Was the Pistons' blow-out win over the Cavs on Sunday really an indication of how easy this series is going to be? Maybe, maybe not. The Pistons did win three out of four games against the Cavs in the regular season, holding Cleveland under 80 points in each win. But Sunday's game was a bit different, it was just a little too good to be true. Here are four reasons why I expect the rest of the series to be more difficult:
1. The Cavs were tired. Most players are too proud to use fatigue as a factor, but the Cavs were certainly at a disadvantage. The Pistons wrapped up their series with the Bucks on Wednesday, giving themselves a full three and a half days to rest for the second round. The Cavs, meanwhile, barely had time to catch their breath following an emotional win over the Wizards on Friday
The Cavs showed some energy early in Game 1, but they soon fell flat, allowing Detroit to finish on an 18-4 run. As the series wears on, though, fatigue will become less of a factor, especially after the three-day lull between Game 2 at the Palace and Game 3 at the Q. If the Pistons are going to lose a game this series, it will most likely be that first one in Cleveland.
2. The Pistons were on fire in the second quarter. The 18-4 run to finish the first was nice, but things got ridiculous in the second when the Pistons scored 43 points. How ridiculous was it? That's one more point than both teams scored combined in the first, and it's a new Pistons playoff record for points scored in a quarter.
Lindsey Hunter is a career .365 shooter from beyond the arc, but he hasn't shot even .300 from there since 2003. That didn't stop him from draining four of five three-pointers in the second quarter, though. As a team, the Pistons 14-19 from the field, 7-8 from beyond the arc and 8-8 from the charity stripe.
Outstanding work, right? Well, it's a good thing that the Pistons only missed five shots in the second quarter, as they also let Cleveland score 32 points while shooting 70.9% (12-17) from the field. Had the Pistons been shooting at a somewhat more sane percentage, the Cavs might have been able to cut into Detroit's first-quarter lead.
3. LeBron James didn't score a single point in the second half. This would rank higher on the list, but LBJ already had 22 points at halftime and his team was still facing a 22-point deficit -- the Cavs had more problems on Sunday than James not being able to find the basket. And to be honest, part of the reason he didn't score after halftime was because he didn't play a minute in the fourth quarter, a wise move by coach Mike Brown considering his starters were already fatigued entering the game. But you have to figure from here on out, the NBA's leading scorer in the playoffs won't have another game where he's a complete non-factor in two out of four quarters.
4. LeBron James attempted just three free throws. James didn't receive the "star" treatment from the refs that many were expecting, as he got to the line just three times the entire game. Mind you, this guy averaged over 10 free-throw attempts in both the regular season and the six-game series against the Wizards. Yes, sitting out the fourth quarter helped skew the stats somewhat, but he's bound to get more calls early at some point in this series. And when that happens, it could put some of Detroit's bigs in foul trouble, and in turn change the game. Anyone else remember how Ben Wallace's foul trouble against Milwaukee helped make the first round a bit too competitive at times?
Of course, I'm still banking on a Detroit victory -- if this thing goes longer than five games, I'll be awfully disappointed. But the above four factors helped create something of a perfect storm for the Pistons on Sunday, and I just don't think it'll be quite this easy the rest of the way.