Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Seven reasons the Pistons can beat Boston.

1. The backcourt. Rajon Rondo is inconsistent, and Ray Allen has been invisible. Is it possible that Rondo puts it together and Allen snaps out of his funk? Sure. But it's more likely that Rip Hamilton keeps up his hot streak from the end of the Orlando series and if Chauncey Billups is 100%, his defense should keep Rondo in check.

2. Detroit doesn't fear the Garden. These are still the same players that won Game 7 in Miami, won two of three games in Indiana in 2004, and won Game 6s on the road down 3-2 in New Jersey, San Antonio and Cleveland. The Celtics have been great at home obviously, but there's nothing the fans can do that will rattle the Pistons.

3. So far, Flip Saunders has sucked less. There was absolutely no excuse for Atlanta to push the Celtics to seven games. Doc Rivers' coaching on the road was atrocious. Putting Ray Allen on Joe Johnson was on par with Flip not doubling LeBron in Game 5 last season. His rotations have been horrible, and he has single handedly tried to destroy the confidence of his bench players. Flip made some mistakes in the first three games against Philadelphia, but since then has done everything right.

4. The Pistons are the underdog. I can't stress this enough. All season long, the Pistons have been playing second fiddle to the Celtics in the East. Ever since Garnett and Allen arrived in Boston, it's been assumed that the Celtics would meet the Pistons in the Eastern Finals and prevail. Now is the Pistons' chance to do what they do best - prove everyone wrong. There's no chance of them losing focus against the team that's been everyone's darling since last summer. That of course doesn't mean it's a lock for the Pistons to pull the upset, but if they lose, it isn't going to be because they got bored.

5. The week off matters. While the Celtics have spent the first two rounds facing Game Sevens, the Pistons have made relatively short work of the Sixers and Magic. The Philly series was more stressful than it should've been, but the Orlando series was a quick five. You could argue the week off could make the Pistons rusty, but I doubt it. If anything, the rust would last what, 5 or 6 minutes? After that rust is irrelevant. Meanwhile, the Celtics did not get any extra time off, and are coming off the emotional high of a Game 7. Will they be able to match the emotional intensity of the Pistons in Game 1 of the Conference Finals?

6. Rasheed. Will Boston put Garnett at risk by putting him on Rasheed? If not, does anyone really think Kendrick Perkins can successfully cover him? I don't know what goes on in Doc Rivers' head, but although the urge to put the Defensive Player on the Year on the Pistons' best post player is tempting, the possibility of KG expending too much energy on defense or getting into foul trouble will probably lead Doc to putting him on McDyess. The only player that can take Rasheed out of the game is Rasheed.

7. Desperation. The Pistons realize this could be the final hurrah for the core of Chauncey, Rip, Tayshaun and Rasheed. Age is going to start catching up to them, and they can't take anything for granted anymore. I could just be thinking wishfully, but I want to believe the mistakes and screwups from the past two years will be corrected this time around. The Pistons know what's at stake.

So, like I said, Pistons steal a game in Boston (you have to think it'll be tonight if ever), win both games at home, lose Game 5 at the Garden, and win the East at home in Game 6.

Here's to being right. Go Stones.

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