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Waiting for the bench to step up

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Antonio McDyess needs to be more aggressiveYou don't need to be Chuck Daly (or even Ronny Rothstein) to realize that the Pistons haven't been getting much production out of their bench the past two games. Dana Gauruder of The Oakland Press:

Outside of Antonio McDyess, the bench players once again rarely stripped off their warmup jerseys in Game 3. McDyess played 22 minutes while Lindsey Hunter, Maurice Evans and Tony Delk played a total of 19.

It was much the same in Game 4, as the bench received only 41 minutes and scored seven points. McDyess was held scoreless. Maurice Evans made some hustle plays, but was the only bench player who made a positive contribution.

"I don't think any guy other than myself got over 10 minutes of playing time," McDyess said. "That could definitely mess up your rhythm and mess up guys' confidence when they step on the court."

McDyess, the leader of the bench, has cooled off. He had a streak of five double-digit games broken when he scored two points in Game 2 and had just six in Game 3. But coach Flip Saunders doesn't feel the reserves need to score to make an impact.

"I have confidence that if you put them in, they'll give us the energy we need," he said. "A lot for our bench depends on matchups and who (the opposition) has on the floor."

Part of the reason McDyess hasn't been scoring lately is because, well, he hasn't been shooting. In the first six games of the playoffs, Dyess averaged 7.5 field goal attempts per game. In the last three games, he has a total of 10: two in Game 2, six in Game 3 and two in Game 4. The starting five likes to refer to McDyess as the team's "sixth starter," but when a starter goes into a rut, the team usually keeps feeding him the ball so he can shoot his way out of it. Here's to hoping that someone on the team, be it a coach or a fellow player, pulls McDyess aside and insist he become more assertive in Game 5.

On a sidenote, I'm not entirely comfortable with that last Flip Saunders quote. Sure, it's mostly just coachspeak, but why does a team always have to match up with what the other team is doing? The Cavaliers have only one player that's good enough to consistently give the Pistons problems, and that's LeBron James. If the Cavs want to go small, the Pistons should be going big, especially in the final seconds when they're desperate for a rebound or a tip-in. I like Maurice Evans as much as the next guyOK, that might not be true..., but can you remember a single instance in the regular season where he was on the court during crunch time of a big game? Yeah, neither can I.

Bench production now next to nothing [The Oakland Press]