First it was all Spurs for two games, all Ginobili and Duncan, all Tony Parker into the lane -- all the basketball pundits could talk about was the glory of the Spurs. Now, after game 4, they say the Pistons are the toughest team around, an unstoppable force that can pick itself up, dust itself off and proceed to methodically, intelligently, and efficiently whip your ass. But both perspectives go too far.
In truth, it's been all about home court. Games 3 and 4 were just games 1 and 2 reversed; the final score is almost irrelevant. Both games 1 and 3 were tight until late third/early fourth quarter, and then the losing team went into the next game just thinking they had to execute down the stretch, not appreciating what they were in for and basically got rocked in the first half and the game was over -- Spurs led by 17 at the half in game 2, Pistons by 16 last night.
Now we simply have a new series. A 3 game series for all the marbles. And don't forget that the Spurs, whose confidence is unlikely to be shaken even after a 30-point drubbing -- not with timmy and manu and tony -- still have home court. I think game 5 will be something novel and new in this series -- a tight game. We will find out whether the adjustments of Brown have made the big difference, or simply the creature comforts of home. Everybody knows what's at stake, and what to bring. And remember that the pistons play a whole lot better when the pressure's on -- but there's not so much pressure at 2-2. The Pistons MAY come out with the W, but Spurs will definitely go home knowing what they need to do. And they'll get it done.
It says here that the Spurs will still win the series, maybe even in six.
Note: I must admit that my loyalties have been severely twisted around and tested throughout this series. The basketball purist in me leans towards the Pistons, but my emotions are with sleek internationalists on the other side. As the tale unfolds, I find myself switching loyalties every game, every quarter, every big play!
I love both these teams, tell the truth. The great up-and-down-and-passed-around story of Billups. The will power, atheticism, and competitive fire of the greatest white boy since larry, ginobili. The determination and perfection of rip's too-skinny-man's game. The simple joy of watching the incomparable and preternaturally cool Horry go about his business. The wonderful and amazing comeback of McDyess. The glory that is Big Ben. And on and on. But my appreciation for the skinny kid from the Virgin Islands, driven from the pool to the court by Hurricane Hugo 16 yrs ago only to become the self-effacing, stoic, fundamentally seamless Tim Duncan we know today as the best player in the world, ultimately wins out.