Monday, June 07, 2004

2004 NBA Finals: Game One: Pistons Whip Lakers 87-75

Detroit: 87, LA: 75. YES!!!!

We had to listen to the (to Detroit ears like mine) smug, confident commentary before the game that "no one" has picked Detroit to win this series, and "many" expected an LA sweep. The Lakers (so the announcers repeat so often) have four future Hall of Famers, while the Pistons have no real superstars (a two-time defensive player of the year and an All-Star [Ben Wallace] is not that?). Blah blah blah. Well, they don't seem to understand that a good defense usually will overcome a good offense, in almost all sports (a point I made in my last basketball post). This was my pre-series analysis: the Lakers ain't the Lakers we all know and love when they have to face the best defensive team in the league. This is bound to make a difference, and it did.

I predicted that Shaq would still get his points (no one in the league can really stop him) but that we could win anyway. As it was, Kobe got his share, too, but our defense shut down the rest of the team (which was shooting 28% near the end of the game, so we were told). So Shaq and Kobe get their points, and (surprise!) Rip Hamilton (who has scored over 20 in every or almost every playoff game this year) got only 10. We were in their court, and we won by 12. The Lakers had not lost a game in the playoffs at home this year.

I thought we could split the games in LA. I didn't think we would win so handily without Hamilton getting 20 and Kobe having his usual game (and it could have been more of a blowout if we hadn't missed so many easy shots and made a lot of turnovers). So it is even better than I thought . . . There might indeed be a sweep in this series. The only thing the pundits got wrong is who would be the team to do the sweepin', if it happens. I predict Pistons in 7, but it might very well be six. The Lakers will probably win Game 2. They will win one of three in Detroit. And then we will win one of the last two in LA. We'll either win Game 6 out there or Game 7. In any event, it will be a great series now; that's for sure. If we do lose, it already looks like we'll at least do a heckuva lot better than the other anemic Eastern teams since Jordan's invincible Bulls (New Jersey and Philadelphia and Indiana) have done in the Finals.

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