Thursday, June 02, 2005

Best of times or worst of times?

Butler gets ready to
drain another jumper
in Tayshaun's grill
It is hard to say whether the Heat should feel great or horrible right now. On one hand, their young stud, Dwyane Wade, was unable to finish their Game Five victory tonight. On other hand, Shaq showed once again that he can take any band of merry misfits and turn them into an elite team. It is hard to imagine them closing out Detroit without a healthy Wade, but with Rasual Butler, Udonis Haslem, and Damon Jones riding on the big man's shoulders, I guess anything is possible. We'll stay tuned for updates on Wade's health and in the meantime, consider this the new command post for discussion of all things Heat-Pistons.


Ben said...

Well, I would have to say worst of times based on Game Six. If Wade isn't able to play - and play well - tomorrow, the Heat will be robbed of a spot in the Finals. The Pistons are so lucky. Last year it was Kidd's knee that enabled them to advance past the Eastern Conference Semis, now the combo of Shaq and Wade both hurt. I hope the Spurs sweep them.

Jeff Dritz said...

I really want to defend the Pistons. They are a better team than you give them credit for. When they want to, they play incredible D, both individually and as a team, and are efficient enough on offense. However, they seem to have developed the habit of "checking out" of games for 5-7 minutes at a time, during which their D is spotty and their shot selection is suspect (this may be a reflection of their coaching). Anyway, if they can show up tomorrow for 48 minutes, they can win, regardless of whether or not Wade plays (and he will). If they don't, then they'll only have themselves to blame.

Anonymous said...

The problem for Miami is that going into Game 6, they really just needed one more big game from Wade to win the series. They had two chances to get it. Now that he's missed a game, it all comes down to Game 7. I think he'll play, but now he's only got one shot to have one of those 38-8-7 type performances and carry the Heat into the Finals. I think it is just a matter of lower odds that is going to send Miami home and Detroit into the finals.

Adam Hoff said...

Count me among the few people on Planet Earth who thinks that Heat can still win. I know that the Big Bad Pistons are supposedly in the driver's seat, but Miami just might have something to say about this. I mean, they are playing at home. They are professionals. They have pride. Even if Shaq can't be Shaq and Wade can't be Wade ... who is to say that guys can't step up?

Maybe Rasual Butler hits some big shots. Maybe Damon Jones has the stroke. Perhaps Haslem cleans the glass and outplays Rasheed. Maybe, just maybe, veteran Eddie Jones gets pissed and says, "What about me?"

I know that I don't give the Pistons enough credit. But they don't have the type of team that qualifies as "automatic." They don't have a Duncan that is sure to control the game. They could clang everything. They could get in foul trouble. They might implode, led by the immortal Rasheed Wallace. The Pistons are a good defensive team, a streaky offensive team, and a group that believes they can turn it on whenever they want. That is a team that can be beaten. I'm sorry, that is just the way it is.

The keys to the game:

1. Get Shaq going early. He needs one of those 12 point first quarters to get the ball rolling.

2. Get points from a Jones. They need to get either Damon or Eddie involved and scoring.

3. Play Mourning to get Rasheed taking a lot of threes.

4. Keep Dooling on the bench. I don't care if Damon is tired, if Wade is hurt, or if the building is on fire. There is no excuse for Dooling to play. The Heat are being outscored by something like 120 points when he plays. Seriously, it is something to behold. Van Gundy can't play him. He can't! Of course, he will. Sigh.

5. Hope Wade can be somewhat of a factor. I don't think he needs 35, although it would help, and I believe it is possible. What he needs is to be out there running around, being physical and athletic, breaking pressure, and keeping Dooling on the bench.

There you have it. I'm bracing myself for an excruciating Pistons-Spurs finals, but I still have the Heat. Miami 93, Detroit 88.

Adam Hoff said...

If you are a Miami fan, you have to seriously considering abducting Dooling at halftime. He is, by far, the worst player in the playoffs. Damon Jones hurt himself. Let me say that again. Damon Jones hurt himself.

This is a HUGE story. If Dooling plays more than 12 minutes, Miami can't win. They just can't. He is so awful. His first play he threw it right to Prince. Miami was up 23-17 when he came in. To no one's surprise, the Pistons went 4-0 the rest of the quarter. Van Gundy has to do something. Stick a big fat cortizone needle in Jones' ankle, suck it up and play Wade at the point ... something. If they put this game in Dooling's hands, they will lose.

I need to go hit a pillow or something.

Anonymous said...

Dooling Watch 2005. Detroit 9-0 since he entered. You love him! Is it possible that he will be the Pistons' MVP win they win this series?

Adam Hoff said...

Dooling had one surprising dunk ... all that does is mask how horrible he is. He can't defend, he nearly gets the ball stolen on every play. Since D Jones went out and Dooling came in, it is 21-6, Pistons. I know part of that is their hot streak from the field, but this is more than a trend. The Heat are now -122 (I think) whenever Dooling is on the court. For a series that is in a seventh game, that seems almost impossible. It's not - he's that bad.

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