Maybe this is exactly how it should be. NBA Playoffs. Detroit V. Cleveland. Had I said in November that these two teams would meet come April in the playoffs it would hardly have seemed a stretch. Had I went on and said it would be the 1-v-8 series, well, more than a few of you would have probably thought it meant the Cavaliers had a lackluster regular season.
It was the Pistons, yes, those Pistons who have went to 6 straight Eastern Conference Championship series, winning a NBA Title and advancing to another NBA Finals in the process, yes the Pistons that struggled this season. After a blockbuster deal that sent their heart and soul out for a guy with no heart, the Pistons fizzled.
Yea, I guess it is fitting that it could be LeBron and the Cavaliers that will officially put an end to this latest Pistons run. A shell of their former selves, void of on-court leadership, the Pistons will talk tough, will preach they have the playoff experience and fear no team. Too bad for them they simply don't have the talent to back it up. I understand the move they made to trade Chauncey Billups, but there is simply to way to quantify what he meant, on and off the court.
A salary dump in a lot of ways, the Pistons now have a chunk of money to spend this summer if they choose. It took guts for Joe Dumars to make that deal, to take a chance on Allen Iverson. It failed. Miserably. Iverson, an individual, coming to a group that epitomized the word team like the Pistons was oil and water from the start. Add in a rookie head coach and you have all the makings of, well, a sub-.500 season.
The Cavaliers will be a focused group. Much like they have been all season on their way to 66 wins, so far. Perhaps the game against Detroit a week or so ago told the tale the best. Detroit playing about as well as they can play only to see the Cavs make all the plays in the final minutes to get the win. Eerily similar to the way Detroit won games 4 or 5 years ago.
There is more work to do before the season ends, but knowing that it will be Rip, 'Sheed and the rest of the Pistons in Round 1 makes it that much more enjoyable. And fitting. IN a year that the Cavs have their best chance ever to win a Title it is a team like the Pistons that stand in their way. Let the journey begin.