Warning Signs

Let me preface any comments by saying that I know the Pistons have only played one game in the 2008 playoffs vs. the Celtics. I know that Billups was playing on one good leg. I know that Boston is a steady 9-0 at home during the playoffs. I know that every game will not be like the first one, but it’s hard to suggest that the Pistons will be able to advance out of the third round.

The Pistons went back to their hotels Tuesday night down 1-0 in the series following an 88-79 beating at the hands of a Celtics team which, like the Pistons, had a knack of playing down to their opponents in the previous two rounds. For Detroiters (and apparently the Pistons as well), this created a sense of complacency as an 8-0 run to open the game and a 28-17 run that was the third quarter demonstrated that championship no. 17 may not be far away. In fact, when sizing up players head-to-head in one local paper it was actually considered that Paul Pierce was not as good as Tayshaun Prince. Think of that for one moment. The man who went toe-to-toe with LeBron James in a Game 7 was not as good as the lean forward who tends to take quarters and games off.

It will be interesting over the next few days to see whether this Pistons team will be able to tangle with the Celtics. With players like Sam Cassell, PJ Brown, James Posey and Eddie House waiting in the wings, it will take more than the occasional Hunter three or Ratliff block to make a statement. The discussion will undoubtedly turn shortly from championship run into fire-sale mode. While I still believe the Pistons can play their way into their third finals in five seasons, I don’t see how a well-rested unit like this squad came up with such a blank during Tuesday’s second half. Look for Game Two to come down to the wire.