Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Game 5: Still alive

So do we have a series again?

It's probably natural to overreact just a bit after a Game 5 victory, but the Pistons showed they still have some fight left, and if Miami's going to win this series, they'll have to earn it. That shouldn't surprise anyone, but it was still nice to see last night. (By the way, do I get any credit for correctly predicting Detroit's 91 points? No? Because Miami only scored 78? Okay. But I'm just sayin'...)

Any game analysis I could offer would be shaky because I was close to DEF CON 1 Fan Panic Mode as I watched the game. No superstition was left unused last night. It's probably a good thing I was alone, because I would've been annoying as hell to be with. I didn't watch the first quarter live, opting for the radio broadcast. When I did turn the TV on, and the Pistons seemed comfortably ahead, Miami would come back, cut the margin to two points, and I'd turn the channel. (And with Tigers-Yankees in a rain delay, there was not much else to watch.)

Eventually, however, I settled in and witnessed the most important plays of the game.

Alonzo Mourning picking on Tayshaun Prince? Probably not a good idea, as it turned out. 'Sheed only had seven points in the game, but getting in Mourning's face to defend his teammate stoked some defensive passion. Tayshaun, meanwhile, went on to score 29 points (a career playoff high, as the K-Dog points out).

And perhaps the most important of those 29 points were the three Prince scored with four-and-a-half minutes left in the fourth quarter. That three-pointer gave Detroit a six-point lead, and Miami never got close after that. Heat coach Pat Riley called Tayshaun's three "the biggest play of the night."

Oh, I beg to differ, Coach. So does virtually everyone else who watched that game. The pictures of the play that made the biggest difference, the one all the cool kids are talking about, can be found all over the internet this morning. Detroit Bad Boys and Need4Sheed have it from almost every angle available in the arena. Ben Wallace's block on Shaq, which forced a jump ball and made the monstrous Big Aristotle look rather feeble, was the play of the game.

And now, we can argue for the next two days over which team will feel more pressure in Game 6. After last night, Miami and Detroit players were tossing around the burden like a hot potato.

"The pressure's all on Miami," said Lindsey Hunter. Dwyane Wade countered with a definitive Nuh-Uh! "There isn't any pressure on us at all," he said. "They're the defending Eastern Conference champions." But wait, Big Ben says it's still on Detroit. ''I don't think they have too much pressure on them,'' said the man who made the magnificent, game-changing block (see above). "They're still up. It's tough to play from behind."

Scintillating $#!+, no? Oh, whatever.

It does make you wonder, though. Miami stayed close throughout the game, never allowing Detroit to establish a solid lead. But the Heat never could get over the top, and once the momentum of the game shifted, it seemed like they felt content to take the series back to Miami. And that can be a dangerous mindset to adopt in a playoff series. Look what's happened to the Pistons when they took their foot off an opponent's throat. Cleveland took Detroit to seven games. And Miami made Game 2 of this series a close game.

Being faced with elimination seems to sharpen the Pistons' focus. And with these guys rediscovering the effort - most especially on the defensive end - required to win in the playoffs, Miami could be feeling some Heat tomorrow night.

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  • At June 01, 2006 9:33 AM, Anonymous kevin said…

    I just can't believe Shaq said that block was a foul. I've watched a million times, and in a million different ways, and the only contact is Ben's thumb on Sahq's.

    Is he not capable of saying "it was a great play" and leaving the whining out of it for a night?

  • At June 01, 2006 9:40 AM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    Some people are saying Ben pushed with his left hand, which I guess you can see from the picture.

    As far as Shaq's comment, I think that's just where these two teams are right now: not willing to give the other "respect."

  • At June 01, 2006 11:05 AM, Blogger the sports dude said…

    The pressure is all on Miami, I could care less what anyone says. Yes they won Game #1 at our place, but do they really want to come back here for a game 7? I don't think say.

    I still am not too comfortable, something still just doesn't feel right. I would like to say that at least they came out last night and played for pride, which is about all they have left. Question is will that be enough?

    Not looking ahead, I still think it ends Friday, but could you imagine if they came back from this 3-1 deficit? Seriously, I can already picture the pouts on Mourning, Payton, Shaq, Walker, Wade... just would love to really stick it to them like that.

    Pressure all on Heat, don't care what anyone says. They do not want to come back to Detroit for game 7, no way, no how. There ain't no pressure on Detroit - they just need to play like they did last night, loose and for pride, that is all they got left anyway.

  • At June 01, 2006 11:15 AM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    Sports Dude, I'm inclined to agree that Miami wants no part of a Game 7 in Detroit. But I'm not sure that they feel more pressure. If they lose, they still have a game to play. If Detroit loses, they're done. Isn't THAT pressure?

  • At June 01, 2006 12:02 PM, Blogger the sports dude said…

    I think the Pistons are past pressure, they have been there and done that. Besides I think the Pistons are past the pressure point anyway, it is just pure pride and desperation now.


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