I have to stop myself from getting too worked up over games like last night's 7-point win over the AI-less Sixers. The natural reaction, if you're judging solely by the lineups and the final score, is to surmise that the Pistons' effort-level was lacking or that the dog days prior to the All-Star break had finally caught up with them. But if you dig deeper into the box score, you'll see that the Pistons took 15 more shots than the 76ers, that they had assists on 28 of their 37 buckets, and that they turned the ball over only 7 times all game (Chauncey, in a poor shooting night, had a silly 14:1 assist to turnover ratio for the game). In short, while the Pistons didn't exactly treat this game like a playoff contest, they put forth enough effort to keep a semi-comfortable cushion between them and the overmatched but energetic Sixers. End result: the game was never in doubt and another notch in the "W" column.
Philly guard John Salmons had this to say to the Philadelphia Daily News about the Pistons perceived casual attitude:
"I was getting upset," the 76ers guard said after last night's 87-80 loss to the 39-6 Pistons, generally regarded as the NBA's best team. "They'd get in the huddle, laughing and joking. They knew they were going to come out with the win. It was like, been there, done that. They just know how to win games. They're not worried."
I still think that it would have been nice to get the bench a few more minutes, especially after the Pistons opened up a 13 point lead in the second quarter (and especially with a road game against a geared-up Pacers team tonight). Even with Detroit Bad Boys-muse Carlos Delfino spelling Rip or Tayshaun, I still think the Pistons would have dominated the Sixers. But alas the Pacers, sans Jermaine O'Neal, shouldn't be much of a match for the Pistons either. So expect Delfino, Maurice Evans, and Carlos Arroyo to get plenty of court time tonight (for that matter, let's hope the game is far enough out of reach that we see some Darko,Darko was inactive last night in favor of Alex Acker. Now before you conspiracy theorists run wild, it was only the flu--not a pending trade or sudden recognition of his matador defense--that kept him out of the lineup. Darko will meet the team tonight in Indiana and should rejoin the active roster as well. Dale Davis, and Jason Maxiell, as well).