By Craig Kwasniewski
On the brink of losing in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row, the Pistons need to ask themselves what would Larry Brown do.
Would LB sit back and single-guard LeBron James in the final two minutes of regulation?
Would LB continue to run isolation plays for Rip Hamilton, ignoring his bread-and-butter motion offense? (Which also tires out the man guarding him with the constant motion and contact from screens.)
Would LB set-up a potential game winning shot with "Mr. Big Shot" dribbling out the clock and hoping to draw contact on a three point heave at the buzzer?
Look, I'm not a huge fan of Larry Brown (he's an egotistical ass and a con-man who, before the Knicks debacle, knows how to play the press in his favor), but I do know one glaring fact: Larry Brown would not have lost last night's game.
Granted, LeBron was very impressive down the stretch and in the 2 OT's. This was one of those games that takes the quotes out of the word "superstar" separating the great from the anointed/promoted greats. (What I mean is, players like Carmelo Anthony or Tracy McGrady are "superstars" but they're not a Superstar.)
Anyway, as impressive as LeBron was, those two dunks in the final minutes of regulation came on some of the worst defense in playoff history. Everybody in the gym knew that LeBron was driving the lane, so why not double him at the top of the key? Who would you rather have taking the final shot, LeBron or Eric Snow? LeBron or Pavlovic? LeBron or Donyell Marshall?
So why do the Pistons wait until LeBron's five feet from the hoop before even thinking of rotating over for a double-team?
Those two dunks were embarrassing.
Why not double LeBron as he's crossing the halfcourt line, forcing him to pass the ball? How the hell did Jason Maxiell get LeBron in a one-on-one at the top of the key without some random Piston rotating over to help BEFORE LeBron drives the lane? Why did Tayshaun Prince literally sprint out of the lane as LeBron's throwing down a mosterous dunk? (So in a two week span Prince goes from defensive maven to "I'm not getting Youtube-ed by LeBron." This was the same guy who held Kobe in check in 2004.) Whatever happened to the playoff mantra of no lay-ups or dunks?
Oh yeah, Flip Saunders is squatting along the sideline... that's what happened.
Five Eastern Conference appearances, two NBA Finals and only one title... the Pistons are looking more and more like the dynasty that never was.