Just like that
When karma turns in the Pistons’ favor you may very well be the recipient of a George Blaha “don’t look now.” On Sunday karma was headed in the opposite direction after Atlanta erased an early deficit “just like that,” according to George. The Pistons went on to defeat Atlanta 94-88.
During the most recent “dark years” – after the Bad Boys and before 2003 – my dad and I were convinced that a “don’t look now” was a jinx. That if Blaha pulled it out of his repertoire it meant certain doom for the Pistons. Of course, that’s because the Pistons were a bad team, and the outcome of the majority of games was never good – no matter what Blaha said (OK, neither of us believe that, Blaha cost the Pistons at least 36 wins between ’93 and ’03)…
Well, don’t look now, but the Pistons (6-11) are at a crossroad. After 6-straight appearances in the Eastern Conference finals - including an NBA championship - the team was blown up two games into last season – just like that.
So where do they go from here? Will they trade Prince and/or Rip for the coveted big man that eludes half of the teams in the league? Is that trade even available? If Rip and Prince had stayed healthy this entire season would the Pistons be sitting at .500 or better? Where is Ben Wallace hiding his flux capacitor? Unfortunately, we aren’t going to know the answers to any of those questions for a while.
That’s perfectly fine by me. I knew this season was going to be a roller coaster ride and harnessed myself in months ago. That’s the beauty of sports. That’s why my parent’s house was redecorated – in an attempt to appease the football gods - for the Michigan-Ohio State game a few weeks back (I am prohibited from divulging further details). That’s why after a Buckeye victory my dad begrudgingly kept the Ohio State magnet above the Michigan one on the fridge (a tradition that dates back to the early 1900s.) Sports are great because every game and every year is different and exciting in its own way.
Yes, Joe Dumars has pulled the trigger and misfired on a few moves. In some cases the gun blew up in his hand. In one case a little pole came out, and a flag unrolled with the word “Darko” printed on it. But you know what? It could be worse. In fact, it could be a whole lot worse. Remember who was on top of the Eastern Conference before the Pistons’ made their move in 2004? It was the New Jersey Nets – who did NOT win a championship during that time – repeat, did NOT WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP. Over the last few years they too blew up their team. This year? Well, they just tied the record for the worst start in NBA history by losing their first 17 games. Oh yes, my loyal readers, it could be a whole lot worse.
Bulls up next
Wednesday night’s game in Chicago (6-8) is an important one for the injury-plagued Pistons. The Bulls currently own the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference – the lowest spot the Pistons would like to finish the season in. The Bulls are heading into Wednesday's game against the Pistons with some injuries of their own - Kirk Hinrich (thumb) and Tyrus Thomas (arm) are both out.
Ben Gordon is questionable for the Pistons for what would be his first regular-season game against his former team. From what I read the Bulls are missing Gordon’s offense, and so are the Pistons while he’s sidelined.
Bulls’ big 3
- Luol Deng is putting together a nice season. He’s averaging a team-high 18.1 points while shooting nearly 46% from the field. Over the last 3 games he’s averaged 24.3 points (26-53 from the field).
- Derrick Rose has not taken the leap that Chicago fans were hoping for this season. His statistics are slightly lower than last year, but they aren’t bad at 15.4 points and 5.1 assists per game.
- Joakim Noah is leading the Bulls (4th in the NBA) with 11.7 rebounds per game. There were rumors that Noah and Ben Wallace didn’t always see eye-to-eye when they played together in Chicago – so this could be an interesting matchup.
The Pistons just ended a 7-game skid on Sunday night. The Bulls will either end a 4-game skid tonight against the Bucks or enter Wednesday’s game on a 5-game losing streak. Obviously both teams are looking to gain a little momentum and this should be a hard-fought game.
Did anyone notice that Ben Wallace didn’t flinch when Charlie Villanueva’s face slammed into his hip hard enough to break CV31’s nose?