Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pistons Roll Dice, And Magic Craps Out

Didn't I just write about Antonio McDyess? Didn't I just praise him for his monstrous offensive rebound late in Game 4 against the Orlando Magic -- a board that kept a Pistons possession alive long enough for Tayshaun Prince to pull a baby hook out of his sleeve and beat the 'Gic? Didn't I just drone on about how his on-court personality is just about 180 degrees opposite of his off-court demeanor, which earns him the nickname McNice?

Guess I'll have to write about him -- and Prince -- again.

Last night, in the Pistons' clinching Game 5 win over The O, McDyess came up huge in the same way that Lassie used to when Timmy was stuck in a well. Again I have to chuckle at Orlando's Dwight Howard and his nickname, Superman -- for it was Dice who (again) donned the cape and swooped in to save the day. He jump-started the Pistons' offense early in the fourth quarter when the Magic had opened up a fragile five-point lead by hitting two 18-foot jumpers in succession. Then he swarmed the offensive glass -- either grabbing a board or inducing undersized defenders like Rashard Lewis into taking loose ball fouls. Dice was a big reason the Magic was in the penalty situation with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter.

I watched the game not knowing about the death of McDyess's grandmother -- a sad revelation that he received hours before the game. It was only in reading accounts that I found out about the heavy heart with which McDyess played. I missed the first half, so maybe it had been mentioned at the top of the broadcast. I don't know. Regardless, it was hard not to think of McDyess's boss -- and the man who brought him to Detroit -- Joe Dumars, who played an NBA Finals game in Portland in 1990 as the only Piston who didn't know that Joe D's father had passed away earlier in the day. McDyess knew his bad news, and Dumars didn't, but the sobriety of the situation is almost the same, for Dumars was taken into a private room after the Pistons walked off the court as winners in '90 and was given the news by coach Chuck Daly and GM Jack McCloskey.

As for Prince, what can you say? He's racking up big-time blocks the way Michael Jordan did with big-time shots. You can add Hedo Turkoglu to Prince's list of victims. But I gotta ask: didn't Turkoglu realize who was guarding him? Didn't he know that he had the equivalent of a velcroed octopus as a defender? Yet Turkoglu drove the hoop anyway, Prince matching him stride for stride, then tried a half-dunk, half-God knows what that Tayshaun EASILY disposed of. As far as importance, the rejection ranks among Prince's finest, but as far as ease, it surely must be in the lower percentile. That's two awful shots by Turkoglu in the clutch in that series. Thanks, Hedo!

So now it's on to Boston, or home against Cleveland in Game 1 of the NBA's Final Four. The Celtics, as one writer astutely pointed out, are apparently trying to become the first team in NBA history to win a title by going 16-12: 16-0 at home, 0-12 on the road. Don't laugh. The Celts are 6-0 at home, 0-5 on the road in the '08 playoffs. And as TNT's Mike "The Czar" Fratello pointed out last night, they'd better figure out a way to win on the road, because sooner or later some team is going to steal a game in Boston. And if it's Cleveland, then the Pistons may not have to worry about the Celtics after all.

No complaints here.


Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Hey, Greg,

First, I just want to tell you I keep checking your blog about every hour when I get up so I can read the latest as soon as you post it. I love your observations.

And not that the sentiment and feelings aren't the same, but I believe Dumars' father died during the Bulls series, not Portland. Regardless, you have to admire his (then) and McNice's (now) abilities to function at such a high level when most people I know (including me) would be in a daze for a while.

Greg Eno said...

Hi Brian!

Thanks for your continued patronage! How did you find Out of Bounds, by the way?

And, sorry, but Dumars's dad did, indeed, pass away during the Portland series. Remember Isiah saying in the post-game presser -- referring to a Dumars rainbow in the lane: "I thought, 'Your dad put that one in.'"


Brian said...

Ok, I guess I won't argue this one. :-) I absolutely remember Isiah's comment but when I picture the play, I swear I see Chicago uniforms watching it go in and not Portland. Guess that's what happens when you get old.

If I remember correctly, I linked to your site from Gregg Henson's site. But as you've already seen, I don't necessarily remember things correctly.