It's time to forget about the standings, the lottery and the ups-and-downs of the year behind the Detroit Pistons. In fact, it's a good time to forget about the hardships this team has seen since the summer of 2009. There have been free agent failures, draft disappointments, coaching catastrophes and a breakdown of brotherhood. But throughout these last three seasons, there has been one figure that has carried the torch of Pistons pride through times of trial and turmoil. As Ben Wallace hands off that torch tonight, fans will reflect on the unlikely, incredible career of what may be the greatest player to ever wear this jersey.
Game Tips at 8:00p.m. EST
Philadelphia 76ers: 35 - 30 (16 - 16 road)
Detroit Pistons: 24 - 41 (17 - 15 home)
Win or lose, Detroit's lottery chances remain the same. That is, unless Sacramento beats San Antonio, in which case there would be a tie in the event of a Detroit loss. But Detroit isn't losing tonight, so it really doesn't matter.
The Sixers will be without Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and Elton Brand tonight. While one might think that would render them ineffective, they've still got Lou Williams, Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner, all of which are capable of doing some damage on their own. As is true with the Sixers at full force, the same will be true tonight-- this team will iso you to death before you know what to do about it. The best way to handle this would probably be to start one of the greatest defenders in NBA history in the middle. Hey, we can actually do that!
Keys to the Game:
Stay in Front of Your Fella: That aforementioned iso game is not easy to stop, so do Ben a favor and prevent your man from getting to the paint in the first place. Philly is welcome to take contested jumpers all they want, but if they decide to drive to the hoop, at least give them trouble so The Benaissance can finish the job.
Feed the Moose: I started the season saying this and I'm ending the season saying this. Little has changed, nor will it change until Greg Monroe is given the proper diet. It should be noted that Monroe has one of the best isolation games in the league, and that is also Philly's lone defensive weakness.
Treat This Game Like the Playoffs - For our retiring hero, this is a must-win. Treat every possession like your last, and don't let any of Philly's bench players (Vucevic, Meeks, Lavoy Allen) make fools of you. Every single Piston owes Ben Wallace their best performance tonight, the respect to send him off in the same glory he brought to this franchise.
Question of the Game:
Is Ben Wallace the greatest player to wear this jersey? Has anyone who has worn this jersey been more representative of the spirit of this franchise?