Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Pistons Will Survive Cleveland, But Why So Hard?

What makes this Pistons-Cavaliers playoff series so annoying is that -- and this is guaranSheed -- tonight the Pistons will blow the Cavs to Kingdom come, then brush them aside on Friday, and we'll all wonder where that stuff was in Games 3 and 4.

The Pistons present a unique frustration to the fans here.

The Lions can't get started.

The Red Wings can't finish.

The Tigers -- until this season -- hadn't even crouched in the blocks.

But the Pistons start, and they finish -- most of the time -- yet it's somewhere in between where they go off point. They're like savants with a child's attention span.

It's likely the Cavaliers have the Pistons' undivided attention now -- hence the confident predictions of the first paragraph -- but we are once again left wondering: Why must it come to this?

Oh, they talk a good game -- and not just Rasheed Wallace. They all say the right things, and they've been successful enough that they're one of the few teams around here of whose bluster we'll actually believe more often than not. They spoke of looking forward to the challenge of Game 3, because their record in third games was 4-8 recently. They lost. They spoke of the loss being more because of what they did or didn't do -- as if the Cavs hadn't even shown up. They spoke of correcting those mistakes and not losing their edge, nor their advantage in the series.

They lost again.

Now the Pistons say they're glad to be home -- who wouldn't be in the NBA, where home cooking has healing powers greater than any penicillin or aspirin? -- and that THIS time, for SURE, they learned their lessons and they'll take care of business.

And still they're the only team in town that can say that after two straight playoff losses and be taken seriously.

A vast majority of the locals, I would submit, still believe the Pistons and their cocksure words. A championship and a near miss will buy you some credibility.

I suppose I'm one of the believers, but I'm more of a believer in their actions, not their words. Anyone can say they're going to win, after all. The Pistons tend to actually do it -- more than most predictors and guaranteers.

They'll win it -- this series with the Cavaliers -- and we'll grin and shake our heads and say, "Those darn Pistons."

At least with them, unlike the Red Wings, we don't replace darn with #!$#!.

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