Cavs/Pistons Game 3 Recap
Cavs reestablish complete domination of Pistons to take Game 3.
For a series that’s already such a forgone conclusion my game-two notes took a lot of hits. Must’ve been something I said about the Cav’s bench. Judging from the responses you’d think I’d called their personal integrity into question. Seems Cleveland is the new Texas because they come out on the road determined to demonstrate that they’re not to be fugged with at home or abroad.
I end up at a relatively quiet bar on the Upper East Side of the island at a little sepulcheral lounge murked out in red. No flat screens just an old big screen (48 inches max) posted high in the corner with the sound turned down. For some reason the place makes me think of Christopher Lee (Count Dooku) in all those Hammer flicks. It’s an old speakeasy. Low lighting, murky visibility obscure frontage, impenetrable curtains with no signnage out front. The bartender tells me the place has been around before she was born but that’s not saying much. She’s wearing sheer black spandex. Too faux 80s for me personally but figure it’s a good look on her because she’s tall and angular with cheekbones high enough to sky dive off of. The sorta girl who rocks Uggs all year round in some form or another. A couple of weeks ago I saw some guy getting out of his Mercedes looking like a toy poodle he was carrying in a pair of his own and just shook my head in resignation.
This place is loaded with character. It’s split up into two rooms, the main one with the television. The music is all over the place but for a minute it melts into something more metallic viz a viz “Sanitarium” to make me feel like I’m on the set of a Blade movie inside a zombie disco. There’s an old guy slumped over on the couch behind me snoring softly to the dub radiating from the soundsystem and I pause to consider whether I should check his pulse for puncture marks.
Definitely not the sorta place I usually cop a squat at to catch a game. Nobody in the place is watching the game except the bartender who’s drooling over Anderson Varejao and carrying on about how cute he is: she likes the way his afro bounces up and down when he runs around. I’m like really? Varejao is still running a demo on the fine art of method acting. Every time he gets near the basket I hold my breath because I know something dramatic is gonna happen on the level on an epic pileup seen “Chips” only he’s way more convincing than Erik Estrada. But then I figure if Bron is screaming to the refs about being molested then Varejao’s thrashing and flailing isn’t an act but rather it’s the real thing.
The Pistons really are trying to ratchet up the pressure but the Cavs are looking more and more like a team that plays up to it’s competition. Last game was hardly competitive. A few hard fouls and ice-grilling but by the fourth it was out of hand and looked pointless. They let up on the gas and the Pistons took advantage of it and tried to make a push of their own but didn’t have enough petrol themselves. This time out the Pistons are putting a body on Bron and he’s responding like a champion vet by leading by example upping his intensity. His teammates respond by holding their business. Big Z finishes the half with a flourish flossing the sorta of dexterity and athleticism I never really figured he possessed. His body language and hustle reminds me of the time Shaq went coast to coast spinning off an opponent and going behind his back and dishing to his wingman then skipping down court with an “oooh weee” grin from ear to ear. I like to see big men showing off their “softer” sides with finesse. Sorta like when little guys like Nate Robinson jump over guys two times their size to finish with fury. I always figured Z was the sorta dude you’d find ice-grilling at a baby shower since I rarely see him skinning and grinning.
BTW, does anyone remember that game that Shaq ran it end to end because I honestly can’t recall?
I think Z’s stunt tips the balance and sends the Pistons into the locker room looking bewildered and off balance. They weren’t even really getting the calls at home. And they still can’t rebound to save their lives in the playoffs.
More people are starting to pile up in the bar and it’s getting louder but it’s just as well because this is a sloppy quarter for both teams. Shots are coming up so short they’re hitting the bottom of the rim.
Michael Curry said he expected his team to win this game? Still sticking with the party line. Why? They still can’t limit Cleveland to one shot. They had double digit turnovers in the first half! But still they occasionally show flashes of yesteryear and limit the Cavs to nine points this quarter but it’s obvious the Cavs can turn it on anytime they want against the Pistons. I think they could spot the Pistons a dozen points or so and still power back and win it in the end. That’s how confident they’re looking tonight.
When was the last time the trainer checked Sheed for a pulse? He belongs in the bar next to guy degenerating on the couch behind me.
I’m glad the third period is over. It’s just one less period until this is all over. The Pistons have been the most disappointing team in this year’s playoffs. Even more disappointing than the Hornets who played their hearts out during last season’s postseason but aren’t as inspired or inspiring this year. The Piston’s aren’t even competitive. They’re hanging around and even tie the game but when they get the opportunity they can’t even connect on wide open shots and they still can’t stop the Cavs from getting second-chance opportunities on the glass. It’s like a broken record at this point and I feel like I’m repeating myself. At one point Mo Williams is forced into a bad shot after picking up his dribble but then gets his own rebound not once but twice before knocking down the shot from the perimeter after three tries. It’s exasperating and I flag the bartender for another drink to dull the pain.
Then Mo Williams pulls a misdirection move on Bynum that’s so heinous the cameraman loses focus and the network calls a timeout.
(I wanna see that Mos Def movie with Mr. Epps after I’ve seen the commercial’s hammered me into submission. It looks innocuous and ignit and full of junkie hijinx like “Friday” but figure it could never match the classic.)
Varejao is at it again with his antics. He’s getting a lotta face time with McDyess this series. He gets clipped coming down the lane like the last time he and McDyess clashed and someone got ejected. Ahhhh, those were the days when it was much more gutter. Varejao gets in McDyess’ face and I wonder what would happen if McDyess just lost it and blacked out on him like the good old fans in Motown but McDyess doesn’t do anything. I’d be pissed at the calls Varejao works like second nature if he made his free throws. But I think I see his racket. He’s taking hits for the team in order to get them in the bonus. A man like that is indispensible.
WTF?!? Z nails a three from the corner. But then the Pistons respond but then LeBron delivers the coup de grace in a slasher to the lane and ends up in the stands with an “and 1” opportunity and comes back with a skyscraper of an alley oop that’s gotta be next issue’s slam of the month. It seems like he gets stronger as the game goes longer like Jerome Bettis and the Steelers snowed-out and mud-crusty late in the fourth.
The Pistons are one game away from being history but I’m cold to it all. The Pistons’ era of dominance has long been over. Their history is rich. I figure it won’t be too long before they find another winning combination. At least Tayshunned will get a little rest now. He’s been getting abused and it’s taken a toll on his offensive output. Whoever LeBron draws in the next game is gonna get worn out just like him and perhaps be just as ineffective offensively and perhaps defensively. Paul Pierce sagged in some of those later games with his hands full attempting to contain Brawn.
Joe Smith is brilliant. He’s a warrior like Powe was last season for the Celtics on their run. The sorta support of the bench that lends confidence to the coaching staff and fans and gives a boost to teammates. It makes last game’s breakdown from the bench look like an anomaly.
Just one more game from this series and then we get to the good stuff!