Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just don't do it again

Another take on Cavs-Pistons Game 2:

I can’t say I’m overly upset by the fourth quarter of last night’s win over the Pistons. However, Detroit's 20-2 last-ditch barnstorming certainly takes some of the luster off what should have been a big-time chalupa giveaway starring Tarence Kinsey and the rest of the reserves.

The Cavs just didn’t have Detroit beat; they had them demoralized. What’s disappointing is the Cavs essentially took their boot off Detroit’s neck and at least give them a small spark heading into Friday’s Game 3.

There is no excuse for the second unit’s loss of focus and energy that allowed the Pistons’ bench to storm back, forcing the return of the starters in a matchup that was a laugher for three quarters. The comeback won’t make a difference in the series, but yesterday’s head-scratching finish was avoidable and unnecessary.

TNT’s announcers compared last night to Game 2 of the 2006 Eastern Conference semifinals when Detroit relaxed on a double-digit cushion and allowed visiting Cleveland to get within a possession or two of the lead. That contest, although a loss, served as a catalyst—what should have been a five-game coast for favored Detroit ended up a seven-game battle the Pistons were lucky to win. (See Murray, Flip and the Rebound That Got Away.)

That won’t happen this year: Like Pucky said, the 2009 Cavs have just too much firepower for the aging Pistons to deal with. Detroit has some nice up-and-coming players, but those young guns are not enough to offset the dearth of overall talent. The first quarter of Game 3 will be telling; the Cavs have to come out fast and set the tempo as they have over the first two games. Win on Friday, and everyone will forget about yesterday’s half-dozen minutes of atrocious basketball.