After 36 hours straight of Lebron-praise, it is time for Game 1 of the Pistons v. Cavs series. Rumor has it this one is going to be played on actual television, rather than the local cable access channel. That's what happens when you have an intriguing opponent. (Come on, admit it -- the Pistons v. Bucks series during this playoffs was about as exciting as watching ballroom dancing during the Summer Olympics.) As has been our MO for big games, Matt and I took some notes during the game and have presented them below in our "real-time" format. Enjoy.
11:44 -- Game starts with a steal by Ben. That's a nice sign, since we've been calling for greater intensity for him throughtout the playoffs.
11:33 -- Sheed with the baby hook on the other end for the first Piston bucket, game on.
10:30 -- Gooden with the O-board and putback over Ben; the Pistons can't allow that to happen too often today. For whatever reason, Drew Gooden is almost as grating on me as Damon Jones.
9:40 -- Tay Tay with the three! When he goes off, good things happen. Pistons 7-6
9:09 -- Sheed misses a turnaround jumper in the post. Why bother mentioning it? Because it's always good to see Sheed eager to get his game going down low.
8:20 -- Timeout Pistons. The Pistons are a bit careless with the ball in the early going, and it's time to regroup. Gooden has gotten off early against Ben, but I can't see that continuing.
6:06 -- Ben hangs Gooden on a dunk attempt. That was f'n Beautiful! Exactly the kind of play that Blue needs from him.
5:23 -- Gooden misses a turnaround jumper. We’ll take jump shots from him all afternoon, especially with Lebron on the floor.
4:46 -- Tay splits a pair of free throws after Ilgauskus' second foul. According to ABC, Prince has played in more playoff games in his first three seasons than any player in NBA history. It's not laziness, and it's not ego, folks. They are that relaxed, and that comes from playoff experience. 14-12 Pistons
4:33 -- Offensive foul on Gooden; the Wallaces currently have him frustrated, and I've gotta think it was that hangman that Ben got him with. That's demoralizing.
3:59 -- Phantom foul on Chauncey helping on Lebron in the post. You notice a difference in how the Pistons are playing him compared to the Wizards already. Like, staying in front of him, for instance.
2:09 -- Lebron goes coast-to-coast for the lay-in. The Pistons have been adept at limiting that play thus far in this quarter. Tied at 16.
1:18 -- Rip "Lebrons" Cleveland with an athletic scoop shot off the glass. 20-16.
0:51 -- After a Cleveland turnover, Tay hits a 3. He now has 11 in the first quarter, and the Pistons lead 23-16. Pistons are currently on a 15-4 run.
0:05 -- Chauncey hits the stepback three on Varejao with seconds left. Make that an 18-4 run for the Pistons. 26-26
0:00 -- 26-16 Pistons at the end of 1.
We see video proof that Damon Jones arrived at the Palace today wearing a leopard print jacket, smiling ear-to-ear after hitting the game 6 winner against the Bullets. The guy is amazing. Way to be, Damon. Way to act like you’ve been there. (Jackass.) Newsflash, I hate Damon Jones. No, I don't think "hate" is too strong a word, and no, I don't want to discuss it further.
11:05 -- Hughes, with the open lane to the hoop, dunks. Ends the Pistons' run at 21-4. 21-4? Those are like Div. III high school runs, man!
10:45 -- McDyess teaches Donyell Marshall a bit about his spin move. 31-18
10:10 -- Cleveland has Lebron covering Ben on offense, which is a genius stroke, considering Lebron doesn’t like defense. This way, he doesn’t have to. Ben misses the turnaround over Lebron (and yes, it was ugly). But Maurice Evans is there for the putback.
9:25 -- Replay shows that Rip, before exiting for Tony Delk, turned his ankle again. What is this, his first half tradition now?
9:03 -- Lebron fouls McDyess from behind on the turnaround. The Cavs currently have Lebron at the 4 and Donyell Marshall at the 5—not sure this is going to prevent mismatches. Just as I type this -- Dyess is fouled, and big Z comes off the bench and out of hibernation. Dyess sinks two, Pistons 37-23.
8:42 -- Maurice Evans plays tough D on Lebron and he still hits the driving scoop. Not much you can do about that; applaud the defensive effort from Mo though.
7:36 -- Stop me if you've heard this one, Wizz Fanzz: Lebron gets away with a travel.
7:10 -- Perfect alley-oop from Sheed to Dyess. That was an amazingly choreographed play between two big men. 41-29 Pistons. By the way, that dunk was on Lebron, who was sleeping in the paint. Note that the Cavs’ strategy of putting Lebron on a Piston big man does not work with Sheed and Dyess on the floor together.
6:24 -- Sheed for THREEEEEE. 44-31.
5:43 -- Pistons grab two successive o-boards and Tay goes to the line for two as a result of the second. Rip is shown on the bench after the commercial break—he doesn’t look terribly concerned about the ankle, and so I won’t be either. Tay hits two from the line, 46-31.
5:10 -- Lindsey is in the game. Expect a rant from me in 5, 4, 3, 2…
4:50 -- Lindsey hits a three. I put my foot back in my mouth for the time being.
4:22 -- Lebron on the break for an easy highlight-reel layup, and OH! That dude got Tayshaun’d! Seriously, Tay volleyball spiked it back in his face. Unfortunately it goes right to Big Z for the score. A moment of levity from YAY reader Dan Panorama in the YAYsports' in-game comments:
I think my favorite moment was when Lebron went up for a layup and then threw that impossible pass back to Z for the easy shot. Everyone watching with me flipped out and there were "oohs" and "ahhs" galore. Then we all realized that Tayshaun Prince had actually blocked the shit out of him.
After the block, all Hubie Brown can talk about is how great Lebron’s catch of the pass was -- how remarkable a catch it whe made -- how amazing a pickup it was. Meanwhile, the replay shows Tay defensively posterizing him. I normally really like Hubie, but that slob job was awful.
3:55 -- Tay hits the three on the other end, just to spite Hubie. 52-35 Pistons, and Tay is outscoring LBJ 16-15.
3:44 -- A rehashing of the Darko over Carmelo because of Tay story, complete with highlights of Tay’s blocks against Reggie, AI, and now LBJ. By the way, they just played "The Final Countdown"—let’s save some of the hair-band magic for the close ones, guys.
3:00 -- Eric Snow hits a jumper. I will now put those words back in my pocket for yet another year.
2:36 -- Antonio McDyess hits a jumper. Those I’ll be saying all playoffs.
1:59 -- Ben gives Big Z a pretty drop step and gets the reverse lay in. It was nice, and I have no problem with Ben taking those shots (the ones where he doesn't have to dribble much). He's amazingly quick for a guy that size.
1:32 -- Lebron hits two free throws to cut the Piston lead down to 14. But Lindsey sinks the three to push it back to 61-44. Like I said, foot in mouth = me.
1:00 -- Lindsey pounds the rock and throws up another three. Swap. This… is… ridiculous.
0:34 -- Another f’n three for Lindsey. Lindsey is my hero. I love Lindey. I take back all the hate I’ve thrown on the guy, if only for today. By the way, as Matt pointed out in the game comments thread, Sheed jumped up from the bench and was waving his towel before that ever went in. 67-46
1.3—Dyess caps it. 69-48. 69 points. 10-11 from three for the team, including 4-4 for Lindsey. 43 points in the second quarter—team playoff high. WE ARE ALL WITNESSES.
In-depth halftime Analysis? The Pistons scored more points than the Cavs. A lot more points.
And now onto the third quarter...
11:25 -- Big Z hits the hook to start the second half.
10:13 -- Gooden hits the jumper with Sheed in his face. Cavs going on a widdle-run here? (Said mockingly...)
9:59 -- Nope, not if Chauncey and Tay have anything to say about it. Backdoor cut by Tay, great pass from Chauncey, and the easy slam for Tay.
9:15 -- Sheed goes glass on Big Z. Lead is back up to 21, 73-52.
8:44 -- Cavs do not get back on D after the Lebron miss. Tay makes them pay with the layup. He’s got 20 already.
7:03 -- Sheed for THREEEEEEE. Pistons now lead by 26. Ass… kicking. The Pistons are now shooting 11-12 from beyond the line -- that's 91.7%. Unbelievable. During the ensuring timeout, the "We are all witnesses" commercial comes on. I’m so glad these things are programmed ahead of time.
5:50 -- Gooden short-arms a shot, perhaps trying to draw the foul from Sheed, who's in his face but holding his ground. The ball falls short a good three or four feet shy of the rim into Ben's hands... does that even count as a rebound?
3:38 -- The game has bogged down, but thus far stoppages are few and far between. Just as I say that, Big Z hacks Chauncey on his way to the hole. Chaunces two freebies puts the Pistons up 28. Yes, 28. Note: Sheed was hit in the eye during the last series of plays and is now out of the game.
3:03 -- Ben Wallace swats the Donyell Marshall shot right back into his face. Shotclock violation on the Cavs. The blowout fro, sans headband, seems to be the right combination.
2:46 -- The Pistons (specifically, Rip Hamilton) miss a three. I say this only because it is less work to recognize the missed shots by the Boys in Blue than it is to recap every make. Insult to injury -- out of bounds off the Cavs after that miss. Pistons get it back.
2:02 -- Hey, we haven’t seen that funny "Bron face" yet this game, have we? Rip Hamilton drives and scores. The lead has finally reached 30.
1:29 -- A breakaway followed by a reach-back tomahawk. Not Lebron, Rip Hamilton. 90-58.
0:43 -- This game is so relaxing, I can laugh at Ben airballing two straight free throws! Ha ha! (%#*&@ me!). Well almost. Meanwhile, the guys are teasing Ben about it, and he pulls his jersey over his face.
0:02 -- Tay hits the three to keep the Pistons up by a mere 30 after 3 quarters.
Note: This game probably will have one unfortunate consequence for the Boys in Blue. I think the Pistons have eliminated any credible argument that they are "unappreciated" after only one game by destroying the Cavs in such a fashion. I doubt many media types will be slobbering over the next two days -- at least not over Lebron.
11:40 -- We learn that Ben, after being denied a roster spot in Italy, considered giving up the game of basketball to become a lawyer. Wow -- I could have been a member of the same profession as Ben Wallace! A favor, Ben? Leave the lawyering to unathletic people. You are needed in Piston red, white, and blue.
10:31 -- After yet another volleyball spike by Ben on D (his fourth), Maurice dunks it home on the other end.
10:00 -- Maurice Evans hits the three, and the Pistons are now up 101-65. Sheed is shown from the bench and has a look of, "Ouch!" on his face.
9:11 -- Hey, they’re letting Damon Jones play. That’s nice.
8:50 -- Donyell Marshall hits a jumper to cut the lead to 101-69. Flip promptly calls timeout. I know, there is something wrong with me, but I’d be slightly disappointed if the Pistons didn’t win this one by at least 30.
8:27 -- Tony Delk hits the three after a McDyess offensive board. Pistons bench is now 13-16 from the field.
7:27 -- My favorite series of the game. Not only does Damon Jones dent the rim on a three attempt, but a lackadaisical Donyell Marshall gets blocked at the rim by McDyess, gets his own rebound, and has it stolen leading to a Piston run out. They flash to Sheed on the bench, and he’s hiding his face laughing. Wholesale changes bring Carlos Delfino to the floor.
5:57 -- Cato hits the 10 foot jumper. Timeout. During the break in action, I get commercials for "Big Momma’s Beach House" and a Motel 6 ad with scratching. Despite claims that it is dead already, I maintain that today must be the day that hip hop died. Also, good on you, ABC! There’s nothing quite like a made-for-TV series about the avian flu! Fan-tastic!
5:04 -- Ira Newble is in the game, and I have nothing negative to say about him. (He’s a fellow Southfield High Blue Jay.)
4:18 -- Tony Delk fouls Damon Jones on a three point attempt. Damnit Tony, I didn’t want him to score! He hits all three, 108-78 now.
3:25 -- Hubie says that the Pistons can almost sustain two injuries to their front court because they have Dale Davis and Kelvin Cato. Mmmkay, let’s not test that theory.
2:16 -- Cavs have cut it to 28 and Flip Murray is headed to the line. I promise not to complain about it too much.
1:35 -- Carlos F’n Delfino puts the Pistons back up 30. That was clutch, folks. Clutch! ABC play-by-play man Mike Breen:
"The Pistons with as dominant a performance as you'll see in a playoff game... the final score really not even indicative of how dominant it was."
There's a 30-point difference on the scoreboard, and it's still not indicative of Detroit's dominance. Well said, Mike.
0:03 -- I’m no longer an Ira Newble fan. His meaningless three at the buzzer makes the final deficit 113-86.
That's all folks. An old-fashioned beatdown. This one wasn't due to the quick turnaround, or the playoff experience factor. The Pistons were just that good. In a way, it is disappointing that the Boys in Blue shot so well from the outside, since it gives Cavs fans the excuse to label the game a complete fluke. Oh well, 1-0 with Game 2 coming up on Tuesday night. See you there!