As you all know by now, the Pistons hung on to defeat the Heat last night, 87-85, in a game that more closely resembled the defensive slugfests of last season than the free-flowing, high-scoring games this year. Matt has already posted a fairly in-depth review of last night's Piston win at his new AOL Fanhouse gig, so I'll just add some random storylines here.
The title of the post?
That's just what I expect most media outlets to make mention of today. Yes, Dwyane Wade did take a tumble when he drove at Sheed. No, it was not a flagrant foul. And, yes, he did deserve the punishment he received. This is what happens when guards drive against big men. And it is also the reason that Flip Saunders' zone defense is so effective against an able scorer like Wade. By taking away the lane to the basket, Wade's left with two options for racking up points, the jumper or drawing fouls. The jumper having abandoned him (Wade finished the game 5-23 from the field), he relied on a steady dose of theatrics to get to the line. Wade shot 13 free throws to increase his league-leading total to 176.
Whatever... The Pistons knew what they were in for with Wade. In a humorous moment, Sheed spent part of the pre-game practice mimicing Wade's flops and drawing laughs from the team. Chris McCoskey of the Detroit News explains:
Rasheed Wallace fired up a shot and then threw himself to the floor. Then he got up, faked a limp and did it again.
"Working on my D-Wade flop," he said, laughing.
Sheed went on to say the following:
"You can't do nothing to D-Wade," Wallace said. "If you say 'boogety-boogety booh' to him, that's a foul. If you give him a hard look, that's a foul."
I think Sheed sums up perfectly the frustrations of the fans, as usual. The man really should consider politics after his NBA days are done. And I have an idea of who his PR director should be...
The return of "winning ugly"
Or, as Chauncey Billups put it:
"It was probably the worst game we’ve played in a couple of weeks, but we came out with a win," he said. "It was ugly."
Such is life of an NBA team that has won 7 straight games. Their worst game in weeks is enough to beat their conference rival and pad their early lead in the Central Division.
It was good to see the Pistons winning a slugfest. Their shooting abandoned them early (with the exception of Rip 'n Flip), but they toed the line 28 times, outrebounded the Heat, and held Miami to 41% shooting. And if the similarities to last year's squad weren't enough, they threw in 9 blocks for good measure. Regardless of whether they drift back into their triple digit ways, that this defensive intensity is in reserve calms some of my paranoia about the upcoming 'road trip from hell' (December 7-16).
Whither goest our fearless leader?
Finally, let's take a look at how Matt's doing over at AOL. Here's a quote from Wade comes up empty as Pistons top Heat [AP, MSNBC]