What can you say about the Detroit Pistons and their feeble effort against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs?
I had the Pistons six feet under two months ago, so I've already said my piece about their demise. Though I had no idea it would come with the resistance of balsa wood.
Right now, the Pistons' death as Eastern Conference elitists should be treated like the death of a despised relative: with courtesy but not much else.
President Joe Dumars' bunch annoyed me all season, and I confess that I didn't watch but a few minutes of the four games. I refuse to call it a series anymore because it really wasn't. That gives the term "playoff series" a bad name.
No, I didn't watch the Cavs' dismantling of their once rivals, but that doesn't mean I don't know how gruesome it was.
I wasn't a witness to the Manson Murders, but I have a pretty good idea how that went down, too.
So the end of the Pistons' "era", as we like to put it, came with nary a whimper. Rasheed Wallace didn't get kicked out of the game. The fans were too apathetic to boo or even jeer.
The kings are dead; long live the King
This was about as much of a non-playoff set of games as you'll ever see in the NBA.
Even the dregs of the league usually win at least one game in these No. 1 vs. No. 8 seed set-ups.
But a series never broke out. The teams played 192 minutes, and I'm guessing--by the scores and by the reports from those who drew the short straws and had to cover the games--that the Pistons were competitive for maybe 25 percent of those minutes.
LeBron James needn't have had his jersey laundered after any of the matches. Why waste the water and the soap, when he didn't even break a sweat?
The Pistons' last "big" playoff effort came in last year's Game 2 of the Final Four, when they put forth a gutsy performance in beating the Celtics in Boston. The series looked like it might go their way; the Celtics, remember, were 0-6 on the road in the playoffs.
But instead of taking control and keeping that seed of doubt firmly planted in the Celtics' heads--the one that said, "You'll never win on the road...NEVER!""--the Pistons let them off the hook with a curiously uninspired day's work in Game 3 in Detroit.
It's only gotten worse since then.
Dumars was disgusted with the way his team capitulated in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the Celtics series. He vowed changes. He spoke of how there were no sacred cows.
I can't even imagine what he thinks today.
Dumars's "Bad Boys" of 1991 showed some fire--albeit in a very unsportsmanlike way--when their reign of terror ended in the East. They sauntered off the floor, before time expired, walking right past the Chicago Bulls on their way to the locker room.
Dumars stayed behind, uncomfortable in participating in such a display.
Let's see how uncomfortable he is in tearing Bad Boys Lite apart. He ought to feel very comfy and cozy about it, if you ask me.
The sooner you crack this nucleus and give it a makeover, the better.