| SAN ANTONIO -- Let's see here .... |
1. Two quick touch fouls on both Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton compromised the Pistons' top perimeter defenders within the game's first seven minutes.
2. What's up with Nazr Mohammed getting respect from the refs in the first quarter like he's Shaquille O'Neal?
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| It's getting old: Rasheed Wallace questions a call. (AP) || |
3. There was way too much face time on the Jumbotron for that wonderfully distracting Eva Longoria.
Don't mind me -- just helping the Detroit Pistons with their laundry list of excuses for their 97-76 Game 2 loss. The Spurs took it to them from the opening tip, surging to an 11-2 start and never allowing the defending champions within five the rest of the way.
So this one is especially hard to conceive of. Hopefully, the three items mentioned above provide a start.
See, the Pistons don't get beat. When they lose, it's either the refs' fault, their tiring legs or their heads being elsewhere. They're the champs, baby. Says so right on Rasheed Wallace's wrestling belt. No one can actually enjoy the privilege of beating them.
Remember, this is a team whose emotional leader calls Manu Ginobili "all right -- nothing special." Only fitting that the Spurs guard hit his first six shots to put the game away, nailing his first four from 3-point range. Nah, nothing special about him. Detroit is the team that has Miami head coach Stan Van Gundy boycotting the Finals -- "not a chance I watch even a second on my own," -- because he suspected "Detroit will cry on every call the entire series."
Wonder if brother Jeff called and told Stan to turn on the game Sunday night, because he certainly would've recognized the spectacle.
The Pistons are going back to Auburn Hills with an 0-2 deficit in the NBA Finals after perhaps their most embarrassing performance of the past two postseasons, and it remains to be seen how their psyches will handle it.
Although you would expect two lopsided results to generate some humility, there was none in the Detroit locker room following the Game 2 loss, only the expected sour mood.
"We still feel good about our chances," Wallace said. "It was the good ol' boys against the bad boys. Now it's the bad boys' turn."
Bravado sure is hard to shake. 'Sheed walked alone as he boarded the team bus, prized championship belt still draped over his right shoulder. That luxury appears to be on borrowed time based on the results of the first two games.
Unlike Game 1, which was hotly contested until the final quarter, San Antonio dominated the entire way, hitting 11 3-pointers, which primarily resulted from defensive breakdowns. Offensively, the desired plan of feeding Rasheed and generating offense from the inside-out broke down early, sabotaged by sloppy passes and the ever-increasing deficit. San Antonio ran off 30 first-quarter points, led by as many as 18 in the second quarter and was up 58-42 at the break.
Given time to regroup, Detroit came out for the second half offering more of the same. Rasheed took a fallaway 17-footer, the Pistons grabbed the offensive board and it ended up with Chauncey Billups chucking up a 3-pointer. When the first points of the half were finally delivered by Rip Hamilton, he gave a point right back by yelling at the ref about not drawing a foul call.
The Pistons lack of cool and constant obsessing over whistles is now clearly affecting the team's play, but when asked about it after the game, Hamilton answered with a terse "next question."
The final minutes delivered a flurry of technicals, with coach Larry Brown and Billups earning warnings seconds apart. Why Brown would continue to whine over non-calls down 17 is beyond reason. Shortly after drawing the T's he waved the white Darko Milicic flag and pulled the starters.
"With us, we just have to figure out how to go out and play basketball," said Hamilton, who should certainly follow his own advice. "I mean, we felt though the whistling didn't go our way on some plays. ... We should learn from the Miami series, the Indiana series." The Pistons are down two games in a series for the first time all postseason. Their backs are really against the wall, which is when they claim they're at their best. The Spurs have struck first, that's all. The Pistons aren't saying they're bothered, just directing their frustrations at the referees, offering up their excuses and giving little credit to their conquerors.
"We really don't care," says Ginobili about the lack of props Detroit has offered. "We know how we are, we know how we play, how good we are. We've just got to stay humble. If people don't give us credit we just don't care.
"If we were in their situation right now, we would be very upset and not want to make any more mistakes."
The Pistons have to get their minds right, utilize their home court, forget about everything beyond their control and find a way to slow Ginobili, who has torched them for 52 points over the first two games, abusing Tayshaun Prince like no one we've ever seen.
"He's not giving us any problems," said a delusional Ben Wallace. "We're giving ourselves problems."
Of course, man. Whatever helps you sleep at night. We're fresh out of excuses, though.