The Pistons had won their first seven playoff games, including a monumental comeback in Game 3 of their conference semifinals series against the Bulls on Thursday night. They were exhibiting the sort of skill and moxie that you need to scale Mt. NBA and win a ring. They were “locked in”, that now overused term. They had “focus,” another tired word.
This is one of the easiest posts for me to write, because I don’t have to write it. I’ll just use the magic of cut-and-paste to show you how horrifically Albom is taking the Pistons’ 102-87 Game 4 loss to the Bulls, nibbling their lead in the series to 3-1.
“They are on borrowed time now, these Pistons; they are borrowing it from themselves. Every quarter they extend this series is a quarter they should be saving for the next one. Every minute they play these Bulls is a minute they should be resting up for someone else.”
Wow. Has anyone told Mitch that even the greatest NBA teams don’t go 16-0 in winning a championship?
“But the Pistons left it there. Then they gave it back. They gave it back with loose passes, weak rebounding, foul trouble, average defense, bad shot selection, several missing-in-action players, and a light-on-the-gas-pedal effort that is uncharacteristic of how they’ve played all postseason.”
Yeah, they had a bad game — their first, really, in eight playoff games. And the 67-15 Dallas Mavericks are watching the proceedings at home. Have been for a week or so.
“In the locker room afterward, Rasheed (Wallace) kept coming back to an iPod speaker and blasting the volume, making it impossible to hear or talk. When a staff member turned it down, he re-appeared and turned it up again, picking songs that suited him. If he’d shown that much attention to detail on the court, the Pistons might be sleeping in this morning.”
Well. Blaming the loss on Sheed, huh? What about the previously highlighted paragraph, where Albom seemed to insinuate there was enough blame to go around? So he sees Wallace do something he probably does in the locker room after wins, also, and tries to make a correlation between that — which has nothing to do with basketball — and the symptoms of the Pistons’ first loss of the playoffs?
“The Bulls had a white flag. But the Pistons had one, too.”
Hmmmm. The Pistons were down by 23 points in the third quarter and sliced it to seven points late in the fourth quarter. Yeah — they sure waved a white flag!
“Every game against the Bulls is now a game the Pistons didn’t need to play. Every minute is a minute extended. Every muscle strain or injury is one that didn’t have to happen.”
Hey, didn’t he already say this, earlier in the column? Need to make word count, Mitch?
“No one expected perfection. “
Could have fooled me, Mitch.