Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Playing out that string

Have you ever been at a party where you were just dying to leave, but couldn't? Maybe you didn't drive, and the person whom you rode with is having a good time and doesn't want to go. Or the festivities are at your place and there are people who insist on sticking around until you chase them out with a chef's knife?

I think that's how the Pistons are feeling right now.

Last night was the equivalent of skipping the last week of classes, taking "mental days" before final exams. Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, and Lindsey Hunter were inactive for the game against Milwaukee, indicating the evening's true priorities: Just stay healthy, let the "owies" heal, and play out the rest of the schedule. As could be expected, the Bucks took advantage of their free pass and scored a 20-point victory.

Did it matter? Of course not. Detroit clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs last week. On Sunday, they set a franchise record for wins in the regular season. Season's over, man! If the NBA would've allowed the Pistons to forfeit the final two games vs. Milwaukee and Washington, they probably would've.

But since they had to play the games, Flip Saunders decided to see what he has on the bench, which has arguably cost the team a handful of victories, but is something many observers have been pleading for - especially over the past few weeks. So the reserves ruled last night, probably best indicated by Maurice Evans disrupting Ben Wallace's pre-tip-off routine of sprinkling rosin powder on the scorer's table. Oops. Hey, give Mo a break - he was a starter.

Carlos Delfino hopefully reminded Flip that he can be a force off the bench, with 18 points. Hell, Dale Davis and Kelvin Cato (who might not be on the playoff roster) got to play, too! But the story of the evening, if you'll pardon me paraphrasing The Who, is that the kids were alright. Alex Acker? Four assists. Jason Maxiell? 11 points and 12 rebounds. And how about Amir Johnson? 18 points on 6-for-6 shooting. (Okay, Bobby Simmons scored 10 points on the kid, but let's stay positive.) Nothing like giving everyone a little bit of confidence before the playoffs begin next Sunday.

One more dress rehearsal against the Wizards. Maybe Gilbert Arenas will wear himself out again, seeking vengeance on that mean ol' Flip Saunders, who had the sheer temerity to only give a few minutes to Mr. Gilby in the All-Star Game, thinking it might send a message to the championship favorites. Meanwhile, the Pistons will keep their eyes on the prize, waiting for the Bucks, Pacers, or Bulls to bring it on.



  • At April 18, 2006 1:43 PM, Anonymous kevin said…

    I've got playoff fever, man. I can't think of much else. I can't wait for next weekend.

  • At April 18, 2006 4:39 PM, Blogger Leelanau Sports Guy said…

    Yeah it's finally here and the Pistons couldn't be more prepared or ready. They are healthy and hungry with the added bonus of home court advantage. It couldn't be any better!

  • At April 19, 2006 11:56 AM, Blogger the sports dude said…

    Something tells me the Pistons have been in playoff mode for nearly a month and a half. It was almost like they were going - Miami a couple times, the Suns, the Mavs, the Cavs, great! Damn, the Bobcats again? The Knicks? The Hawks? The Raptors? I think they have just been on cruise control for awhile knowing full well their "B" game was good enough most nights and it showed in the difference in play between the elite and the have nots the last month and a half.


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