By Craig Kwasniewski
Here's some quick takes on the Piston's 79-76 win last night:
On the final play. To me it looked like LeBron was trying to draw the foul rather than make a shot. It looked like once he felt the contact he tried to sell it a little to get to the freethrow line. Given that Detroit's overplaying to the left side of the hoop, why not stop and pop from 8 feet out?
Varajao - I believe it's Portuguese for moving screen or extreme flopping (dual meaning based on the tense, look it up at www.floppingandmovingscreen.com/br). Look, I know Sheed pushed off just prior to that late baseline jumper, but did Anderson really need to jump back 10 feet? The guy easily has 50 lbs. on Sheed and a backhand push sends him airborne? The ref would have given him the offensive foul (it happened just a few possessions earlier when Sheed held LeBron away from the ball), but the flop was so damn obnoxious, there's no way you award that. (The baseline camera shot really shows just how much he jumped) The flopping is flat out sickening. And don't get me started on that freethrow moving screen and roll with LeBron. Even though almost every NBA team does it, it IS illegal.
That Pavlovic traveling call (started as a jumper then tried to pass/dribble before landing) was the quintessential street ball play. We've all played ball with the dudes who argue that it's a legal move and the dispute gets settled by shooting for it (even though it's illegal). I thought it was funny to hear some of the Cleveland homers in the press conference try to make that part of the "refs screwed us" storyline. They even convinced LeBron it was a bad call (probably because he never gets called for traveling).
Too many Piston turnovers. I was surprised at how many times the Pistons turned the ball over in the final 6 minutes. They became a late 1990's Pat Riley team by forcing the ball to Sheed too much. That pass from Sheed to a cutting Billups was AWFUL!
Too much one-on-one for Detroit. As Doug Collins pointed it out many times, the Pistons were running too many isolation plays on offense. The Piston's are a better team with Hamilton running off screens and moving the ball around the perimeter on O. Rip Hamilton really looks awkward when going one-on-one... it's just not his game (though he hit a nice step-back jumper in the final few minutes (btw-he pushed off)).
Mike Brown needs to learn how to conserve timeouts. The Pistons won by three, BUT if CLE had a TO, they could have set up a last chance shot with 1 second left (Varajao heaved a full court shot at the buzzer down three).
Mike Brown's doing a decent job. With all the criticism that Mike Brown gets, he's doing something right by making this a close series. Talent-wise, Detroit should be blowing the Cavs out of the water, yet both games at Detroit came down to one possession. He's made Detroit look like crap on offense. I haven't watched enough of the series to pinpoint why, but Brown's done a decent job.