Yes, we're a little delinquent with our recap. But you all saw the game, so a detailed rehashing is probably unnecessary. Instead, we'll just give you some series-specific and some general thoughts to ponder going into tonight's game 2 (which has all the fan-tastic feel of an exhibition game).
A few quick observations from my out-of-practice eyes:
1) Flip Saunders considers Lindsey Hunter a better option at the point than Flip Murray. Incidentally, I prefer being kicked in the stomach over being kicked in the groin. (Sorry, old prejudices die hard.)
2) Carlos Delfino has earned the trust of the coaching staff and will be given some minutes in the playoffs. Now, if only our pro-Jason Maxiell and pro-Amir Johnson campaigns could experience similar success.
3) Serious question: can the Pistons expect to go deep into the playoffs while being outrebounded and outshot? Are future opponents -- you know, the ones who aren't one of the worst teams in the league over the past 60-odd games -- going to deliver wins on a platter like the Magic did here?
2) Chauncey's head is in the right place
Billups, who makes a modest $6.8 million this season, becomes a free agent this summer and is expected to sign a lucrative contract that will match his accomplishments in Detroit.
Sunday was not the day to be asking him about his free agency and possibly leaving the Pistons to sign anywhere else.
"I'm playing against them in a series right now, and you're asking me if I would consider playing for them?'' he said with obvious irritation in his voice. "I'm playing for the Pistons right now. I'm trying to win a championship. Ask me that when free agency starts. Don't ask me that now.''
3) "Help me hate you."
Matt and I have been digging really deep in an attempt to find something remotely inflammatory to say about the Orlando Magic, but thus far are coming up empty. There's just nothing that lights the fire; that makes the average Piston wish them ground into a pulp, right?
I mean, it isn't the seeding that bores me. (I wish bad things upon the Wizards and Nets almost daily, and both were almost our first round opponent.)
And it isn't just Orlando's former Pistons that get sympathy (or so suggest my Ben Wallace and Mikki Moore voodoo dolls).
The Magic just don't have any polarizing players. Jameer Nelson is probably the only Magic player even approaching the role
Ruben PattersonMichael Redd(?) played during last season's first round series against the Bucks.
And their scathing post-game trash talk? Yeah, they need some work.
"I guess it was kind of poetic to be back here against my old team," Hill said. "It would have been more poetic if we had won."
So if you all have some suggestions as to why we should dislike the Magic (rather than just simply wishing they'd lose), leave them in the comments.
4) Re: the "Why did they let it get so close in the fourth quarter" stuff
I've been sufferring a crisis of fandom this weekend. If all playoff wins are created equal, then I suppose I should just be happy that the Pistons are going into tonight's Game 2 with a 1-0 lead. (A quick glance out West should remind us not to take the Magic for granted.) But I tend to fall into the homer trap of comparing every current Piston victory to those of the far-gone championship days of aught-4, which is unfair. Today's team is built around a different philosophy, and to expect today's team to scrap and claw and fight and badger and strangle the life out of an opponent in the same way that the Ben-led team did is unfair to the current squad.
I mean, there's a reason that Carlos Delfino's play sticks out to me when he's on the floor for the current squad, while the same play out of Delfino might have blended into the woodwork during the hungry times. That energy that Delfino displays now was a common trait of that entire roster of misfits, who seemingly won games with less talent, but more hustle. Well, those same misfits -- minus one, of course -- have received their just desserts. And "Misfits" is no longer an appropriate label. "All-Star," "MVP candidate," "Team USA member," "Champion," "Prized Free Agent to-be," etc. The Pistons are now expected to beat people because of talent rather than hard work. They're all "white collar" now. And that has required me to, begrudgingly, adapt my fandom. Let's see how this goes.