2004 NBA Finals: Game 2
I only saw the last 6 minutes of regulation and then the OT, but I thought the Pistons looked great until the melt-down. Really, if they had played just a tad better for the last 45 seconds of the game, they’d have gone up 2-0 before heading home for 3 games. Instead, they sort of gave up the ghost both physically and mentally and left L.A. hanging around. I thought there were two big plays, both involving Shaq, that just didn’t go right for the Pistons: First, Shaq’s 3-point play shoulda’ never happened. He should’ve been fouled before he ever had a chance to get the first shot off. Second, every Pistons player should’ve had the following phrase in the back of his mind: “They’re down 3. If Shaq catches the inbound, foul him and we win.”
The good news is I think the Pistons can actually take the Lakers. They have three games at home and they can finish it in Detroit. I think they’re doomed if they have to go back to L.A., but I also think they can wrap it up by game 5. They’re defense is obviously too good for the Lakers. That was true for all but Shaq and Kobe for both games so far. The trick is they can’t let Kobe break out for 14 points at the end of the game and expect to survive. Keep the ball outta’ his hands, force him to take bad shots and keep Shaq as far from the rim as possible. It sounds simple, but the Pistons are one of the few teams that can actually do it.