Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Raise The Curtain, And The Banner -- The Pistons Are Back (Already)
Didn't the Pistons just lose Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Spurs a few weeks ago? Wasn't it just then that we were complaining about Manu Ginobili's flopping? Isn't Tony Parker's wife -- actress Eva Longoria -- still on your mind after all the camera shots taken of her?
And hey -- weren't we just saying goodbye to LB and welcoming a Flip?
The Pistons begin another one of those NBA seasons tonight -- at home versus the 76'ers -- and if you listen to the supposed hotshots who know all about the pro game, we may as well fast forward to late May and the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.
Unless the Indiana Pacers, with Ron Artest, make it there. Or the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Lebron James and a year of contention flirtation under their belts. Or the Chicago Bulls, a recent trendy choice. Or the New Jersey Nets, who always seem to lie in wait in the woods.
The team the Pistons tangle with tonight, the Sixers, are one of the few teams NOT mentioned as a potential threat to the Detroiters' conference crown. But you know how those preseason prognostications go -- they're either way off the money, or forgotten about, or both, by the time the playoffs roll around. Who cares where they picked you in October if you're still playing ball in June?
As for the Pistons, it's all business as usual, but with a twist. New coach Flip Saunders apparently is going to let the boys run and gun a little more, have them play some zone defense, and generally have a little more fun out there, I get the feeling. There's still the big red "X" on their chests, being defending conference champs and all, but they like that.
The best thing about Saunders, I believe, is that he's not Larry Brown. Not that Brown isn't a great coach, but he comes with so much baggage he can give the McNamara Terminal at Metro Airport a run for its money. With Flip this camp, we didn't hear anything about....HIM. Oh, there was talk about his coaching and his philosophy, but that was basketball talk. There's no "Days of Our Lives" about him. I like that.
So raise the conference championship banner, let Mason do his thing during the introductions, set off the exploding flames above the backboards, and tip it off. Keep an eye on Allen Iverson, box out Chris Webber, and close your eyes when Ben Wallace goes to the free throw line.
Just think -- there's only 82 of these we have to suffer through before the real basketball is played.