J.E. Skeets over at Ball Don't Lie asked me and BPackey from Motown String Music to put together a short preview of the Cavs-Pistons series. He asked for 300-400 words, I came out at 422. I always have been an over-achiever, or is it that I don't follow direction well?
Anyway, here is what I came up with --
And so it begins. In a lot of ways it is fitting that the Cavaliers and Pistons square off to start the 2009 NBA Playoffs. These two teams have been going at each other since LeBron James came into the League, and some of LBJ's best, and worst, moments have come against the Pistons.
As much as I'd love to reminisce, I'll stay on the topic at hand which is this year's matchup. Too bad, because this series won't be much of a matchup at all. In a lot of ways this feels like one last night with your ex-girlfriend before she gets married. You both know it is over between you, that she is moving on, but you want to relive that feeling one more time. That is Detroit, trying to recapture that feeling one more time.
Certainly the Pistons will play hard, motivated by the fact they believe it should have been them playing San Antonio in the 2007 NBA Finals. This Cavaliers team, however, is much better than that one was, and LeBron James is a much better player and leader. The Cavs can beat you several different ways now — they can outscore you, they can out-defend you, they can run, they can play half-court. Detroit just doesn't do any of those things well enough anymore, and let’s face it, who do they have to take a big shot at the end of games?
LeBron is going to get his, we all know that. I expect Rip Hamilton to play inspired ball as well. But it will be the other guys for the Cavaliers — Mo Williams, Delonte West and the resurgent Daniel Gibson that will hit the big shots, make the crucial plays, while Anderson Varejao does just enough to get under 'Sheed's skin. The over/under on how many games 'Sheed will get tossed is 1.5. Any takers?
The truly great players win championships. The NBA is a funny league that way. LeBron James is a great player and seems to be riding destiny's wave to the Larry O'Brien trophy. Detroit is at the back end of a historic run. The NBA, unlike any other league, seems to believe in passing the torch. Player to player, team to team. The Cavs will take the Eastern Conference torch from Detroit and carry it on, hopefully to the Finals. That's just the way it is.
As for predictions, the Pistons are a proud bunch, and they'll find a way to steal one at the Palace, but that's it.
Cavaliers in 5.
Follow the link above to see what a Pistons fan had to say.