First let me say that I always love when Detroit comes to town because they always bring in their fans with them. In the past many have been just down right vile, but some of them have been cool.
Last night was no exception. I get to the game (late of course, d@mn you Walsh & the 7 p.m. starts) & when I sit down I see directly behind me a good old fashioned Chauncey Billups Jersey.
No big deal, I was going to leave him alone & I hoped he would do the same for me.
But noooooooooo. As I sit there a voice from on high (Roaming Gnome) yells down to me that I don't have to worry about getting Iverson because & I quote "they don't want any of our trash". I reply that I am still worried but I felt better with his comforting words.
I turn around & sit down when said Detroit fans says to me, "so you don't want Iverson".
I then replied with a long eloquent speech about how team game vs. individual game did not appeal to me & although I thought he had talent it just wasn't what I preferred. We then both agreed that World B. Free was a great player as well.
Ok, at least that's what I wish I would have done.
No, my real reply to him was "hell No"!!
He then went on to state that he thought J.O. & A.I. would be a great combo & before I could even answer Diamond Dave jumps in as though he were rushing up Mt. Suribachi to plant the flag & proceeds to list off every player that couldn't co-exist.
They guy then says "true enough".
Had he ended it there I would have been fine but no, he had to throw this in.
"You know Larry Bird tried to get Iverson before, right"? To which I replied "I knew Larry has stated that he was a fan but I didn't think he ever made any real overtures".
He then says "yes back when he was the coach he tried to get Iverson here & in fact had a trade done but the G.M. of the team Nixed the idea".
Of course I didn't try to explain that being the coach gave Bird no authority to make any trades or anything because this guy was on a roll.
So I say "I wonder who they were going to trade him for"?
"The deal was for Reggie Miller" to which I choked on my Diet Pepsi.
I couldn't even reply before this gem came out of his mouth.
"When they nixed the deal Larry Bird walked".
I didn't have the heart to break it to him about what really happened so I just changed the subject to how the pistons were doing.
He was all happy in the first half. Kept saying it was a good game. But by the middle of the third he had become very quiet, then by the middle of the fourth he got kind of happy again only to be quashed by the Pacers run at the end.
He didn't even stay to say goodbye.
Ok, now to the game.
Second best game I've seen this season & probably the best game I've seen really this season because it was vs. a good team. I liked the N.Y. game as well but they aren't the Pistons.
Rick Carlisle was great during this game. For once in his career he resisted the temptation to play down to a small lineup & in fact at times put a huge lineup on the floor.
At one time we had Saras, Williams, Granger, Baston, & O'Neal on the floor. That is freakin huge.
I have no idea though why Skip chose to go small in the 4th when J.O. began to terroize the Pistons in the paint. They only had Rasheed on him & he was out of it for most of the night.
Side note, it's always fun to watch Sheed & Violet Palmer in the same building. I keep wondering when he is going to swing at her. I have no sympathy for Wallace but d@mn she is a horrid ref.
Back to Rick. I loved the offensive game set last night. This is what we were getting the first 8 games of the season & then down at the end we changed up & went low post. We had low post early in the game as well, but it was way more mixed in than it has been in some recent games.
I love this offense because everybody gets a chance to score & I think it is always more dangerous when a team can have several players in double figures.
So while there were several heros amongst the players let's not forget Rick on this game.
Let's start with O'Neal.
He just flat out ruled the 4th quarter. Even though he had a massive stat line I want to pay him a bigger compliment. To me, he got his offense in the flow of the game. We did not force it into the post most of the night & when we went to that option at the end we had already given them several other types of offense so they had to be prepared for it as well.
It was proper to give J.O. the rock at the end & he more than earned the right to get those shots with his play.
When he plays like this & as a team everybody gets theirs it can be fun for everyone. This is why I was so dissapointed by the post game meeting after game 8.
This J.O. will get as much, if not more, points & boards by working in this offense than he would by us just making sure he gets his touches down low.
But hey, let's not turn this into that kind of debate again.
Let's all just sing the praises of J.O. for this game & say that he played on an MVP level in the 4th quarter.
Jacksons defense of Hamilton should not be disounted at all. He kept Rip out of it for most of the game & he made him work for most of his shots.
Also & this may not mean much to people but I think it's important. When our bench fought off a run by Detroit in the 3rd quarter the first person off of the bench & meeting the guys at almost the half court line was Jackson. He even beat Armstrong out there.
He genuinely looked happy & was very very very supportive.
Also, Mr. Cool, Jamaal Tinsley for some reason decided to be a rah-rah guy. He was there to slap hands with almost everyone who played with him on the floor after they hit a shot or made a play. he even once went all the way across the floor to give daps to Saras after a great pass he made to J.O.
Just like that N.Y. game, it seemed to me that everybody was on the same page & everybody was pulling for each other.
I think it is important to let the bench play & let them have some meaningfull min. if for no other reason than to develop team chemistry. I don't think there has to be a bench team & a starter team. I think you can filter in the bench guys & always keep a starter or two out there but I think it is vital to let Baston, Granger, Saras, (hopefully) Williams & Armstrong get some time. I would prefer letting Powell get a few min. here & there as well but I understand keeping the rotation to 10 or 11 men.
You'll notice I left Daniels out of that, well again Quis got a DNP-CD. Could be because they let Williams have a turn at home before he goes back to the I.L. But this isn't the first time Quis got one of these while being healthy. I'm not sure if it's because he doesn't fit into what Rick wants or he may have a discipline problem or what but he is not playing the time that I thought he would.
Danny was also very good last night. He missed a couple of spots vs. Prince but other than that I thought he did very well. I like the fact that he is mixing up his shot selection more & not just becomeing a 3 pt. specialist.
Al played very well & I love the fact that he is very quick with the ball. However Al did not get his first rebound until 18 min. into the game. That is obscene. Love the work on the blocks Al, but grab a d@mn board.
Jeff was ok. Nothing grand but nothing horrid either. Actually that sounds worse than it was. Jeff did a very good job out there but it really wasn't a special game from him, not that it needed to be.
For those that didn't see it Armstrongs shot from beyond the half court line was beautifull. You could tell it was going in when it left his hand just by the arc it took. Didn't count but hey it looked nice.
That contortionist from Romainia was weird. How the hell you can shoot an arrow with your feet from over & behind your head is beyond me.
Ok, for those in attendance. Who was with Walsh all night? Was that David Simon?
I did not see Harrison on the bench, was he there & I just missed him?
Great game by everyone & let's do the same on Friday.
Sorry this is kind of disjointed but I'm short on time. I'll try & add more later.