Remember when you used to mug your little brother in the face with your whole hand? Maybe you were the little brother who got mugged. Maybe you still get mugged. It’s not cool is it? Gives you that messed up feeling in ya gut huh?
Well last night the Philadelphia 76ers were mugged by the Detroit Pistons with a ten man hand, 105-88. The Pistons have been big brothers to the Eastern Conference for the better part of the decade so did you really think they weren’t going to respond after the Game 1 shocker like they normally would have in the past?
The Pistons have so much pride and their nucleus has been together for so long that there was just no way they were going to let the little brothers of the Eastern Conference take two in the D.
They constructed a veteran tough and professionally clean philosophy to dissect the upstart Sixers with defense that was Bad Boys playoff reminiscent. They fought through screens, kept the Sixers thinking with crisp ball movement, while also getting offensive boards that created extra possessions to efficiently suck the life out of Philly. Then, they made open shots initialized by Roscoe and Rip to give the Sixers an insecure feeling not usual after winning the first game of a series on the road. Detroit challenged themselves to perform at a heightened intensity not seen since the first couple games of last year’s playoffs.
Visualize Sheed being so heated that he slept in the arena ever since the loss in Game 1…cussin’ out the janitors just because they whistled while they worked as he tried to sleep on the training table one sock on, one sock off with crooked Clark Kent glasses–with the tape in the middle–and slobberin’ and snoring all over an Ultra Man blanky.
You know the next day the man put the fear of West Philly Wilt running through a bunch of Broad Streets in his teammates to the tune Chauncey probably said: “That shut yo mouth’s crazy!”
Anyway, I guess the brotha got his proper rest because he came out and shot 6-10 for 16 points had 7 rips and 3 blocks to effectively make sure the Sixers left Detroit with a sickening inferiority complex as they return home to Philly.
Rip Hamilton hasn’t been playing well after suffering a recent hip injury, so Flip Saunders gave him the lion’s share of starter minutes and he responded with a game high 20 points, 7 rebounds and 7 dimes.
Every starter with the exception of Billups scored at least 16 points in minimal minutes. The Pistons shot 60 % in the first half and 54% for the game while holding the Sixers to 39%.
Chauncey, who finished with nine points, was hot after Flip took him out. That doesn’t bode will for Andre Miller in Game 3.
Miller’s level of play (14 points) fell off as well, so look for a spirited battle between he and Mr. Big Shot Friday and Sunday.
The kids on the Pistons bench mopped up and finished the Sixers off with workmanlike and steady play.
The Sixers reserves outscored the Philly starters 50-38 and were led by Lou Williams with 17 points. If there was anyone who played with straight fire it was Reggie Evans. Evans followed up his stellar play in Game 1 with 13 points and 11 boards. He went after everything loose and matched the Pistons energy with some of his own, but he was the only Sixer able to do so.
Mo Cheeks will have to find a way for his young team to step up with confidence, intensity and precise execution of his game plan or his overachievers will be thoroughly embarrassed for the duration of the series.
For all the wreck Flip has caught from his critics for perceived recent Detroit post season failure, he has early on in the series convincingly put together a game plan that has ripped the soul out of Andre Iguodala’s air and floor game. He only scored 4 points last night. In the first two games of the series, Dre has shot 5-24 and is averaging a gotta get better 10 points. Tayshaun Prince has Iggy on lock and the Sixers have no chance unless the man who falls from the ceiling gets his game off track.
Remember he turned down a contract extension in November. The rest of the series will be a definite indicator whether or not he breaks the bank this summer and maxes out.
The question must be asked: Is Andre Iguodala a budding superstar?
We shall see as the Philly faithful welcome their game changer back for two–dressed in crowd electrifying white tees as they fanatically boo Sheed’s Apollo Creed.
Jason Maxiel’s only bucket was a boof on Jason Smith’s dome that symbolized a quick kiss goodnight…just when you thought you were getting a little bit more but ended up mad and sighing yourself to sleep–frustrated but snoring–while clutching a Deeetroit Basketball Roscoe blanky.