At the beginning of the week, I imagined myself writing some kind of epic preview for the series. Instead, what's happened is that I've been so excited about everything that I've been unable to put anything together. I think it'll get easier after Game 1, when I finally get a chance to talk about the actual action taking place on the court instead of attempting to decipher the whirlwind of memories, emotions and analysis banging around my head. Besides, after the bang-up job breaking down the series all of you did, there's not much more I can say.
The ball tips off in two hours, and in lieu of an actual preview, Ian and I will be posting random thoughts on the game as they come to us below the jump. Continue reading, refresh often and add your own two cents in the comments.
Matt: The knock fans of rival teams like to put on Detroit is poking fun about their sense of entitlement, but I just don't think that's applicable here. Maybe it's just because how I feel, but I think the Pistons realize this will be their most difficult test. This isn't just another second-round matchup, this is going toe-to-toe with a legitimate contender.
Ian: I’m nervous to the point of being catatonic over this one. This is, by far, my most anticipated playoff series since the finals series against the Lakers. The Spurs, Heat, and Cavs became interesting series, but none had the built-in storylines of Pistons v. Bulls. A rebirth of my favorite rivalry as a kid, with Ben Wallace playing the role of Bill Cartwright? Are you kidding me?
Matt: Has anyone heard Dolla Bill's DTown on the radio yet? You know, this song:
According to this guy, WDFN has played it a few times, which, I must say, is awesome.
Ian: It is telling that the Detroit and Chicago media have been picking this game to go 6 or 7 games. Sure, no one in the mainstream media wants to be seen as a homer, but even moreso, I don’t think anyone has a clue how this one will play out. The Pistons could come out motivated and execute the Bulls to death. The Bulls could come out running and pressure the Pistons’ gimpy bigs. Who the hell knows?
Matt: In that same vein, I expect a long series, but I don't expect every game to be close. I won't be surprised if each team gets blown out at least once.
Matt: I don't know why I didn't think of highlighting this earlier, but Matt from Blog-a-Bull's guest post on DBB is definitely worth another read -- it's even more interesting now given the context of the current series.
Ian: As an aside (read: distraction), check out this quote from Phil Jackson about Smush Parker.
"We were very point-blank with Smush in saying, 'Hey, we know we have to go in another direction at this position. We have to get better at this position,' " Jackson said. "At this point, I would say that Smush is not someone that we are going to actively seek out to come back and play with us."
Ian: And in the category of "useless information," it looks like Detroit is a 5 point favorite for tonight's game 1.
Matt: Part of the reason I don't think Chicago's 3-1 advantage in the regular season really matters is because the Pistons were rarely playing at full-strength. Consider their drubbing in the first game -- they were without Chauncey Billups and Chris Webber (who was still with the Sixers). They had all of their current starters in the second game and won a close one. In the third game, the Pistons were without both Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace, and Chicago won by two.
The last game was an absolute cluster, though: Rip Hamilton fought a losing battle with the refs all night and ended up getting tossed, allowing the Bulls (sans an ill Ben Wallace) destroy the Pistons.
So what does this all mean? Nothing, and that's the point. Both teams have a clean slate, and fortunately enter the series relatively healthy.