Thoughts after two games
1.) The Spurs are an incredible team. Before the conference finals were over, I told the D-Man that I thought the Pistons would have a better chance against the Suns than the Spurs; and prior to the start of this series, I told The Diddy that I was terrified of San Antonio (Holmes). Why? For the same reason the vast majority of the national media picked the Spurs: they do everything the Pistons do, except they score a little more and they have Tim Duncan. Dids agreed, but D thought I was crazy. Well, there have not been many times where I’ve felt worse about being completely correct about something. They’re outplaying the Pistons in every facet of the game.
2.) The officiating in this series has been laughably one-sided thus far. I’m not saying there’s any agenda or conspiracy, nor am I saying that it’s the reason the Pistons are losing. I’m just saying that, through two games, damn near every single "could go either way" call has gone against Detroit. It bears mentioning that this mistreatment by officials may be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that the Pistons’ excessive whining may have been the impetus for some refs to (consciously or unconsciously) decide to always make calls in the opponent’s favor. At any rate, the one-sided officiating has just been one more thing to get frustrated about in this series.
3.) Much more annoying has been the team’s reaction to not getting the benefit of any calls. The whining is incessant, and, if you look around and see what the national media is saying about this series, it’s almost entirely about the Pistons being crybabies and whatnot. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing: this team has built its reputation on hard work and grittiness - the whole "going to work" marketing blitz. Now they’re acting like a bunch of whiners, and, as I noted above, the worst part about it is that they’re getting the reputation of being a bunch of crybabies, which affects the way people in general and -- more importantly -- the officials, look at them.
4.) While I don’t believe there’s any conspiracy in place, I think it’s ludicrous the way that everyone is dismissing the possibility of the Spurs getting the benefit of an unfair number of calls. This is the NBA we’re talking about! You can say what you want about how you think that type of thing is unlikely, but I know what I’ve seen: I paid attention during the Michael Jordan era, and I watched Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals and Game 3 of the Lakers/T-Wolves series in ‘03. This kind of thing happens. Again, I’m not saying that there’s an agenda here, at least there wasn’t at first (see #2), and I’m not saying it’s the reason the Pistons are losing. In my opinion, even if the Pistons were the ones getting the majority of the bad calls, they would still be down 2-0. But to blithely deny that this kind of thing is even possible from the NBA is, in my opinion, shortsighted and unaware. But here’s some information that’s worth seeing: apparently, yesterday Larry Brown pointed out that, thus far in the playoffs, in games officiated by a crew including Danny Crawford and Ron Garretson, the Pistons are 1-7. In games officiated by any other crew, Detroit is 11-1. Warrants mentioning. It’s also notable, as was pointed out in Detroit sports columnist Terry Foster’s blog, that Game 2 on Sunday featured an extraordinarily odd box score, considering the game’s result. Consider the following:
The Pistons made 4 more field goals than the Spurs. They attempted 82 shots from the floor, vs. 62 attempts by the Spurs.
The Spurs attempted 38 2-pt. field goals, while the Pistons attempted 76 2-pt. shots, twice as many as the Spurs.
The Spurs had 24 3-pt. field goal attempts, while the Pistons only shot 6 threes.
The Pistons attempted 16 FT's, while the Spurs attempted 34. Given that the Spurs attempted so many 3-pointers, it's hard to imagine how they would wind up with so many FT attempts compared to the Pistons. Particularly interesting was that Chauncey, as much as he handled the ball, had only one free throw, vs. 13 for Ginobili.
The Pistons had 18 offensive rebounds, vs. 9 for the Spurs. Total rebounds were 45 for the Pistons, and 36 for the Spurs.
Just strange, that’s all. The Pistons certainly have to shoot better (Rip is shooting 33% for the series, and Tayshaun 26%), defend better ... just basically play much better tonight than they did in the first two games. If they don’t, this sucker is gonna be over before it’s even started.