As we did last week with Detroit Bad Boys, we felt it would be beneficial to touch base with others that will be on the opposite side of our rooting interests to gauge their feelings on the Cavs/Pistons playoff series. This time, we talked with Natalie Sitto from Need 4 Sheed, a top Pistons blog.
TD: Coming into this series, what were your overall impressions of the matchup?
NEED4SHEED: Realistically, and I hate to say this, the Cavs are a superior team. Detroit has underachieved all season long and are truly lucky to have even made the post season. Detroit’s had their share of drama all season long and with the whole Iverson situation fresh, the Pistons really have to play a way they haven’t all season long to beat a team like Cleveland. Add a rookie coach and the odds get even worse.
TD: Anything you saw in Game One that makes you feel any different?
NEED4SHEED: Yes, if Rodney Stuckey and backup Will Bynum can keep penetrating it can either get them to the line or free up Tayshaun and Rip, who need to contribute more for Detroit to win. Don’t get me wrong, Detroit has the talent and the skill to pull off the series, but haven’t played well all season.
TD: The Pistons of this era have always been known for staunch half-court defense and being the more physical team. Over the last month and in game one against the Cavaliers, scoring over 100 points against the Pistons isn’t as difficult as it used to be. Why do you think that is?
NEED4SHEED: That’s a question all Pistons fans want answered. I think Detroit lost a lot of their defensive identity when Ben Wallace left. No longer do they have two big men down low to intimidate in the paint. Add in the fact that they haven’t had a legitimate center in a couple of seasons and the team is that much older. The days of Detroit playing solid defense has been declining and we have seen the worst of it this season. Even Detroit’s premier defender Tayshaun Prince has had a difficult time stopping his man.
TD: In Game One, as usual, the Pistons had no answer for Lebron James (not that anyone does). What do you think they can do differently to attempt to slow him down in game two?
NEED4SHEED: They must make him play on the other end of the floor. You have to make him hard defensively and maybe that will slow him down on the other end. In game one Detroit didn’t do much to make him work and that needs to change.
TD: Chauncey Billups goes off for eight three-pointers in Denver’s game one 113-84 blowout of New Orleans Sunday night. How much does this team miss him, especially come playoff time?
NEED4SHEED: Todd, we have missed him all season long. Chauncey was the Pistons leader, he not only led them on the court, but he led them off. The offense just hasn’t been the same without him and to be quite honesty the don’t have a guy that can clearly hit the “Big Shot” when the game is on the line. I love Rodney Stuckey, but asking him to fill Chauncey’s shoes before he was ready was a mistake. Add in the whole Iverson “back injury” and it makes the Pistons miss him that much more.
TD: Speaking of A.I. – your thoughts on the debacle that has been his one season in The D?
NEED4SHEED: Let me start out by saying Iverson is a great player, but I was never really of fan. I didn’t think he fit well at all, but gave him the benefit of the doubt when he said he would do whatever it took to win. I let is slide when he decided to skip a Thanksgiving practice, but try to make me believe that his back was ever an issue will take more than a Joe Dumars official statement. I’m looking forward to the cap space and trying to forget that he ever donned a Pistons uniform.
TD: Back to the series at hand, there has been some bad blood between these two teams in years past (i.e. the Zydrunas Ilgauskas head gash, Rasheed’s various antics, etc), but during Game One, it seemed more like a game between friendly rivals. Even before the series, Lebron James admitted that he doesn’t hate the Pistons the way he hates the Wizards. What do you attribute that to on your end?
NEED4SHEED: LeBron should hate the Pistons, Cleveland fans do. Maybe it’s the fact that he single handedly beat Detroit in 07 to go to the Finals and doesn’t see them as a threat. I don’t know if I would call it a friendly rivalry, The Pistons don’t like Cavs, Rasheed especially has beef with Z and Varejao. Give the series time, I think things may heat up.
TD: Some in the Piston fan base and a couple of media members have suggested Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton, and Tayshaun Prince have shown signs of “mailing it in?” Do you buy that?
NEED4SHEED: I wouldn’t use the term “mailing it in” just yet, but I would love for them to show a little more heart. I saw lack of effort during the season, but can’t say I saw that yet in the playoffs. Ask me that again after the series and I think I can give you a better answer. If the whole team plays with the heart and determination of a guy like Antonio McDyess, the Pistons would be unstoppable.
TD: Think McDyess is regretting his decision to go back to Detroit rather than sign for more money in Cleveland after he was bought out by Denver in the Iverson/Billups trade?
NEED4SHEED: Knowing McDyess, probably not just because he’s a stand up guy. He chose loyalty over a solid chance at a ring and that’s the kind of guy you want on your team. Me, I would love to see the guy win a championship no matter where it may be. My motto… Ice4Dyess!
TD: Finish this sentence: The Pistons are at their best when…..
NEED4SHEED: ….they control the tempo of the game and move the ball without rushing shots.
TD: Can the Pistons win a game or even make this a series?
NEED4SHEED: Absolutely, I think we need to see what happens in game two. Obviously they gave the Cavs a hard time in their last meeting of the regular season and quite honestly they can compete with anyone. What Pistons team will show up on any given day is the question. Quiet LeBron (a little), don’t let the role players do much and play better defense, if the Pistons can do that they have a chance. Will they, as a Pistons fan I’m betting on it.