While previewing the series with Skeets and Tas, I predicted that Game 3 would be the one the Pistons lost, since they haven't swept an opponent in the playoffs since I was in fourth grade, and have dropped six straight Game 3's after going up 2-0. But man, I hope I'm wrong -- there's no reason the Pistons shouldn't win this game tonight, despite Brian Hill's best efforts to soften up the refs:
Howard was dominant against the Pistons during the regular season, averaging 20.8 points and 13.5 rebounds. He has scored just 21 points in the first two games because the Pistons have constantly swarmed him with double teams and sent guards to swipe at his dribbles. Magic coach Brian Hill feels that Howard hasn't gotten the calls from the referees when he repeatedly has been roughed up.
"I just think there's a lot of contact in there that goes uncalled, that's all," Hill said. "There's a lot of guys going for strips and blocks and things like that and just a lot of contact that could be called in those situations."
Hill is one to talk, especially with how the Magic have played Rip Hamilton this series:
"It's a challenge," [Grant] Hill said of guarding Hamilton. "I enjoy going against Rip because he's a great player. He forces you to play paranoid; you almost have to be paranoid at all times because any second, he could take off in a full sprint. He's constantly moving. It is a challenge, to stay in front of him, try and be physical, bump him. That's what you try to do."
According to Rip, though, it's no big deal:
"It's a waste of energy. It ain't going to work," Hamilton said. "People try to do that my whole career. They look at me and say they've got to play me physical. We got to try to knock him down and stuff like that. But I like the contact. I will just keep playing through it."
In any case, the Magic have apparently realized that having someone with some semblance of shooting range on the floor is a good idea. Too bad it's J.J. Redick; Rip should have a field day with that matchup.
The ball tips in just a few minutes -- as usual, leave your thoughts in the comments.