Last week, we asked, "Who would pose the toughest first-round playoff matchup for the Pistons?"
We didn't expect the results to be nearly this close: out of the 122 people polled, the vast majority chose the Pacers (43%) and Wizards (41%), with the Celtics (7%), Sixers (5%), Bulls (3%), and Bucks (0%) nothing more than distant afterthoughts. (I'm a bit surprised the Bucks didn't recieve a single vote -- not because I think the Pistons have any reason to worry about them, but because they're currently slotted for the seventh seed in the East, above the current No. 8 seed Sixers, as well as the Bulls and Boston, who are on the outside looking in were the playoffs to start today. )
Personally, I voted for the Wizards -- I know they're inconsistent as all get up, but they've beat the Pistons at home and on the road this year, and I witness in person just how hot their shooters can stay for an entire game. The Pacers? Sure, they're a decent team, and I'm sure any series with them will be a grinder, but (and I can't believe I'm saying this) they've kind of lost some of their edge now that Reggie and Ronnie are gone. But I'm not surprised the Pacers won this poll -- after all, they've been dubbed our most hated rival, and people tend to dislike that which they fear.
Granted, this is a moot point -- the Wiz and Pacers are currently slotted fifth and sixth in the East, and, barring a collapse, won't be facing Detroit in the first round. But with Gilbert Arenas and Jermaine O'Neal both on the record as saying they'd like a crack at Detroit in the playoffs, we had to include them as options.