wrong. Actually, maybe I wasn't. Maybe the Pistons are the best team. Problem is we won't know because the real Detroit team -- the confident, collected bunch that won back-to-back conference titles -- hasn't shown up yet.

And I'm left wondering if they ever will.

Comments:

Posted: 2:01 AM   by Anonymous
Mannix....thanks for the insight. Fascinating. I can't wait to see who wins the championship. Then you could tell us who the best team in the NBA is.
If you get paid for your columns, could you please send me the e-mail of your boss? I'd like an interview.
Posted: 2:04 AM   by Anonymous
the pistons need rip and chauncy to stand up if there gonna win this. right now there in dire straits but if rip hit the jumpers and chauncy hits his 3's they will be all right through the series because the defense has been good
not allowing over 100 pts this series
Posted: 2:05 AM   by Anonymous
Are you kidding me? The Heat are up 3-1 and you're still not giving credit to the Heat. Maybe this is the real Detroit team and Miami is just better. They clearly have shown they are the better team throughout this series and playoffs.
Posted: 2:11 AM   by Anonymous
"We've got a lot of fight in us," Billups said. "We have been down 3-1 before."
Hey Chauncey -- shut up! I used to respect the Pistons much more before they showed their true colors as arrogant ("if it ain't rough, it ain't right"), whining (any Piston after a call against Detroit), childish (anything 'Sheed does), and dirty (nice pot-shot at Wade there by tough guy Rip) players. The only reason the Pistons made the Finals last year was because some Detroit fan clearly has made some black magic/voodoo injury contract (Wade tears his rib muscle on a cross-over dribble while the Pistons remain miraculously healthy forever). Hey Pistons, Larry Brown would be disappointed in you guys since you don't appear to be "playing the right way."
Posted: 2:17 AM   by Anonymous
The mighty favorites are done. Spurs done! Pistons merely a formality. A house divided cannot stand. Instead of whining to the officials or complaining about your coach, the Pistons should be concentrating on their true foe, the Miami Heat. Have a nice summer, Detroit. I wonder if Larry Brown can get his old job back. I wonder if Larry Brown saw the writing on the wall with this team.
Posted: 2:23 AM   by Anonymous
oh, and i forgot one adjective: unprofessional (publicly undermining the head coach when steadfast unity should be the priority).
The Pistons will have all offseason to find themselves again.
Posted: 2:29 AM   by Evans_47
True, this is not the Piston team we all know and love (or loathe, depending on your location). There isn't one thing missing from this team. What they've had all season is still with them in the playoffs. They're just refusing to use it; Defense. When in doubt, go back to your roots. Flip knows how to push the buttons to make this defensive giant an offensive juggernaut. But I think he pushed too many buttons and now the Pistons are jammed on the wrong setting. As for the public criticizm of the coach, its just obviously anger and disappointmant from the players venting about losses. Flip isn't a playoff virgin. What the Pistons (Flip too) need to do is take this time off to regroup and get back to the old school. This series is far from over. If the Pistons were playing the way they were all year, could the Heat beat them once out of three, with two of them at the Palace? Comments appreciated...
Posted: 2:30 AM   by jones from Manila, Philippines
when will you guys ever give credit to the opponents that the Pistons have faced in this year's edition of the Playoffs?

sure, they breezed past to become the best team out of the regular season. sure, they have a long history of successful playoff experiences. sure, they are the epitome of the word TEAM.

but have you once thought that maybe, some of the teams has caught up with them? that the lack of a genuine go-to-guy has finally exposed them. that maybe, just maybe, they have grown old and weary of defending with the sense of urgency and vigor as those Pistons of years before.

Lebron James has exposed them on the 2nd round. right now, Dwyane Wade and Shaq have made full use of what Lebron exposed. with a group of talented supporting cast, the Cavs and the Heat have showed that what is important in the playoffs is not the history of the team. what is important is knowing and using what you have as well as what you have learned from your opponent. too bad, the supposed mighty Pistons have not learned from this themselves.
Posted: 2:34 AM   by Chris
"But to criticize the coach? In public? What good does that do anyone?"

It does a lot of good from the player's point of view. They know they're going to lose this series so you might as well get your excuses and scapegoat(s) ready. And who's a better scapegoat than the coach who hasn't done so well in the playoffs and is more offensive-minded rather than defense.

Makes perfect sense to me
Posted: 2:37 AM   by kasper
Now that the pistons are falling out of the playoffs, here comes the blame game. I sure didnt see many people throwing Flip to the wolves when the Pistons won all those games. In fact, I recall reading several articles talking about how Brown is overrated because Flip did the same (if not better) job that Brown did with the same bunch. The team won all season with the same coach... so now in the playoffs its a different story? Lets get on the phone to the Magic. Maybe we can get our mascot back to sit on the bench... thats what is really missing.
Posted: 2:38 AM   by Anonymous
not to say they don't play well as a team, they do, but if games were called the way they were meant to be called....they wouldn't have 2 conference titles now would they.
Posted: 2:39 AM   by Anonymous
Give me a break..the Piston's can only win regular season games. Now when it matters, the teams with Big Time talent rise to the top. Last year they barely won againts Miami with an injured Shack, and only because Wade got injured too at the end. Now with the big two healthy, they got no chance to win. They barely beat Cleveland with only one Big time player.
Posted: 2:43 AM   by Anonymous
It's unbeliveable--these guys must eat at the same resturant as the Red Wings do
Posted: 2:52 AM   by Anonymous
If they do show up, it's not going to be this series. Maybe they can pull out a win at home, but they're dead in Miami. Heat in 6.
Posted: 2:53 AM   by Anonymous
Not that I'm making excuses here, but one could only imagine a different outcome if the Pistons had as much rest as the Heat going into this series? They barely escaped Cleveland...and now down 3-1 with still no answers to stop the BIG man, Flash and co., this series is all but in the books. Count on Miami to advance...
I seems the Pistons have imploded!!!They have not shown the cohesion that has brought them thus far to this point. Don't blame fatigue because most great teams are resilient. Lack of respect for the coach is just not how to get a team moving forward. Miami will finish this team as they have shown confidence and doggedness in this series.
Posted: 3:18 AM   by GTech RATS
The Pistons can claim they're okay with their backs to the wall, but I don't think they can pull 3 straight wins against the surging Miami Heat. At most I can only see them defending their home court, but after that...It's all Miami. It's been a good run, but the Pistons are done this year and I won't be surprised if the team is broken up next year or Flip is gone.
Posted: 3:26 AM   by Anonymous
This is right on. The only thing I'd add is that the game has changed. So much that even if Larry Brown were still coaching and the Pistons were playing defense like they did two years ago, many of their players would be fouling out of games. They've simply got to change their game and may not have the personnel to do that. Ben Wallace is suddenly a much less valuable player. So is Sheed.
Posted: 3:27 AM   by Anonymous
"...Detroit is the best T-E-A-M..." you wrote. That is the most ridiculous statement that you have ever written. This is the same team that had the best NBA regular season record. There was no coaching change before the playoffs started. Have thought that what the Pistons are seeing in this series is a Heat team that has finally jelled and are playing at such high level that they are unable to stop?... this Heat team has DOMINATED this Pistons team and the way I see it is that their level of frustration is making them throw their hands up in the air. The way that this Heat team has played 6 of the last 7 playoff games is so impressive, and I think that that is the reason why Detroit doesn't look that good. The Heat has shown a lot spirit and will. They are willing themselves on this Detroit Pistons.
Posted: 3:35 AM   by Anonymous
you're an idiot who won't give credit to a heat team that is outplaying the pistons. plain and simple. like riley says, no excuses.
I was listening to Mike and the Mad Dog about a week and a half ago when the Pistons were down 3-1 to the Cavs and the radio duo made the great point that by developing a fairly potent offense, Detroit had lost their defensive intensity. They had not become a great offensive and great defensive, rather they had become a good offensive team while playing good defense sporadically. They had lost the truly great part of their game, that being their incomparable team defense that had led them to each of the last two nba finals.

In order to win the next three games, the Pistons need to recommit to playing great team defense. I presonally would aleady consider them dead except for the surprising moxy this team has shown in times where it would be easy to just roll over.
You are right on the money bro!

But give Shaq and Wade credit. They were injured last year. They are health right now. Thats heaven and hell baby!
Posted: 4:15 AM   by zac p
Being from Detroit it's hard to watch not one but two of your teams fall apart in the playoffs. I don't know whose fault it is, but Flip might be the start he let the starting five do whatever they wanted to all year and it worked but not in crunch time. All they are doing is playing one on one. The plays that worked all season are comming up short the pistons picks are some of the worst i have seen in the playoffs. They dont know when to shoot or pass and it seems that they always pick the wrong one. Flip can't control the team, the pistons have been down before and have come back but that was a different team. Hopefully Dumars will be able to get a new coach(Addleman) and maybe we can get a PF that can actually do something
Posted: 4:28 AM   by Anonymous
lacking of confidence, team unity, energy, Flip Saunders... whatever it is they have to dig themselves out of the huge hole quickly, easier said than done, the heat are healthy, hungry and has depth, and the pistons' 60+ wins they had in regular season proved to be nothing.
Posted: 5:06 AM   by Anonymous
I think Flip Saunders has lost control of this team. When things go bad and this team needs a kick in the butt, it's the coach's job to do that. The true side of the Detroit Pistons is showing. A true team shows when things don't go their way. It's just a matter of the team can get up when they are down. These Pistons think they can whine their way to win this series. That's won't even happen.
Posted: 5:24 AM   by Anonymous
And here's to the bloggers and pundits who derided Pat Riley for saying that the entire Miami bunch he took under won't gel and the Pistons will get over them in 5 or 6. Seems the other way around now. We are now witnesses that the Miami role players actually know what their roles will be in the playoffs. 'Toine is getting high marks in assist. Posey has locked down Hamilton. Mourning is there when there's a Hack-A-Shaq. Even the under-rated Haslem is playing better than before on his defense and Payton is always there to ignite a spark or stop a rush from the Ton's. It seems the Miami Heat has turned to a bunch of commandos who know what specific assignments they have against the enemy. Shaq & Wade are combining above 60% in their attacks. Detroit is facing a deadly enemy it has little hope of fighting. The only way the Pistons can win now is to get back their confidence and stop at least the top 3 players of the HEAT. Who the third one is always a guessing game for Flip Saunders. Now that's what you call a HEADACHE.

- A.C.E.
Posted: 5:34 AM   by Anonymous
The off-season is going to be very interesting, that's for sure.
Posted: 6:14 AM   by Luke Keun
I completely agree, I thought this was going to be Detroit's year after the Spurs were ousted by the Mavs, but I'm sure alot of people did, I am udderly disappointed with the horrid play of mone of the model teams that have had the same starting line up all season, they're done and I expect Big Ben to sign else where in the offseason.
Posted: 6:39 AM   by Anonymous
AGREED. THESE PISTONS ARE BRASH, COCKY AND OVERCONFIDENT. NOT GOOD MATERIAL FOR KIDS TO LOOK UP TO AND EMULATE. THEY DESERVE TO LOSE.
Posted: 7:11 AM   by Phil
I don't believe the whiner angle. All teams whine. The Heat had perhaps 6 calls against them all night and they did the exact same thing. On nights when the opposition shoots 25 more free throws than they do, the Pistons always look like whiners. I think every other team in the league would too. It's hard to lose a game that you're not allowed to play in.
Posted: 7:19 AM   by Anonymous
Whiners, that what really the bad boys are, I don't want to watch they play. If they ever can play with out crying!
Posted: 7:26 AM   by Chase Gibson
Come on - you're not enjoying their demise? Is there a single likeable guy on this roster outside of prince? I'm loving it...
Posted: 7:26 AM   by Steve, Toronto
Why is every analyst treating this story as if it is all about the demise of the Pistons? The fact is that this series is about the emergence of the Heat and more specifically Dwyane Wade. He is a top five player in the league and certainly the best player in this series. Even when last night's game got close I knew that Miami had the upper hand because they have Wade. As far as analysts go, I think they spend too much time trying to justify their pre-series picks when they go wrong.
Posted: 7:45 AM   by Andre
Evenwith their regular season franchise win record and their new found offensive "freedom" under Flip Saunders, I think these Detroit Pistons miss L.B. more now than they thought they did.

Yeah, they racked up 60+ wins but we all know - defense wins championships and right now big D aint brining it.
Posted: 7:49 AM   by Greg
Chris,
Sadly, your assessment of my beloved Pistons is right on. If they lose to a good Miami team that's one thing, but losing like this is unseemly. Where did the real Pistons go after game 2 vs. Cleveland? It's a mystery that will haunt Motown for the rest of the summer. Greg
Posted: 7:52 AM   by Anonymous
The Pistons are through. They lack energy, hunger, and focus. Not to mention that Miami is actually a lot better than many people expected.

Detroit has no answer for Shaq or Wade. This series is over.
Posted: 7:52 AM   by Anonymous
There are "real basketball coaches"and there are "fake basketball coaches".Larry Brown is a real coach who played the game and has been successful on every level.The players respect that.Flip is a "fake",and the players realize that.
Posted: 8:29 AM   by Anonymous
Totally agree with you Mannix. From game 3 of the semis verus the Cavs, the Pistons look like they have been replaced by some older, slower and more disintersted look a likes. I doubt the Heat will close out the series in Detroit because they have too much pride for that, but Pat Reily will make sure that they finish them off on Friday.
Posted: 8:34 AM   by Anonymous
Amen to that! I'm sooo tired of this era of sports teams' whining. Nothing is ever their fault, no accountability on behalf of the overpriced players, etc. Maybe a high profile implosion will demonstrate to other would-be whiners what can happen. But, I doubt it...
Posted: 8:34 AM   by Anonymous
I believe Flip has some level of responsibility, even beyond the fact that he is the coach. I'm lost on why he continued to leave Ben in the game, prior to the two minute mark, to allow Miami to foul him and put him at the line. Obviously Pat Riley out-coached him there as in other areas of the serious. The players need to take responsibility and pick up their game, which they have not done, but you can see why Flip has not taken any team to the Finals.
Posted: 8:48 AM   by Anonymous
Actually still not clear what happened with Larry Brown in Manhattan, but after seeing the Pistons barely survive an inferior team in Cleveland and now on the brink with Miami, I'd like to hear a clear analysis of how Larry's smarts and his savvy are missing from this team.
Posted: 9:02 AM   by Aaron A. (Halifax, Canada)
This REAL Detroit team you talk about doesn't exist. A media made super power that does not suffer from inner squabbles and big egos. I think it is nice to finally see the whiny Detroit players in a true light. They are like every other spoiled professional NBA player; things are great, Detroit is happy land and the Pistons are the epitome of T-E-A-M, as long as they are winning. Put them up against a team that has given them a sound butt whooping, and now all of a sudden its the coach's fault, it's the refs' fault, its each others' fault, but it certainly is not their own fault. No one criticized Flip when he brought them 64 wins. But 3 losses to a very talented, and 'very lucky to be hitting its stride at the right time' team, and he is publicly criticized by his players.
I will enjoy watching D-E-T-R-O-I-T basketball come to an early end this spring. And its always nice to see no one team can escape the petty selfish nature that consumes professional sports.
Posted: 9:03 AM   by Anonymous
This has got to be the worst defense of an article ive ever read, nothing to do with whats really happening.The truth of the matter is the heat is hands down the better team this year. Wade is the closest thing to m.j. weve had in a while, unstoppable, and have you noticed his defense, and blocked shots? The heats defense for that matter is suffocating the pistons. Why hasnt anyone said anything about the best coaching job in the playoffs, meaning Pat Riley. A real injustice is happening here, this guy is doing an amazing job with his rotations, close outs, defending the top of the key screens, and switching back out off of them. Shaq has been incredible moving his feet, rebounding, boxing out, all around force.No excuses that is whats winning the series. Nothing to do with the pistons bickering, they are bickering because they are getting outcoached and outplayed.
Posted: 9:06 AM   by Anonymous
Do you think this is all on the coach? He is the difference right now and his playoff record speaks for itself. The players know what it's like in big pressure and winning, and so when it's not happening, the frustration rolls up and they probably think the weak link is the coach. I'd have to agree in this case. If LB was still at the helm (and I'm amazed how many people think he's a fraud after one year with the knicks) this would be a different series.
Posted: 9:14 AM   by Anonymous
good call on the whining, i mean how many obvious foul calls can you argue. I love when hubie takes the side of the pistons, then they show the replay of chauncy closed fist hitting wades elbow and hubie lets out the obligatory "welp, that looked like a foul, but chauncy isnt happy" the pistons did this last year, they gave wade chip shots all series until he was so battered he couldnt take over at the end of the game. ben wallace is still the man, and i think wed nights game will be his last for detroit.
Posted: 9:16 AM   by Anonymous
After the game 3 loss Rasheed Wallace made sure to congratulate D. Wade and Shaq? What is that?
How goes Sheed goes the Pistons. If he's done then so are they.

And D. Wade is great, but allowing him to shoot 80 freaking percent? No one is that good. If it were him he would shoot like that during the regular season.

It ain't the Heat, it's the Pistons.
Posted: 9:18 AM   by Anonymous
They have gotten far enough playing offense with 4 men (team minus Ben Wallace). It's about time that has caught up with them.
Posted: 9:19 AM   by Anonymous
I'm tired of this!!!!!!!!!!

How about giving the Heat some credit. Yeah Detroit has shown "kinks in their armor" but how about the little defense the Heat has shown having something to do with continuing to keep the trend.

Anyway, we also need to give Larry Brown credit for his boring defense first philosophy. It works.
Posted: 9:20 AM   by Gilbert
The Piston team is a very poor example of team ball.....Rasheed Wallace continues to prove his ability to hurt the game....and his team.

Shaq has shown class and a hunger to win....great to watch him and the heat as a team.
Posted: 9:21 AM   by Anonymous
All I can say about Detroit's collapse is while it is a bit shocking, I think this would have eventually happened. The Pistons seem used to getting the calls, to being the big bad boys in the Eastern Conference. They just need to stream together a good run, which they are completely capable of. The question now is whether or not Shaq and the Heat will roll aside for them. Something tells me they won't.
Posted: 9:25 AM   by Anonymous
Of course these are not thge real Pistons. That is because they are at least one year older than when they were the best. Don't forget that Cleveland played them very tough and even the Wizards gave them a go during the regular season. Also, how about giving the Heat some credit. This is sports and things evolve. There is no shame, nor should there be any blame, when a team doesn't win forever.
Posted: 9:37 AM   by Steve J.
It is amazing that Detroit has played 98 games so far this year and has not committed 1 foul(at least in ther own minds).

Every time they get whistled for something they act as if the Ref kicked their dog. The act is getting real old for those of outside of the Motor City.

Funny how we didn't here about the Ref's when they gave Detroit 13 foul shots in the 1st Quarter of Game 1 to keep them in the game.

Props for you for finally calling them out to be the whiners that they truly are.

Props for ABC and Hubie Brown for great camera work and commenting that all of those calls WERE ACTUALLY FOULS last night.

And finally Props for calling a game correctly against the Pistons.

For all the praise and respect that they get for "Great Defense", the simple fact is that their games are boring to watch.
The NBA makes there money showcasing Lebron and Wade making circus shots and getting to the rim, not Lindsey Hunter bodying and clutching the ballhandler the entire way up the court.

Yes, Defense wins championships but it also keeps scores in the 70's. If I wanted to watch a game in the 70's, I would watch the WNBA.
Posted: 9:39 AM   by Anonymous
I once was a Piston fan, but watching all the whining has me rooting for the Heat.
Posted: 9:48 AM   by Teri
I think the Pistons always think that they are the best, but they haven't shown it yet in this series. And if I was on that team, I wouldn't criticize the coach, but rather Rasheed Wallace, who, for me, has been the main reason the team is falling apart. But I guess the players are not man enough to stand up to him. But they should.
Posted: 9:49 AM   by Anonymous
First off, it's ridiculous to start comparing who's better, Wade, Kobe or Lebron. Remember the old adage, reputations are made in the playoffs? It might be true that Kobe and Lebron can perform just as brilliantly as Wade, if they were placed in the same situation. But face it, they are at home and Wade's still playing, so just relax and give him credit where credit is due. Secondly, how come no one's praising coach Riley? His off-season managerial moves are making him look real smart, as long as Walker, Payton and Posey continue to play as well as they have. Finally, I think Riley did the right thing by taking over the coaching reign of this team. Just look at Detriot, it's practically detonating itself with it's mix of colorful characters/egos. Teams with so many stars need someone with prestige and a long successful track-record in charge.
Posted: 10:07 AM   by Anonymous
I'm tired of hearing how great the Pistons are or are supposed to be. They and their supporters treat them like they are this decades version of the Bulls in the 90's or the Lakers or Celtics in the 80's but the fact is, they have won exactly 1 title this decade. They play the no respect card constantly and complain about conspiracies. They have looked good because they play in the East and the East has two good teams. Put them out West and make them run the gauntlet that the Spurs, Mavs, and Suns do every year and the Pistons don't even make it to the Conference Finals.
Posted: 10:20 AM   by Anonymous
Maybe it's as simple as it being Miami's time this go-round. Their heartbreaking playoff past is well documented, they've been through the bad... it just happens to be their time right now. as good as Detroit has been for years, they can't be "the team" forever. I bet the Pistons will be strong next year, but the tide changes - eventually. Give the Heat SOME credit. Wade is the MAN.
Posted: 10:26 AM   by Jason
You are absolutely right. I'm from Detroit, and I only got into basketball when I got here, so the Pistons are my team. These playoffs, however, have been very disappointing. I'll watch the Pistons miss shot after shot, and all I can think is "Where are they? What is going through their heads?" This just isn't them; It's very disappointing, especially since Pistons mania is crazy over here.
Posted: 10:32 AM   by big boy
Sheed's gonna have a big G-5, Flip's gonna blow dry his hair for that extra two minutes. Chill
Posted: 10:33 AM   by Anonymous
This is great writing. Just kidding, it is very average. I would like to see more depth. The last line is cheap and ineffectual.
Posted: 10:35 AM   by brawhman
Actually, you are wrong. This Pistons Team is not the best Team in this series. Nor is this Pistons Team the back-to-back champions of the PAST that you are waiting to show up. Don't hold your breath.....they won't be showing up at all. Does anyone remember the meltdown the Heat experienced last year in the last 4:00 of Game 7 against the Pistons? This meltdown coming in a series that saw the Diesel and D. Wade both banged up. But still the Heat took em to the last 4:00 minutes of Game 7 with a sizeable lead. This 4:00 meltdown costed the Heat a trip to the finals last year even though the Heat were clearly the best T-E-A-M. This year, D.Wade and the Diesel won't be allowing the Pistons to take advantage of anything except an early vacation.
Posted: 10:40 AM   by Anonymous
It's very simple, the Heat are a better team with better athletes. Let's not forget last year they would have beat the Pistons sans injuries.

So I don't know why everyone is acting so surprised at the Heat's demolition of the Pistons. Add a dose of championship coaching experience from Pat Riley and you have a team that is just better than the other.
Posted: 10:42 AM   by Anonymous
These are the real Pistons and they are not the better team. I don't understand...where was all the turmoil during the season?

The Heat are the better team and it shows. The evidence is not only in the Win/Loss column, but is evident when watching the games.

In the Cleveland series, Flip put Tayshaun on LeBron and Prince did a decent job of slowing him down. However, not only do the Pistons lack the ability and personnel to slow Shaq, they have no one who could slow down Wade. Couple this with the fact, the Pistons are not used facing this type of defensive pressure and you have what equates to a better team in the Miami Heat.

Last night's game saw Detroit score less than 80 points. It's not a slow shooting night...it's defensive pressure.
Posted: 10:45 AM   by Anonymous
the Detroit "CHAMPS", turned out to be the Detroit "CHUMPS".
Posted: 10:48 AM   by Anonymous
That cheap shot by Hamilton on Wade was disgraceful. He caught Wade in a vulnerable position and could have easily caused an injury. Maybe that was the idea as Detroit has shown they can't guard Wade. I think Hamilton should get a one game suspension for that flagrant foul and hope the league is reviewing it.
Posted: 10:56 AM   by Anonymous
How many times have we seen teams with a couple of years of success suddenly extrapolate that success over the longer period of time necessary to be considered one of "the greatest of all time"? Methinks these Pistons got ahead of themselves. Not only are they not one of the greatest of all time, there not even one of the greatest in the past 10 years!
Posted: 11:08 AM   by Anonymous
Perhaps Miami deserves a little credit here...they have played smothering defense and it has clearly furstrated the Pistons. Hence the cheap shots, public bashing of their coach and wining about every foul called against them. And, of course,their poor shooting percentage. Could you just say that, in this series, Miami has been the better team? Shaq is still Shaq (when he wants to be) and DWade is an emerging superstar (wonder why Shaq accepted the trade to Miami). Detroit lacks a dominant big man and a consistently good shooting guard. Couple that with Miami being hungrier and that is why they are up 3-1, not because Detroit has decided not to be a good team and let Miami win the series.
Posted: 11:10 AM   by Anonymous
Although I'm neither a Pistons nor Heat fan, I must say that Detroit's lack of defensive consistency and intensity has been the most telling difference between this season and that of the Larry Brown years.

In each game of this series, Detroit has been extremely passive -- on the defensive end -- in the fourth quarter. And what was up with that last period defensive lapse in their Game 2 win?

I honestly thought that their Game 7 win in the Cleveland series -- where they played with that defensive tenacity so reminicent of the two Brown-led teams -- was gonna carry over into the current Miami series, but it has failed to show up.

To me, this is a correctible issue, and if the Detroit "D" of the last two seasons can arrive and remain for three consecutive games, they will come back and win this series.

But it's up to the players, because I agree with your assessment on Saunders and his lack of defensive expertise.

Did you see his facial demeanor at the press conference after their Game 4 loss last night? Talk about looking and sounding defeated.

In my opinion, it's up to Big Ben to get in the faces of the other four starters and motivate them to play their trademark "D" for all four quarters.

They've got to remember the old saying that... "Offense wins games, but DEFENSE wins championships."
Posted: 11:17 AM   by j-marv
Whether Detroit decides to play to their full potential or not I believe they will still lose simply because Detroit is outmatched.

Last year, Tayshaun Prince (the team's best perimeter defender) was assigned to mark Wade up and down the floor with the comfort of the Wallace boys covering the lanes behind him. Detroit could well have afforded that last year with Miami's weak supporting cast of Eddie Jones (known playoff choker) and Damon Jones.

But Pat Riley was smart enough to go out and get Antoine Walker and James Posey, and now Prince is forced to mark 'toine (as the smaller Billups and Hamilton can't do it) instead of chasing around DW.

The result: DW shooting over 70% from the field and scoring over 30 points at will while Walker is opening up the floor giving Shaq more room to operate.
Posted: 11:18 AM   by Anonymous
Same starting five & a better bench than last year, same GM, what's different? The coach and his philosophy.

The Pistons are crying at every call, they are not playing defense and Miami suprisingly is, and they do NOT have a killer instict.

Attitude reflects leadership and right now the Pistons have the same laid back attitude as their coach and pretty soon they will share in their coaches "history" of not getting it done when it counts.

Frustrated in Detroit
Posted: 11:18 AM   by Anonymous
This is very common in professional sports. When a team changes coaches, for at least the first part of the season, the team has part of the coaching of the old coach and part of the new coach. In situations like this where one coach was a great defensive coach and one is a good offensive coach, the team is awesome. In time though, the old coach's influence wears off, like Jimmy Johnson's influence wore off in Dallas after the first season (yes, Dallas won the superbowl after Johnson left because of Johnson's influence).

In basketball, a coach's influence wears off quicker because there are more games then football and that's why Detroit is falling apart this season...before it's over.

I bet Brown is smiling a lot now :)
Posted: 11:26 AM   by Anonymous
I am sick and tired of everyone blaming the Pistons for their situation in this series. How about some credit to Miami? Shaq looks like he is finally going to get that fourth ring before Kobe, and his new sidekick seems much better than the previous two (remember, Shaq is no longer the dominant 30-20 diesel he once was). Miami and Riley deserve full credit.
Posted: 11:28 AM   by Anonymous
Sad but true. As a life long Pistons fan and one who has been living all year for this match up with the "Heat" I am very disappointed in their desire and heart in this series. I don't even know who these guys are out there.

Hope springs eternal though and maybe they can find themselves and get out of this funk and come back to beat the Heat.
Posted: 11:30 AM   by Anonymous
I disagree with the writer of this article. I think Miami was better last year. It was injury that happened to Shaq and Wade that kept them away from the Finals. Detroit hasn't been the same team since 2004 finals against Shaq. However, I agree that Saunders isn't using his troops to the max potential, which is to reinforced the defensive end.
Posted: 11:44 AM   by Anonymous
All I've heard about Flip is that he's an offensive coach. Flip doesn't focus on defense, which has caused his team to lose their identity. Yada yada. Has anyone checked out the Detroit offense lately? They're sluggish, predictable and flat. If this bunch of players is the result of Flip's offensive genius, boy, I feel much better about my intellect. I don't see genius; all I see is a cadre of players that have lost their confidence, and are too busy blaming everyone else than to just play ball. Say goodbye Flip, you're time is nearing the end.

Wayne Smith
Posted: 11:45 AM   by BB FanMan
I have listened all season to sportscasters proclaiming the Detroit starting five as the best in the NBA and maybe one of the best ever. Please! We need a reality check. They are a very good starting five yes, but they are far from great. They are good because that they have few overt weaknesses. Everyone is a solid defender. Everyone but Ben Wallace has solid offense skills. But they are not great basketball players.

The all star and all pro selections notwithstanding, these players are over-rated. Rasheed Wallace is really the only true all star on this team and he is inconsistent and obviously lacking emotional control. Ben Wallace is a poor man's Dennis Rodman. Yes he is a very good defender and rebounder but that is it. He can't shoot field goals, and is the worst free throw shooter I ever seen.

Why don't we talk about the Miami Heat starting five? Shaq is obviously so much better than Ben Wallace the only good thing you can say for Wallace is "He tries to cover Shaq one-on-one". But it is obvious he can't. Dwyane Wade is so much better than either Chauncey Billups or Rip Hamilton that he makes them look pretty average. Now Jason Williams starts because Gary Payton is too old to. But even then the talent of Williams and Wade together still has to be seen as better than the Detroit Duo's total.

Antoine Walker's play against Detroit compares pretty good to Tayshaun Prince. But let's call that a wash. Now to finish off the comparison we have Rasheed Wallace and Udonis Haslem. Rasheed wins out in this case because his inside-outside scoring abilities. But let's switch things around. Haslem is really playing the role that Ben Wallace plays for the Pistons. Though I would say in general that Ben Wallace is a better player, when you look at this series, Haslem has certainly contributed more.

So let's look at the breakdown this way.

Backcourt - Heat
Walker/Prince - tie
B. Wallace/Haslem - tie (regular season Wallace/this series Haslem)
Shaq/R. Wallace - Heat

Even if you say Ben Wallace deserves the win for the regular season you still have the Heat as a better starting five.

And one last thought. Compare Shaq's Heat starting five to any he had at the Lakers with three straight championship seasons and ask yourself if any of those teams were as good as the Heat. This Heat team took a while to gel, but it is the team at the end of the season that counts not how you played earlier.

Heck the Pistons could easily have lost to the Cavaliers! So please let's stop the "one of the best teams ever" conversations, unless of course you're talking about the Heat.
Posted: 11:51 AM   by Anonymous
It is amazing to me that the Piston meltdown continues to be attributed to the fact that they just seem to be falling apart. Why is it that the media is more inclined to analyze the implosion of the Pistons rather than the fact that they have faced a team that has addressed each of their strengths and managed to overcome them. The Heat have taken Prince, Billups, and the Wallaces out of their comfort zone and have scored essentially at will on them. This is less a result of the Pistons inability to work as a team, and more a result of the Heat's plan and execution. The Pistons are getting beat by a better playing, better coached team, yet all we hear about is that they are their own undoing.
Posted: 11:52 AM   by Anonymous
as a timberwolves fan, i feel strongly that the difference in the pistons is flip saunders. in minnesota he always played his starters too many minutes--often leaving garnett on the floor during the fourth quarter of blow outs. this takes its toll over the season, and i think this is what we are seeing in detroit. all year long we saw those starters playing 45+ minutes a night while perfectly capable reserves languished on the bench. now in the post-season the pistons have been criticized for being flat. they do look flat. but if we stop and think about the individuals involved, this isn't a group of guys who have ever been accused of phoning it in. and i don't think they're phoning it in now. i think they're just exhausted. And the consequences for the pistons are severe--a team which seemed to have it all together is going to miss a chance at a championship. What's more, they sent away two young, unused players who, it turns out, look pretty good, perhaps costing them the opportunity to be in the running for years to come.
Posted: 11:53 AM   by Dream
I think it's obvious by now how important a good coach is. Larry Brown might have been a pain to Pistons management, but his players never quit on him last year. Give credit to Dumars for putting together a great team, but dumping Brown was a HUGE mistake.
Posted: 11:56 AM   by Mister Orr
These are the same Pistons...the coach is different. Flip Saunders was overrated as hire and the team was overrated throughout the year as they beat up on league. Checking their record against playoff teams (especially the playoff elite - defined as those who got past the second round) shows that Pistons would struggle in later part of the playoffs. Flip Saunders is not playoff battle-tested and like his former Minnesota teams, is "happy just to be past the first round." It was whispered all year that the true test of Larry Brown's greatness would not be the team's performance during the regular season, but their performance in the playoffs. You be the judge. The team is the same (almost to the man)...the coach has changed - from a proven winner to man trying to win to prove his hire (and failing).
Posted: 12:11 PM   by Anonymous
The Pistons have no one to blame but themselves.

Their success in their 2004 season which resulted in a championship was won on defense, and on doing the work on the court, not a lot of talk off it.

This year, the Pistons have become the Lakers of 2004, the team that thinks it SHOULD win it, and therefore cruises thinking it WILL win it.

Sorry Pistons, but there's a reason why we still play the game. Lebron James and the Cavs should have been the wake-up call. Instead, you've overslept in this Heat series.

Maybe if you get back down to earth, you might let some fear inside of you. Fear is good. Fear means you care, rather than waltzing on nothing but your egos.

As of now, it seems you'll get run out by the Heat and still be in denial. Time to wake up and play like you desperate, not like you don't care.
Posted: 12:13 PM   by Anonymous
The great fall of Detroit.

Say bye-bye Ben Wallace.

Joe D - trade Rasheed, he's killing your team.

Billups can't wait for 2007 so he can leave too.

Tayshaun, sorry bud, but you're stuck in Detroit.
Posted: 12:27 PM   by Anonymous
These ARE the real Pistons. It's a shame that those of you who use "the pen", do so with such impunity as to make such thoughtless, short-sighted, dare I say it, irresponsible statements like, "These aren't the real Pistons." The fact of the matter is they ARE the real Pistons. They are simply up against a better team. Simple as that. Cleveland wasn't a better team and the outcome of that series proved that. It was close because Cleveland and Detroit are two playoff caliber teams. Cleveland didn't sneak into the playoffs. They competed their way into the playoffs and they showed the deserved to be there by being competitive with the Pistons. The fact of the matter is, the media has been singing Detroit's praises all season long and now that Miami is proving them wrong, rather than state the obvious, "Oops, we were wrong," they are taking the position that something is wrong with Detroit. Admit it guys, Detroit was and still is an OUTSTANDING team. They're just up against a better team. Simple.
Posted: 12:32 PM   by Anonymous
You think the fact that, as you say, the real Pistons haven't shown up could have something to do with the real Heat showing up? Come on. Why is it that when a team isn't doing what you thought they would do, it means they are playing bad. Why can't it be that the other team, in this case the Heat, is playing well!
Posted: 12:33 PM   by Anonymous
the current coach is just a proved loser. i do not know why pistion get him in the first place
Posted: 12:37 PM   by Anonymous
You can stick a fork in the Pistons, they're done! I can only assume two reasons for their untimely demise; Fatigue or Turmoil. In either case it's too late to overcome a 3-1 deficit to a talented team like Miami.
Posted: 12:40 PM   by Anonymous
Maybe the Pistons weren't a better team than the Heat. The Pistons is a great team that has melted under the heat of a superior team with superior individual players that finally have made themselves into an integrated team.
As individual talents finally come together,the Heat might have the BEST TEAM in the NBA right now.
Posted: 12:51 PM   by Chad
To all readers,
Why is anyone really surprised by this? I'm not. This Piston team has benefited from other teams injuries. The year they won the championship. Jason Kidd was hurt, Jermaine O' Neal played hurt. Finally, when they made to the NBA Finals they played a team that was again hurt: Derek Fisher, and Karl Malone. Last year, Shaq was playing 60% and Dwayne Wade was injured that is the only reason they made it back to the Finals. Guess what? The last time I looked no one appears to be injured now!! That spells trouble for the Pistons. Have you guys relaized at least one big man always makes it to the Finals? With no Tim Duncan that means Shaq will be there when it is all said and done. Detroit will win game 5 but not game 6. The magic is gone for the Pistons unless there is INJURY!!!!!!

Chad, Big Easy
Posted: 12:56 PM   by sportster
I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's either all about the coach, or all about the players these days in the NBA; with exceptional teams all acting like - you know - TEAMS.

Do the Pistons need a dominating coach to so that they actually respond to him? These guys are supposed to be grown men. They know what team defense is, they just need to PLAY it. To what extent does Saunders need to coach them on that? And the whining? To that I say simply say: shut up, grow up and do what you already know to do, what you have done before that helped you to win championships. Strategically, there isn't much Suanders can do defensively, other than playing a straight-up man-to-man, or a variation of it.

On a side note (or not), Rasheed Wallace has been a mixed blessing for the Pistons. I seem to recall him taking 3 3-pointers in his first 4 shots in one of the games they lost in this series. The guy is 6'11" for cryin' out loud! Get him to post his ass up inside, make some easy baskets, and kick it out if/when the Heat collapse on him. And all his whining, predicting, etc. - no one in the current group did that before he showed up. And it looks like his affliction is spreading to the other players now that they're in trouble. Flip needs to figuratively smack these guys upside the head to get their attention. But it may be too late, because the general may have lost the respect of his troops. Let's hope not, for their sake.

The Pistons need 3 guys shooting well to make the Heat work on defense and tire their legs when the Heat are playing against a team offense. That opens up oportunities for others, and that's how the Pistons can demoralize any team, when they're firing on all cylinders like that, like they did against the Lakers to win the NBA title. I loved every minute of that series. That's what team ball is all about.

However, let's give the Heat some credit here. When players other than Wade and O'Neal are making their shots, that makes any team defense have to work all the harder - including the Pistons. And no team can cover everybody all the time when the other team is rolling. If the Pistons only have 2 guys to focus on, that makes their job a lot easier. Sound familiar? (read: Lakers)

Are the Heat the better team here? They're certainly playing like it. It doesn't matter what's on paper, or what has happened in the past. The only thing that matters is wins; and the Pistons need them, desperately. The only way to do that is to get back to what they do best; to do what they already know to do, but seem to have forgotten.
Posted: 1:14 PM   by Anonymous
Detroit's demise started with the regular season record hunt. All this build up in the media about these guys being able to rival the best team ever, MJ's 72 win Bulls, was just what the doctor didn't order. Although the Piston's players would say to the reporters, "We aren't concerned about that," it's the attitude that followed that belied their true feelings. They started to believe that they were entitled to the trophy in June. You started hearing things like "we are the best team," "I deserve MVP because I'm the best player on the best team," "We should have had an all-Pistons starting five for the East." It's one thing to be confident. It's another to be straight-up arrogant. I agree with this article. These aren't the Pistons of old. The real Pistons had a chip on their shoulder due to their being disrespected by not considering them real candidates for the championship. THESE Pistons felt disrespected because they weren't being touted as the champions before the game's even been played. And all that jazz about the coach's fault. Flip may be a lot of things, but he (nor anyone else in the world) can coach effort. You've been there before, you know what it takes. It shouldn't take somebody outside of your own intestinal fortitude to know you can't let a guard shoot 69% on you over consecutive games when you have a starting line-up of more All-Defensive team selections than not. Pistons need to spend more time in the the video room. Not looking a Miami, but at footage of the 2004 run. Then take a look in the mirror. A long look in the mirror.
Posted: 1:31 PM   by Anonymous
Pat Riley deserves a lot of credit. The Heat just look hungrier out there. He's known as a master motivator and it's showing. Shaq looks five years younger. D-Wade is Mr. Clutch. Also, it's obvious that those off-season moves are paying off. Walker has at times looked especially good opening up the offense. Let's give the Heat the credit. There IS something wrong with the Pistons: The Miami Heat
Posted: 1:31 PM   by pianomanum
These are the real Pistons. These are the same Pistons which the Heat would have beaten last year were it not for injuries - and yes, officiating. The Pistons and their fans have grown accustomed to complaining about fouls constantly. They have a propensity to whine, especially Rasheed Wallace and Teyshaun Prince. Now that a team is actually dominating them, they have nowhere else to turn but the officials. Why? Because it's unthinkable that a team is actually better than them. The Heat have jelled and peaked at the right time, and the Pistons are done.
Posted: 1:47 PM   by Anonymous
Two things:

1. Anyone from the Minneapolis area could have told you this was coming. Flip will get you an extra ten wins with a mediocre group, but is outclassed once he gets to the playoffs. He can't match strategy with guys like Popovich, Nelson, and now Riley, and his rotations border on self-destructive. And he simply does not understand defense.

2. The new NBA rules are driving me crazy. The Pistons and Bruce Bowen both hack opposing players across the forearms all game, and complain when they get whistled for a foul every now and then. But if Lebron/Kobe/Nash/Wade drive and so much as their jersey gets brushed, it's two shots. I still cannot understand eliminating hand-checking either. Of course, flagrant pushing should not be allowed. And I know they love to feature the aforementioned players "one-on-one" games, but it is really embarassing for anyone who has ever played the game of basketball to see offensive players with THIS much of an advantage.
Posted: 2:00 PM   by Anonymous
As a pistons fan it has been truly remarkable how different this team has looked the last 2 weeks. They have lost there heart and soul. Miami has played almost perfect and Detroit can't play any worse. Can they come back? YES. Will they come back? I dont know. I sure hope they find themselves in the next two days. As far as last year, BS. Injury is a part of any sport. Detroit gets no credit for playing hurt. So don't tell me Miami would have won, beacause THEY DID NOT!! If Miami wins this year it is because they played better. PLAIN AND SIMPLE
Posted: 2:16 PM   by Anonymous
the entire motown seems to be the bad boys club even from the dennis rodman days. one player i would never see in finals of nba is wallace (either ben or sheed). They are just unfit to be sportive and be in finals. Wish that the heat eliminates them in this series with another win.

Actually the pistons are declining. They won nba (2y ago), they lost finals (last year) and now they are being elimiated in (conf level). Next year they will lose in first round of nba playoffs.

Nothing is more happy to me than watching a grown up nba millionaire star like rip hamilton cry when they are kicked in the butt in finals (last year).

Go heat, Give them the kic!
Posted: 2:31 PM   by TheWarden
Look for Piston's to hurt Wade.

I disagree with the notion that proclaims the Piston's are simply not the team fans have watched during the regular season, came to fear over the last 3 years or so and gave respect to for earning what they had accomplished. No, I believe your seeing the very same team that accomplished all those amazing things and more as a team.

What I think most of us have failed to see, failed to calculate, and even failed to imagine, is that the Miami Heat are simply a much, much better team right now and a jelling at the exact right moment, a Riley trait. He took over in the middle of the season, fordge a new cast of support players and found a way they would all work exactly as he foresaw. Combine that with the emergence of one of the most spectacular players in recent memory (save Jordan), and what we have failed mostly is seeing that Miami is simply a better team, imagine that!
Posted: 2:40 PM   by TheWarden
We have failed to see our way,

I disagree with the notion that Detroit isn't the team NBA fans have come to loath, fear and respect. I disagree with everything about that statement and more.

What I now see is what we have all seemingly failed to notice, failed to calculate and even failed to imagine.

With the mid-season take over of the coaching job at Miami, and the multiple trades he made to forge a more perfect union, he has somehow managed to jell a series of players so well in such a short amount of time, we all barely noticed. This team is peaking and has additional room to peak even more, a Riley trait.

Combine that with the fact we are witnessing the emergence of one of the most spectacular players in recent memory (save Jordan), in the form of a guy nicknamed Flash, Dwayne Wade and his Miami Heat are demonstrating that there's a new force that simply put, "is" the best team in the NBA at the exact right time and not that the great Piston's are anything less than what they were.
Posted: 3:01 PM   by barrywindham
Last year when the Heat lost I realized they needed offense. The additions of Antione Walker, Gary Payton, Jason Williams,and James Posey have given the Heat the offensive punch they did'nt have last year. The Pistons are not failing as much as the Heat finally have their missing pieces.
Posted: 3:11 PM   by Anonymous
'Sheed's horrendous play and his, uh attitude (don't have an appropriate adjective to describe it) are millstones around Detroit's neck. Especially in light of the 4 being one of the two positions where Detroit should have a clear edge (point guard being the other which played according to form other than Game 4). Only once - in the Championship season has this guy been anything other than a cancer as a teammate and a coach killer. His namesame needs to take some as well. We've all heard how this undrafted long shot has made himself into multiple time defensive POY and selfless team oriented warrior. That defensive rep obviously is against everyone but Shaq who bangs him all over the court (as he does everyone else when he's motivated and in shape). What is also apparent is that the energy that was frequently ascribed to Shaq in many of the games is due to his complete disdain for or necessity to play D against Ben wheras others at least force him to pay a little interest. Ben is a player who has never developed a single post up move, has no shooting range whatsoever and in this series is turning down every shot save tip-ins or dunks. And the FTs are so horrifying, he makes the abysmal Shaq look like Bill Sharman at the line. Riley was on to something with his strategy to foul B. Wallace - with his 23% rate, it is essentially a turnover three out of every four times fouled. Praise him as a great defensive PF (not centre) but the rest of his game is so lacking that he is an overall liability. Add that to him having now taken to increased whining and bitching in the vein of his namesake the all world master of these less than charming traits. Add in the cheapshots with Rip now getting into the act and the overall sniping and it almost makes you long for the classy, possibly more civil days of Laimbeer, Mahorn & Rodman. Almost.
Posted: 3:17 PM   by Destiny
It's funny how so many people feel that the success of the Pistons in the past has been due to injury on the opposing teams...since die hard Heat fans are so hell bent on believing that, is it at all possible that the injries of Hamilton and R. Wallace could be playing a part in the change of flow that is occuring here? I din't think anyone would want to hear that, and I know that it is not a whole truth, so why must we insist that it is the sole reason for Piston successes of the past?


Let's keep it funky, If the Pistons weren't a good team, Lebron wouldn't have been trying to sign with them as a free agent at the end of the 05 post season. D. Wade is a stud, there is no denying that and there never was, never will be. Shaq on the other hand, didn't stand a chance without D. Wade in the 2005 Playoffs,(as proven in the damn near 40 point blow out by the Pistons in game 5 LOL) so he got on his game; lost a few pounds and picked up some speed so that he is reminiscent of the Shaq we all once knew and no one is denying him credit either.



What it all boils down to is the Pistons getting their head in the game! Lets not take credit away from what they've accomplished in order to juice up the credibility of the Heat. Calling the Pistons a great T-E-A-M, is something that they at one time earned by proving that a team could be successful and make it all the way without a superstar player on the team. Five wonderful players with team ethic and unity is what led them to their 2004 victory. In 2005, they slacked on it and lost the opportunity to have home court advantage in the finals which many believe is the main reason for the championship loss. This year they worked hard to earn the priveledge of home court, not to make and break records and they did a damn good job of it....the difference here is in the sterness of their leader, Head coach Saunders....If he dosen't tighten up things could fall to pieces and we are all witnessing that right now.....but by all means do not discredit the players they have definately made their mark on the NBA and no hater can take that from them.....period.
Posted: 3:41 PM   by Anonymous
all i have to say red wing, pistons......don't get your hopes up on the tigers. and i won't even talk about the lions.
Posted: 3:42 PM   by Anonymous
I believe the current situation in Detroit is a testament to just how great a coach Larry Brown really is. As we all sat back and watched Brown struggle through a horrible year in New York, everyone started talking about what a horrible coach he has become. Fans, players, and of course the genious sports writers talked about the new high flying Detroit offense and how the team was better off with Flip Saunders. What is Flip Saunders track record? He loses wherever he goes. Sure Miami has more talented athletes, but so did San Antonio, when the Pistons last won the championship, under LARRY BROWN. What about the talent level against the all-star Lakers three years ago? Larry Brown takes underrated players and coaches them to play like a team. The only reason he hasn't succeeded in New York is because his players are not underrated, they are overrated jerks and prima donnas. If Brown were to stay in New York for a few years, and if Isiah Thomas would step away from the disaster he has created, then we might all be surprised at what Brown can accomplish, with his kind of players. Meanwhile, Detroit will be searching for a new coach who knows how to coach a team that doesn't whine and complain and come up short when it really matters.
Posted: 4:01 PM   by Anonymous
Steve j. and everyone who is saying that the pistons are whinners and falling apart as a team are idiots. Idiots, Idiots, Idiots!!!! The pistons just need to execute their offense. The Heat are basically a two man team that wins when Wade is shooting 70+ % and when O' Neal is scoring. Attack O' Neal and Wade on defense at all costs and get him in foul trouble. That'll put them on the bench and give the Pistons a chance to pick apart Payton, Walker, Haslem (who by the way will be a big weakness for the Heat should they make the finals) and Company. This time, there won't be any tired Pistons for the Heat reserves to take advantage of like there were in Game 1. I hate to say it, but hitting Wade hard is probably the best way to stop him from driving.
Posted: 4:04 PM   by Anonymous
I am from Detroit and they are the best team on the floor but in this series they have not done it defensively against Wade and O'neal. there offense is there every night barely but the calls that went against them last night in game four were rediculous and uncalled for. i predict that they will win game five but have a tough time winning game six in Miami against that dominant duo of Wade and O'neal. Chauncey needs to show up with his three- point game and Rasheed with his great offense and urgency, Ben needs to step it up a notch and make the big man committ some offensive fouls. Rip and Lindsey Hunter are the only people who need to guarding Wade and that is it.
Posted: 4:21 PM   by John
I agree the pistons are falling apart because of arrogance but the heat are playing amazing defence. All this talk about "pistons have the best D. in The N.B.A. is nothing look at the heat the pistons have gon over 90 points once. Enough said.
Posted: 4:28 PM   by Anonymous
All season when the Pistons were winning games and there was talk of winning 70 games, the Piston players talked of such greatness of their coach and now, as soon as things get tough, they talk about their coach in a negative manner, not in the locker room but to the press. Ben Wallace, of all people taking shots at the coach when he's shooting 25% from the free throw line. Rasheed is doing more talking than playing. When you have three palyers that are All-Defensive, how much does a coach need to tell you to get you to play defense. If a coach prepared you to win 64 games, you should not have forgotten how to win 16 to get a ring. Piston players look in the mirror and place responsibility where you would have taken all the credit if you were winning. "THERE'S NO CRYING IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS, MAN-UP"---SHUT-UP AND PUSH.
Posted: 4:35 PM   by john
Miami is the better team, plain and simple. This is their year, probably Shaqs last legitimate run at a title. Riley is going to abandon Miami if the Heat win it all this year, then, D Wade will turn into Kobe. Wade, it'll be a little differant without the big fella patrolling the middle. Look for Cleveland to take it to Miami next year, they will be the hungrier team. Although a great talent, D Wade is no Lebron. If Lebron is a 10, D Wade is a 8.9.
Posted: 4:39 PM   by Anonymous
Ok this is the one thing that is bothering me with all these sports analysts... Let's stop talking about what the pistons aren't doing and start talking about what the HEAT ARE DOING! Look at D-wade not one piston can guard him, the moves he is making to score is ridiculous.. Look at shaq, shaq looks like he drank from the fountain of youth, and he is making ben wallace look like a d-league player. More importantly the role players are stepping up, at least one role player a night has stepped up since the nets series. Now what about the heats fourth quarter defense, it isn't a fluke the pistons aren't scoring in the fourth.. Haslem, shaq, wade and posey have all been ridiculous on the boards as well. I just wish they would give credit where credit is due. Let's face it, if lebron had another star with him in round 2, we might not even be talking about the pistons at all this round!!!!!
Posted: 4:44 PM   by Anonymous
The players do not respect their new coach. Joe D now see's that this bucnh of edgy veterans needed Larry's tough-love approach. No one else can coach this group like he did. Even though I like Detroit, the end is near. If they win it will be in spite of the coaching. Flip may be gone next year, remember what he Joe did to Carlysle. Chauncy and company don't like playing for him, he does not inspire respect from any of them. He has never been successful in a pressure pact situation. So Joe D needs to correct mistake # 3 and call Larry back.
Posted: 4:47 PM   by Anonymous
What a joke! The Pistons cry about every call when they KNOW they fouled somebody. Replays don't lie. They have gotten a free ride long enough. I don't see them crying about their no-calls going their way at home! Time to own up to the fact that this is not the Cavaliers, which is why they will be going downtown without Julie Brown in a wedding Gown to outright drown. Can someone please get Sheed a Costco membership so he can get the monster-sized Kleenex box he will be needing to sop up that mucous coming from his nose as he blows it and this series? Thanks.
Posted: 5:00 PM   by Rasheed Wallace
all of you who say Detroit is done are wrong. They have been here before and it's not the first time they have been counted out. They were already counted out this year, in the Cleveland series, which they won. And by the way they are due for a few hot shooting nights(bad news for Miami). Also, how is Detroit complaining, sorry all you Heat fans, but Wade is one of the biggest winers ever. He complains whenever he is called for a foul and when he is on offense he complains every time he is touched. Face it the guy is a wimp, fall down 7 times stand up 8 is the stupidest thing i have heard. The guy is calling out Hamilton because he plays hands on D. And he calls him out because Hamilton puts himself between Wade on his way to the basket. So Miami fans SHUT UP!!!!! Detroit will have hot shooting nights and blow you out in game 5 and win a tough one in 6, and cream you in game 7!!!!!!
Posted: 6:33 PM   by Anonymous
The egos of the Detroit players (and fans) have been inflated larger than B-B-B-Ben Wallace's 'fro ever since they won the title. But does anyone recall that the Heat were up 3-2 in last years series until they lost Shaq and MJ - I mean Wade, and that they still nearly one the 7th game even though Flash couldn't touch his nose without grimacing? Pleeeease. The Heat were the better team last year and they are certainly better this year. I am just sorry they haven't swept the best T-E-A-M from 2 years ago.
Posted: 7:01 PM   by pianomanum
Typical of Rasheed Wallace posting on this blog about other players whining. Wade doesn't whine, he complains for the glut of non-calls for him each game. He gets hit often, and hard. What about all the non-calls against Hamilton whenever he pushes off after coming off a curl? Kudos to the crew of ABC that showed several fouls the Pistons complained about that were actually fouls. Don't even try to say the Pistons whine less than the Heat, even Pistons fans realize that the players complain a ton.
Posted: 8:12 PM   by Anonymous
You're pretty silly detroit fanboy. Miami is closing the deal wed night. Detroit losing with no class and that makes me happy.
Posted: 8:58 PM   by Peter Griffin
detroit needs to step it up(RASHEED THAT MEANS YOU!!!!!)
Wade is the BIGGEST COMPLAINER EVER!!
Detroit will come back again all of you doubters!!!!!
Posted: 9:12 PM   by Anonymous
The Detroit Pistons are very poor losers. They have been cocky all year but now that Wade and Oneal is healthy this year, they do not have a chance. They are tensed and throwing cheap shots at Wade and even their coach. Detroit it is time to go fishing cause Miami is just the better team. Have a nice summer!!
Posted: 10:31 PM   by pianomanum
You know, putting an exclamation point (or four) at the end of each sentence does little other than dismiss you as ten-year-old who Pistons fan who found this blog. Well, I suppose then you could represent the majority of the Piston fanbase, so thank you for giving us a little insight into the mind of the Piston fan.

Dwyane Wade only complains when he has been hacked or fouled in some way. If you pay attention, and I mean really pay attention instead of flinging dung at fellow Pistons mates, you would realize that the Pistons players complain about every single call against their team, be it a foul or any other type of call. If you don't believe me, query any other non-Pistons-biased fan and you will probably get the answer, "Yes, the Pistons whine a lot." Most notable of all the whiners are Rasheed Wallace and Teyshaun Prince, but the rest of the crew does more than its fair share of complaining. Meanwhile, the Heat complain a bit, to be fair, but nowhere near the level of whining the Pistons have achieved. Together with the Spurs last year in the Finals, whining was so prevalent I turned the series off. Think Tim Duncan vs. Teyshaun Prince with the looks of "What?! What did I do? I'm going to cry," on their faces.

The Pistons will not come back to win the series. They may win on Wednesday night, which I doubt, but they are too tired, weak, and divided to come back against a peaking Heat team with the unstoppable Wade and fresh Shaq. Look for the Heat to go for the juggular on Wednesday.
Posted: 10:42 PM   by Anonymous
Do not count out the Pistons quite yet, guys. While a 3-1 deficite seems like a huge mountain to climb, all they need is a single win on the road, something they have shown to be capable of doing time and time again. I don't think anyone will argue that despite all of Detroit's offensive and defensive woes as well as their lack of apparent team unity, they are still a heavy favorite to take Game 5 at the Palace. Assuming then that the series will be tied 3-2, they are in no worse shape than against the Cavs this year and the Heat last year.

I think some Heat fans will be in for a surprise when their supposedly "better team" is all of a sudden in a huge dogfight with Detroit in Game 6, that the Pistons will definately have a shot at winning. All the Heat fans seem to think this series is a definite lock and the Heat will cruise, but a win at home could give
Detroit back its confidence from a year or two ago. If Detroit manages to gain a hard fought win in South Beach, they will undoubtedly be favorites to win at home in Game 7.

And for all the haters of the individuals on the Pistons team, the Pistons have showed during their back to back runs to the Finals that
players no one else wanted (undrafted Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups) could achieve, through hard work and determination, a championship.

Remember, its not over till its over, and this series is far from done.
Posted: 10:58 PM   by Anonymous
Mannix, I am sorry to say, but I soundly disagree with you. The best team is the Heat. And by the way, they were the better team last year. But a better team running on one leg.
This year they are simply showing the world what would have happened if Wade/Shaq were health last year.
For too long this mystique of the Piston clouded the vision of people who think only defense can win championships. You need both. And the heat are here to show you just that.
Posted: 11:50 PM   by Anonymous
I think all of you have missed the point in this series, Miami will win because of match-ups and the fact that Rasheed Wallace is not one hundred percent. When you you use common sense? Let us look at the match-ups- Shaq vs. Ben Wallace- Let us be serious Ben needs help against Shaq I mean 7'1" 340 pounds versus 6'9" 255 pounds plus Shaq is a scorer while Ben is not. Tashaun Prince versus James Posey and Antoine Walker two against one- who chances do you like? Chauncy Billips versus Jason Williams and Gary Payton- again two to one (oh, you think Lindsey Hunter is going to get the same minutes as Gary Payton? Think again. Rip versus Flash - it might be a draw, if Rip was to step it up, but so far it's the D Wade show. Rasheed (hiding a bad ankle) versus Udonius AND Alonzo Mourning, McDyess is not really welcome in the starting unit note his falling numbers) The One match-up that says it all -- Flip vs. Pat Riley. Keep it real now, who would you hire to coach your NBA team. Add it up, it just took all season for the Heat to find itself while the Pistons killed themselves for 82 games because they believed if game seven had been in Detroit last year, it would have been back-to-back titles. Pipe dreams fellas, NBA players today simply do not know the history of the game, Bill Russell's last title in 1969 came with his Celtics as the last seed, no home court against anybody. You should have concentrated on that marvelous ability to clamp down in the fourth quarter and pull out close games. Face the facts, you are outnumbered Detroit.
Posted: 11:52 PM   by Anonymous
1.) you heat fans are all idiots. You get one taste of glory, and you start running your mouths like newbies always do. If you look into the not-so-distant future, you will see a Heat team searching for a replacement for Shaq.

2.) All right, you can comment on the Pistons crying over calls, but then you forfeit you right to whine about Shaq and Wade being hurt last year. The Heat didn't beat Detroit last year, and there's no way you can prove they would have with a healthy Wade. So shut it.

3.) Enjoy success while it lasts, because it won't be forever. So just remeber, while you revel in the success of your favorite team, it will eventually end, and it will be hard to watch.

I've had good times in the past decade watching the Red Wings, Pistons, and MSU Spartans all enjoy success. And now it looks as if the Heat, Gators, and the Dolphins are headed in that direction. So talk smack now, but know that you will eventually be on the receiving end.
Posted: 2:28 AM   by Emilio from India
The last two seasons, the Pistons flew under the radar the whole regular season. In fact, the season when they beat the Lakers, everybody had already handed the championship to the Lakers even before the finals began.
Both years, they kept improving and peaked at the right time.
This year however, they were leading the regular season from post to post. Seems to me that this time they peaked too early and are now collapsing in the playoffs.
Posted: 3:01 AM   by Anonymous
Heres the deal with pistons defense:

1. throwing different guys at wade
2. using different traps/zones to contain wade.
But hang on! if you watched the games you would notice wade isnt getting open looks, everytime there is a guy in his face (if not 2 or 3 guys)so for those people who claim the pistons defense is poor therefore wade shoots 70% they are totally wrong. it is the fact that they are closing out on wade but he still hits his shots THAT - is how the pistons are hurting.
3. Rasheed Wallace has not stepped up defensively, but give Walker credit because when he drives, he is just quicker on his feet and that results in either an assist, a hook shot or draws a foul on Wallace.
4. Ben Wallace cannot guard shaq alone even if he thinks he can. on some nights he will draw offensive fouls on shaq, and on some nights he wont. in this series shaq has come alive (compared to vs NewJersey) and aggressively attacked on both ends of the floor. every game there is 1-2 fouls wallace picks up that could have gone either way. this is perhaps the only true issue the pistons should complain about. as for rasheed picking up fouls guarding shaq - those WERE fouls.

Here's the other issue: pistons are struggling offisively against a quicker defensive rotation by the heat. something most people dont think about is when the pistons won championships vs lakers they were the hungry ones and they scrambled for every loose ball. in this series the closest thing to this sort of effort is james posey who comes in the game, is all over the court diving and putting a hand up in prince and hamilton's faces, while also rebounding and shooting 3s. this guy is doing what the pistons used to do (and isnt doing right now).
POST BY POST BREAKDOWN
ben wallace has practically no offense as all the effort is put to guarding shaq.
billups has had the better of payton and j.will but anyone who has been watching game4 should realise that payton(who probably remembers being outplayed by billups two years ago in the finals and in games2 and 3 of this series) has picked up his one on one defense vs billups.
Rasheed, Hamilton and Prince i already covered above.

Anyone see the big picture now? Does this answer this whole debate about why the pistons are struggling offesively and defensively?
Posted: 3:19 AM   by Kennydark
I think everything has been said on this side.The Pistons were never able to win a big games against a strong team...if everyone on the opponents team is healthy.....INJURY ......is the magic word....LA was the better team when they met with the Pistons in the finals but Shaq and Kobe couldn´t get their act together.Last year the Pistons were lucky and took advantage late in the series ´cause Wade got injured in game 3 or 4.
This time it´s a different story...finally....you see Detroit falling apart as a "TEAM" if they feel they can´t beat the other team.....hopefully they keep their hands of WADE..(their only chance to turn this series)
Posted: 3:50 AM   by Anonymous
I cannot believe the amount of whining over which team or player is the biggest whiner. I don't understand why it bothers you people so much. Yes, if a player concerns himself too much over the refs calls it can take his head out of the game. But other than that, who really cares? Every player in the NBA who plays enough minutes to collect a few fouls(or be fouled) grimaces, groans and gesticulates about the calls. It's part of the game, get over it. So can we please, please get back to more reasonable hoops fan discourse, like blaming the officiating for our team losing and ripping on Charles Barkley and Bill Walton?
Posted: 8:45 AM   by Anonymous
Oh come on folks! It's a game! Someone wins, someone loses. Leave it at that and enjoy. This (Miami-Detroit) has been a great series. Detroit manages to come back in the last 2 games only to lose at the end. This has been the best playoffs season I can remember. Every series has been great! I can't wait for the FINALS.
Posted: 9:49 AM   by Joe Don
Regular readers of this blog will tell you i made this prediction before the series started. Miami in 6. Antoine Walker is the key. Because Walker is on the floor Prince has to guard him , which means Prince cannot guard D. Wade. As a result Wade is dominating Hamilton shooting 69% from the field. Meanwhile Prince struggles against Walker's post moves and shooting stroke. Walker is not putting up huge numbers but he is playing as well as he has every played. By posing such a huge matchup problem Walker is making the difference in this series.
Posted: 10:31 AM   by Anonymous
This is ridiculous. A few points, if I may:

1. The Pistons' were not hard done by. Just because a team shoots less foul shots or gets called for more fouls does not mean they didn't deserve it. Every replay of a foul I saw was a foul. What are the refs' meant to do? "Oh, well that was a foul, but the foul count isn't even, so I won't call it." Thank god that a lot of you people don't call games. Get over it.

2. The Pistons are and were a very good team. But they were never as good as the media pumped them up to be. I never thought they would be able to match a healthy Shaq and Wade in the big moments and it appears to be that way at the moment. All I can say is they were lucky Lebron had no decent help in game 7.

3. However, the Pistons are great when under duress and it will be interesting to see if they can come back from this, I beleive they are one team how is definately capable of this. However I don't think they will come back this time.

4. Wallace (Rasheed) is and always has been a good player. But he is not one of the best in the league. Nor are any of the others on the team, aside from Chauncey (top 15 at best). Ben is great on defence, but not on offence. Prince is showing signs he may be breaking out, but it's taken some time and he still isn't anywhere near that point yet. Hamilton is fit as hell and a good scorer, but not brilliant. In his prime, Antonio, the sixth man, would have been this teams best player by far.

5. Give Flip, the refs and the blame game a break and give the Heat the credit they deserve. They have out played, out coached and out hustled a lacklustre Pistons team in need of a kick up the ass. They need to stop bitching and start playing.
Posted: 12:03 PM   by Anonymous
I still believe the Pistons are the better team. They proved that in the regular season. What is happening is very simple. Every team goes through cold streaks - they just happen to be having theirs at the the worst possible time. The Heat defense is not playing that great - the Pistons are just missing open shots time and time again. If they get hot the Heat will not get the fast breaks and will be forced to concentrate more on defense and the Pistons will win the series. If the Pistons remain cold, it's over - plain and simple. Just one word of warning Heat fans - you better pray this team stays cold for one more game.
Posted: 12:17 PM   by pianomanum
The Pistons are being exposed as an over-hyped team that is not up to the task of beating the Heat. Yes, it is viable to say that the Heat would have won last year had Shaq and Wade been healthy, mainly because they are winning handily this year. The Pistons are missing a few open shots, but they are being harrassed by the likes of Haslem and Posey on the defensive end. The Pistons are being denied the ball, screens are being undercut, they are being fronted in the post, and they are being double-teamed at the right moments. Because of this, their rhythm is off and they are not passing well. This has everything to do with Riley's defensive mentality that has finally taken hold of this talented team. I guarantee everyone was afraid this team would learn to play together and to play defense, and they have. Now it's a matter of staying hungry and having that killer instinct to put away the fading Pistons.
Posted: 4:15 PM   by Lyndon
I agree. The Pistons should quit their whining and suck it up for 3 straight games of hustling after loose balls, crashing the boards, defensive intensity leading to easy baskets, and everything else that they're capable of. They need to stop pointing their fingers at Flip Saunders, who up until a few weeks ago was believed to be the coach of the year, and just play the game. All I want to see is a hard fought series and I can walk away knowing whoever won truly deserved it. That said, would the real Detroit Pistons please stand up?
Posted: 5:23 PM   by Anonymous
Dwayne Wade is the reason behind the pistons' demise and he needs much more credit than he is being given. Not only can he take you to the hoop in every imaginable or unimanegable way but he has the KILLER INSTINCT that MJ had. You can make a reasonable argument that Wade is as far along as Michael was after his third year in the league. Yes there are other stars but they are all missing that killer instinct that Wade has. In any case this is not so much a Detroit meltdown as it is a Wade uprising.
Posted: 6:49 PM   by Anonymous
OH MY GOD PEOPLE!!! whats with all the "not real pistons talk"? please u whine just like them in every game. pistons are getting smoked and its all because of dwade n shaq playing the way they are supposed to play n pistons just cant compete against them
Posted: 1:01 AM   by Anonymous
I see people talking about the pistons whining about calls. Sure. Because if YOU were a professional basketball player, you wouldn't EVER contest a call against you, even if it was the right call. Sorry. EVERY team does it.

I see people talking about giving the heat or whoever credit. Where did they not get credit? It's quite simple: the pistons have the best record, therefore, they are the measuring stick. When a team finishes the pistons off, then THEY will be the measuring stick.

Honestly, understand that every team wants to win equally, and every team is going to do everything they can to win. No win is worth any more, or any less, than any other win. No matter if it comes by "bad calls" or "cheap shots" or anything else. EVERY TEAM is trying to win.
Posted: 8:52 PM   by Anonymous
This is the real Pistons...the only reason they won their last ring was due to the "Malace in the Palace". The Pacers were the obvious superior team up until that moment and would have clearly won the finals that year. This piston team is riding on the coat tails of the original Isiah "Bad Boys", and are a bunch of Jordan led Bulls want a bes!!!!
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