Most Pistons prefer Pacers to Celtics
BY MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Knight Ridder Newspapers
DETROIT - (KRT) - In the buzz of the Pistons' locker room Tuesday, with the
vanquished and Detroit pumped full of pride, a thought popped into Antonio
Let's go, Celtics!
Naturally, McDyess' teammates thought he was crazy. The Pistons had just won a
series. To hell with the Celtics. Go Pacers!
Perhaps I should clarify: The Pacers and Celtics are tussling for the right to
play the Pistons
in the second round. The Pacers host Game 6 on Thursday night with a chance to
if the Celtics win, Game 7 is Saturday.
"I said I would rather play Boston, but they said they would rather play Indiana
so much fun," McDyess said.
Why the split? Well, here's one theory:
McDyess is in his first year as a Piston. His first Pistons-Pacers game was that
one when, in
a misguided attempt to assist Palace security, Ron Artest strip-searched a
random fan. It
did not go well.
And every Pistons-Pacers game since then has tested Detroit's pain threshold.
ultra-hyped first game after the brawl (I vaguely recall the headline: Will
Maimed This Time?), there was the bomb-threat game at the Palace, when one of
nation's finest brain donors decided to torch whatever was left of Detroit fans'
McDyess said he doesn't want to face the Pacers because "they always play us
tough - they
really play us tough."
True. But he has also never experienced the fun side of the rivalry. The other
remember when this was the best grudge match in the NBA.
It was just last year. The Pistons beat the Pacers in the Eastern Conference
And while McDyess gets used to the deep end of the pool (he has never made it
first round), the other Pistons are so confident, they don't think it's a
question of which
team they play.
To them, it's a question of which team they beat.
And beating Indiana sounds like more fun.
"They look up to the challenge," McDyess said. "That's what gets us up. These
look forward to be playing games like that. It doesn't matter, really, because
to try to win regardless."
Some of us view a Pacers-Pistons series with three words: PLEASE, GOD, NO. No
brawl talk. No more bomb threats. No more Pacers fans blaming the Pistons fans
ruining their season. But the truth is, it would be a more interesting series
The Celtics are a fun team to watch, unless you cheer for them. Then they could
to a multi-state felony spree. Look at some of their stars: Antoine Walker, who
think he gets paid by the shot; Ricky Davis, a guaranteed first-ballot inductee
Knucklehead Hall of Fame; and Gary Payton, who celebrated the 2003 playoffs by
in a fight at a strip club, then followed up in 2004 by complaining about his
offense, his number of shots, the media_everything but the room service.
The Celtics love to run, which is nice, because the Pistons would send them home
The Pacers, on the other hand, would grind the Pistons into misery. Oh, the
still win the series. But the Pacers' methodical play could put a scare into the
prepare Detroit for the tougher road ahead.
"Kind of boring," McDyess said of Indiana's style. "Kind of puts you to sleep.
down every play. And I think Boston gets up and down_it's a much more exciting
Indiana kind of lulls you to sleep and gets wins."
As for the brawl rehash? Doesn't bother the Pistons. They welcome any hype they
the tension between the teams is not nearly as bad as the tension between the
"That's overrated," said Chauncey Billups, who said he is friends with virtually
on Indiana's team. "I don't think there is bad blood with nobody."
Let's hope not. Let's hope that if the Pistons face the Pacers, everybody
Pistons really should beat whomever they play in the next round. And if it's
only have one request.
Basketball. Let that series be about basketball.