Friday, April 22, 2005

Pistons Facing A Former Brown Team? So What Else Is New?

Brown going up against one of his ex's? NO!!

Do you have any idea how hard it is for the Pistons to NOT face one of Larry Brown's former teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs? They could have played New Jersey; Brown coached there in the early 80's. They could have played Indiana; Brown was there in the early-to-mid 90's.

Instead, they'll play Philadelphia. And, oh yeah, Brown was there, too, in the late 90's/early 00's. So the "Brown is facing one of his former teams" storyline is about as fresh as the lettuce on a Big Mac.

Still, the Pistons-Sixers matchup is intriguing, because it is always so when one of the players on the opposing team just happens to be the league scoring leader. Perhaps basketball, more than any other sport, allows for individual performances to greatly impact team results. If you don't think one man named Allen Iverson can beat five men who aren't, you'd be right most of the time. But I have two words of caution for you: Bernard King.

It was 21 years ago this month when King, then of the New York Knicks, literally beat the Pistons single-handedly in a first round playoff series. King averaged over 40 points a game (yeah, that's right), and the Knicks bumped the Pistons out in five games, back when the NBA used the best-of-five format in the first round. King, a small forward,was about as unstoppable as they get for a five-game stretch, especially when you consider it was the playoffs. True, that '84 Pistons team was nowhere near this year's version. They didn't play defense, for one thing. But still, King's dominance proved that, while unlikely, a great player can fly solo and lead his team to playoff series wins.

Will Iverson torch the Pistons enough to lead Philly to the upset? The likelihood is extreme at best. However, it might be fun watching him try. Remember what Tracy McGrady almost did to the Pistons in the first round two years ago? Oh, Iverson will talk about getting others involved and he might even dish out his 8.4 assist per game average to prove his intent. But it will clearly boil down to A.I.rather than the four satellites playing around him.

Pistons in five.

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