I was really nervous about game #1. I feared that the Pistons agressiveness defensively might be a shock to ther Pacers.
But the Heat helped prepare the Pacers. Clearly the Pistons are better than the Heat, no doubt, but the Heat play as hard, they just don't have the number of big guys the Pstons have.
What have we learned.
1) Pistons full court pressure will not be a factor at Conseco Fieldhouse. Pacers did a great job, by J.O and Foster getting down court and having the guard throw the ball in, it cleared Ben and Sheed from pressuring, and Tinsley has no trouble getting the ball up court agaisnt Billups, even AJ did fairly well.
2) Pacers have more offensive weapons than the Pistons. Pistons rely so much on outside shots, while the pacers go inside time and time again. That gets the pacers to the free throw line more often and that is huge in these low scoring games
3) Pistons have the advantage in the backcourt. If Billups hit a few shots in the 2nd half the whole game is different.
4) Prince is intimidated by Artest. I could see it tonight, whenever Artest was guarding Prince , and prince had the ball he was anxious to get rid of it. Prince scored all his points when Ronnie was not guarding him.
5) Rip cannot beat Artest off the dribble, and he should not try, but he can beat Artest by running him off 2 or three screens. Regie is better than Ron at staying with Rip through all those picks.
6) If Billups backs down Tinsley inside of 15 feet, help must come, otherwise he will score.
7) Tinsley is really gotten good at those little runners in the lane and if he is aggressive at gettign into the lane the Pistons seem surprised that he is hitting those shots.
8) I am more confident that the Pacers will win this series after watching this game tonight. Not just because the pacers won, though game #1's are huge, but because the Pistons defense while excellent was not able to stop the pacers offense as well as I feared. J.O missed a lot of good shots, and Ronnie needs to make a slight adjustment on the tyope of shots he takes, and then he'll be fine.