Dave D'Alessandro is a talented beat writer covering the Nets for the Star-Ledger -- he's one of the few guys from out of town whose material I'll seek out now and then. Apparently, though, he's not a fan of the Pistons. Here's an excerpt from a recent mailbag segment he did on his blog -- first the question, then his answer:
It seems to me that the Nets have a chance in a seven game series against anyone in the East with the exception of Detroit because they are consistently good. So, as the Nets go into their final few games still jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference, which of the match-ups that the Nets might face in the first or second round (hope springs eternal) of the playoffs offer some hope for this push-me-pull-you team?
Brigadier General I. M. Doolittle (Mrs.)
Laurence: Glad you brought this up. The thing that interests me about the first-round Easterlies is whether Detroit has learned its lesson from last season. Everyone knew they were the best team going into the playoffs, but they were quickly exposed as a doddering, unmotivated bunch of hags, playing without energy or toughness, showing lousy body language when LeBron hit them with a jab, eager to throw their coach under the bus rather than be accountable. So whoever draws the Pistons in the first round will be facing a team that is either going to play with something to prove, or one that could be very shaky beneath the confident veteran facade. For that reason, I think this would be the best matchup for the Nets - not the worst.
Yikes, that brought back bad memories. There's more, if you're into the whole "punching yourself in the stomach" thing and wanted to read more.