The end of the first round means the end of television broadcasts on TV 20. For most of us, that also means the end of hearing Pistons icon George Blaha call games with Bill Laimbeer -- at least until the Finals, when I usually mute the TV and turn up Blaha's radio broadcast.
Game 5 also marked the end of Eli Zaret's first year working as the sideline reporter. All in all, I thought Zaret did a good job. Granted, it's tough to screw up tossing softpitch to the assistant coaches coming out of the half, but he kept things informative and fun. I also enjoyed reading his posts over Blue Collar Blueprint, which were eventually also published on Pistons.com. I just wish he wrote a bit more frequently, because his stuff usually provided some unique insight into what it's like traveling with and watching this team up close all season:
Even though I’ve covered sports for 30 years, this was the first team I got to travel with. And the thing that continually amazed me was that if I didn’t know the outcome of each game, I wouldn’t have been able to tell if they’d won or lost. They maintained a remarkable consistency of composure in all situations. Maybe that’s because when you play over a hundred games, avoiding large spikes in emotion helps keep you sane. But more than that, I think it’s because this is a big picture team built to make championship runs. They battle each night and then accept the results as part of the greater equation. Over-emotionalizing can only get you off track.
The climax nears [Blue Collar Blueprint]
(That George Blaha bobblehead picture? Yet another reader-submitted pic from the Detroit Bad Boys Flickr group.)