Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cavs Take Game Four 91-87, Even Up Series with Pistons

I thought Chauncey Billups had turned the corner. After a series of bad shots, poor decisions, and turnovers, Billups finally played the way he is capable of in the first half of Tuesday night's Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers. He scored 18 points, looked like a totally different player. I guess I should have taken the Pistons 7 point deficit seriously despite Billups stellar play. Because Billups turned back into a pumpkin in the second half, shot 1-8, scored just 5 points, and the Pistons saw LeBron James, Drew Gooden, and Daniel Gibson hit big shot after big shot to help the Cavs even the series.

I thought the Pistons were going to hold on to their lead too. After erasing the Cavs first half advantage, the Pistons looked strong. Antonio McDyess, realizing this may be one of his last chances to get to the NBA Finals, played with a fire and intensity not often seen from him in the fourth quarter. Jason Maxiell was given decent minutes and looked good too. And Rip Hamilton, who struggled to find his shot early, ended up with 19 and 8 rebounds, despite a 9-21 shooting night.

It looks to be 2006 all over again, when the Cavs took the Pistons the full seven games in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, wearing down the Pistons to the point where the team from Detroit was easy pickings for the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals. If the Pistons do not lock down, and end this series in six games, the same thing will happen this year, as a worn down Pistons team will get mauled by a well rested San Antonio Spurs team, who can wrap up their series with Utah tonight. Or, of course, there's another option. If the Pistons don't wake up, it could be the Cavs facing the Spurs, and while that may make NBA Commissioner David Stern and all the television executives happy, it would be a huge under-achievement for this Pistons team.

We'll see how bad the Pistons want it on Thursday at the Palace in Game Five.

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