Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Get Your Finals Predictions!

The Pistons need Big Ben
Well, I'm sure that most people would have preferred a different Finals matchup, but getting two of the best three teams in the NBA paired up isn't all that bad. I've come around on the Spurs being a worthy participant and I'm trying to let go of the fact that it should be Shaq and Duncan and Wade against Manu in a battle between the Heat and Spurs. Instead, we've got a different storyline: defending champs as big underdogs.

To read more and weigh on with your predictions, click on the "Get Your Finals Predictions!" link on the right side of the page.


Adam Hoff said...

To get right to it, let me just say that I am going with the Pistons. I know that the Spurs are deeper, are rested, have the best player on the floor, and are able to negate the "experience" factor because of their own recent title. However, I think if you look beyond some of the obvious factors, you can make a pretty good case for the Pistons. Here are five reasons why Detroit will win:

1. Tayshaun can guard Ginobili. This is a HUGE deal. Manu has been the key to each and every series thus far. The Nuggets, Sonics, and Suns had no answer for him. In fact, the only guy that could have guarded him - Joe Johnson - only played in three games and was too busy keeping Tony Parker out of the lane because his own point guard couldn't do it. For the first time in the playoffs, Ginobili will be guarded by an elite defensive player. No more easy drives to the left side of the rim.

2. Bruce Bowen must pick his poison. I'll admit, Bowen is a handful on defense. I still think he fouls on every play, but hey, it works. The problem for the Spurs is that whomever he guards, it leaves a matchup problem. If he guards Tayshaun - which would be the matchup on the lineup card - then it leaves Manu to chase Rip all game. If that is the case, don't be surprised to see that take its toll on Ginobili's game. If Bowen tries to wrap up Hamilton, then Prince will punish Manu on the low block. We've seen Detroit do this throughout the playoffs, most notably to the Heat and Pacers. And Brent Barry is far worse defensively than any player off the bench in those other series. I wouldn't be surprised to see Brown get some of his minutes if they need stops.

3. Frontcourt length. The Spurs made their living on the offensive glass against Phoenix. They won't be able to do that with the Wallaces, McDyess, and maybe even Campbell swarming the boards. In fact, neither team will be able to enjoy their usual offensive rebounding advantage in this series. Not only that, but either Wallace will be a good guy to put on Duncan and avoid too many double teams.

4. Keeping Parker out of the lane. Once Johnson got back, the Suns kept the Frenchman out of the paint and got back into the series (well, made it interesting at least). In the Finals, expect the Pistons to make him shoot. And shoot. And shoot. Not only is Billups very good defensively (think Antonio Daniels, not Steve Nash), but the Pistons help and rotate so well that Parker will have to hit jumpers to help his team.

5. Transition. Other than Ginobili, I would take any Pistons player over his Spurs counterpart when it comes to the transition game. They get back quicker than any team, including San Antonio, and they pick their spots to turn a bad pass into an easy hoop. I predict that the Pistons will win the battle of fast break points and that it will lead to many exclamations of surprise from Hubie Brown.

For those five reasons, I think the Pistons will once again win a Game 7 on the road. Tell Sheed to break out the belts again.

Jeff Dritz said...

Adam's reasoning is well-thought-out, with good logic backing it up. Well, I'm going to go with my gut, and take the Spurs.

Sounding a bit like a broken record, the Spurs are a more efficient team, and execute well on both ends. Their all-around game is strong, with no glaring weaknesses. They are too polished and well-coached to suffer some of the periodic lapses that we've seen (and will continue to see) from the Pistons. The Pistons lose their focus from time to time during games, and the Spurs will capitalize on this. When the Pistons let their guards down in the third quarter, the Spurs will jump to a lead, and the Pistons don't play a style of ball that lends itself to making comebacks. And the Spurs are too good to let them.

The Spurs will play strong D, continue to hit shots, and execute. I can't imagine them losing 4 out of 7 to anyone. I took them at the beginning of the season. When the playoffs began, I called Spurs over Pistons in 6, and I see no reason to stray now. Gotta dance with the lady you came with.

Adam Hoff said...

Dritz, I like the way you subtley reminded us that you accurately predicted the Finals matchup. Nice. Then again, maybe I noticed that because I predicted Suns-Heat. Not so nice.

Branden Higa said...

Hey, if anyone is on-line right now (9:07 PM PST), you have to turn to ESPN. They are doing 'NBA Fastbreak from the Finals'. They are shooting live from inside the SBC Arena in San Antonio. There are no people there, except for the panel... and the guys testing the A/V system in the arena. I just watched a whole segment of the show with Will Smith's "Switch" blaring in the background and the Fastbreak guys literally shouting their takes at the camera. Freaking hilarious!!!

Adam Hoff said...

That was classic. What was ESPN thinking running that?

So, Higa, who do you have winning the series?

Jack Wang said...

I hate the Spurs. They flop, they whine, and they have the most boring frontcourt star in the league. That said, Spurs will win six.

Why? Because they'll let the Pistons win game 5 so that they can win it at home in game 6, or else it'd be over in 5. Pistons just don't have the offense to keep up with the Spurs. They barely beat the Heat with a banged up Shaq and Wade.

That being said, I don't think the Pistons have no shot at all. Look for Chauncey Billups to school Parker all series. This matchup alone might get the Pistons one game. Rasheed's length will give Duncan problems. Big Benny Wallace won't let Nazr Mohammed to get 8 offensive boards a game. Tayshaun will give Manu some problems.

Watching the coaches change strategy intra and inter games will be very interesting too, as we have probably two of the best x's and o's coaches in the game.

But the Spurs are too good. Duncan will get frustrate and get the Wallaces in foul trouble. Tayshaun won't be able to keep Manu from flopping his way to 25 points a game. Bowen will stick on Rip. And Will Smith will hit some back-breaking threes.

Spurs over the Pistons in Six (as I predicted before the playoffs started).