Things aren't going so well the last couple of games. Two losses in a row and the defense just hasn't been what it should be. The Pistons haven't looked like the tough team they are when it comes down to the line. I'm not liking what Flip has done thus far this year. I think the defense now comes in a close second to the offense. Well, it's just a couple of games. Hopefully they turn things around against the Knicks. If we lose to them, then we can start to worry.
I respectfully disagree, because I really like what the Pistons have done over the course of this road trip. The Portland game I think they should have won, but when they played LA, GSW, and Sacramento, I really like that they gave the rookies plenty of time. The earlier we can give the rookies some experience, the better off we'll be.
With McDyess and Billups out, Amir and Samb got some time since we are alright not winning those games. Consider it an extension to the exhibition season, giving them time to play in front of some very difficult crowds against some average NBA big men.
Now, they can take what they've learned and apply it to practices back in Detroit. They have the invaluable experience and can see where they may need their games to change and adapt for certain situations.
I'd suspect we'll lose about 10 extra games this year just to give the young players extra time to develop. Maybe 50 wins, plus or minus 5. We're a good road team, so home court matters less for us than others. I wouldn't be disappointed even if we sneak into the playoffs as low as 6th, because we'll have a more seasoned group of rookies, a rested veteran starting squad, and I think we know that we'll beat a 3rd seed in the first round anyway. We're too good not to. (3rd seed = Chicago, New Jersey, or Cleveland?)
I've thought for awhile that the 6th seed is the best seed lower than 3rd, and even there it's a close difference. I'd always aim for that if I were GM/Coach.
Home court is huge in the playoffs. The Pistons learned that the year they lost to San Antonio. Detroit is easily one of the top 3 teams in the East. I would highly doubt they would risk losing a game just to give a young guy some experience. They have just not been playing well. At this point I hope it is just a crappy losing streak and the Pistons can go on with their winning ways.
The best thing the Pistons can do is ensure they're all healthy and rested before the playoffs begin. We haven't made the finals the past 2 years, although we fully expected to. The last two years, it seems that the team runs out of gas physically and mentally and loses their killer instinct. The way Billups and Rasheed are playing this year, I wouldn't expect that to be a problem, as long as we don't treat every game like they have to win or go home. Only 4 Eastern teams are over .500 (Detroit is one of them), and 8 of 10 games have been on the road. The Pistons are doing just fine, thank you very much! I don't want to see them get burnt out. If they were 5 games under .500, then I'd worry. For the most part, they're controlling tempo and working out the bugs of bringing in new players.
Meanwhile, Boston (the current favorites) are playing their big 3 over 40 minutes per game. Pierce is already complaining about his back. They can either rest him and start losing, or they can make him play through it, shooting themselves in the foot over the course of the season. I hope they start great, so they'll be playing badly when the playoffs roll around.
I have no problem with the 2005 finals, because they proved in game 6 they could win in San Antonio. In fact, the 2-3-2 format of the finals greatly favors the lower seed, because it's really a luxury to play 3 games in a row at home. Only when the finals reaches its 7th game does home court favor the higher seed. I don't know the exact results, but the vast majority of finals don't last 7 games.
I'm happy with what Flip is doing, and I'm happy with how the team is playing and learning together. They're treating the regular season like a really long preseason, and I'm fine with that.
I agree about Boston. I think the expectations there are so high and people are paying so much money for a ticket to watch the big 3 they have been keeping them out there more. If we look at the teams Boston has beat most of them aren't very good teams. The Denver win was impressive though. But enough about Boston. I'm just not impressed with Detroit the past couple of games. I hope they pick it up. The Knicks are a great team to do that against. I just want to see that defensive intesity I know they are capable of.