A quick recap
I was pretty angry after last night's game.
I was all set to post a scathing, burn-down-the-effing-house recap of the lackluster 88-85 loss to the Trailblazers, who had come to the Palace after losing five straight and 10 of 12.
I was ready to bitch about the Pistons utter lack of perimeter -- and then interior -- defense. Over Sheed's disappearance on the offensive end and the Pistons' inability to get the ball down low until late in the fourth. (24 threes? At less than 30%?). Or that Flip Murray was the best Piston offensive player for much of the night (and you know you're in trouble when your sixth man outshines the "best starting five in the NBA"). And, of course, I'd go on and on about Carlos Delfino's exile from floortime in the second half after another productive scrappy first-half stint.
I could've belabored those complaints into hundreds of words, but I won't. Instead, I'll be brief: The Pistons were outhustled, outmuscled, outcoached, and outclassed.
Portland wasn't lucky last night. They weren't lights-out in the categories that tend to ebb and flow (perimeter shooting, for instanceThe Blazers shot only 41% on the night and yet scored 38 points in the paint and went to the line 27 times. They couldn't hit an outside jumper if Clyde Drexler's life depended upon it. So, they just decided to exploit Chauncey, Rip, and Flip by taking the ball to the basket over and over and over and over...). They took the ball hard to the basket for shots off the square or free throws, crashed the offensive glass, and took care of the ball. They made their own luck. On a bad shooting night, they simply resorted to outworking the Pistons, who played a second straight game of expecting their pedigree to provide a win.
Zach, we have your number, right?
So I'm not putting much stock in the rumors of Dumars' infatuation with Zach Randolph, but you think Zach might have heard the whispers before the game? 31 points and 13 boards... If that really was an audition, I'm pretty sure Randolph will get a call back. After the game, he had this to say:
"I love playing in Detroit,'' he said. "I went to college around here, and I love coming back.''
Great game? Check. Humble and complimentary in postgame interviews? Check. Troubled history in Portland and off-and-on relationship with Blazer fans? Check. Hell, sounds like all we need is to get Danny Ainge on the phone. We might be able to get this done for Cheik Samb, a first round pick, and -- of course -- Lindsey Hunter (who would promptly be released by the Celtics and resigned by the Pistons).
And finally, in an attempt to cheer you (and by "you," I mean "me") up after last night's game, please watch the following completely unrelated video of Shaq from his Orlando days. Shaq is a disliked rival in these parts, but damn was he freakishly good back in the day. I'm convinced that he had better lateral quickness than any guard on the Pistons current rost... my bad. Sorry for the negativity.
Portland 88, Pistons 85 box score [NBA.com]
Portland 88, Pistons 85 recap [NBA.com]
"Shoot, Pass, Slam" by Shaq [Youtube]