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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Motor City shakedown

They say the mark of a true champion is the ability to come back from adversity, and the Detroit Pistons have done that, defeating the Cleveland Lebron in seven games. The Cavaliers had the defending conference champs right where they wanted them -- up 3 games to 2, and with a game 6 at home -- but they couldn't finish them off. As ill as Rasheed Wallace makes me, his was clearly the superior team.

So now what -- root for Wallace? Or for Shaq and Riley? Guess I'll have to swallow hard and pull for Miami Vice.

Comments (13)

Sorry, Riley firing Van Gundy was pure ego (and stupid), I can't really back Miami. At Flip Saunders desrves a ring.

Flip underachieved with Garnett. I don't see a ring in his future.

I was under the impression that Van Gundy quit. I'd like to see Gary Payton get a ring.

Any other coach apart from that re-tread loser Flip Saunders would'nt have allowed such a talented team to go to seven against a one trick pony like Cleveland.
Bad motivation, bad defense againt Lebron and no idea how to stop all the other Cavs when Lebron was off. Bad coaching all around.

I was under the impression that Van Gundy quit.

He may have quit, but I think Riley was constantly second-guessing him. I know Riley did a good job with the Lakers like a century ago, but Popovich seems to be the only guy that pull off the GM/Coach role with any effectiveness.

I thought he did a good job with what he had and Riley is doing less with a better team. Outside of Detroit, I thought most of the East was pretty weak.

I redact my comments above, I vote for Flip out of pity.

Here's the B.McD. guide to watching Sheed and other annoying athletes succeed without letting it ruin your day: Each team has at least one quality individual you can root for - even the Lakers.
With this Detroit team it is Rick Hamilton. With the Bad Boys-era Detroit teams it was Joe Dumars. Back in the day, I hated the Lakers but I always admired Kareem. So who to root for going forward from the East? Miami for sure although I'd like to see Detroit get beat by whomever comes out of the West. That's another part of the plan: The temporary annoyance of Sheed succeeding is mitigated by the potential that he'll suffer even greater humiliation and defeat down the road. If not, way to go Rick Hamilton.

Richard "Rip" Hamilton. Not Rick.

Jack, do you believe it was all Rasheed's fault in Portland or do you believe the Portland media had something to do with it? I'm not excusing all of 'Sheed's behavior, but let's face it, much of the blame has to rest on the shoulders of Whitsett and the Blazers organization, too. Plus I am one of those who share the opinion that the Portland media made much more of some of Wallace's antics than should have been. For example, throwing a towel in Sabonis' face. If Larry Bird did that, the media would say, "Ooooh, Bird obviously frustrated by the teams lack of consistency." Wallace thows a towel (not a fist or chair) and guys like Conzano at The O make it Sheed-bashing material for years.

Rasheed went to Detroit and fit in well. Portland basketball has been noticably less exciting (and winning) ever since. Damon became a favorite of Mike Fratello at Memphis, but that coach banned Bonzi Wells. Don't you think it's time to look back and be a little more discriminating as we judge the causes of the Trailblazer meltdown?

Like those Enron traders who were taped talking about charging kilowatt hours up the #@&% of Grandma Minni in California, the fault for that culture falls on Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling (with some Bush Family favors thrown in for good measure). Back in 1992 and 1993, every sports writer in Portland wanted to keep his potential invite to Paul Allen's skybox, so people like Wallace got the brunt of the blame.

Whatever your opinion, we can comiserate on the the fall from grace the Blazers have taken. Watch the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs. In the 1999 triple finals, Portland had the second youngest team in the league and they came out of nowhere to challenge for an NBA title. They were defeated by one of the oldest teams in the league, The Spurs. The Spurs are still there, but the Blazers are now at the very bottom of the NBA. The blame for such a total implosion of one of the greatest and most talented NBA teams is more than Wallace's tirade against rich white guys who own NBA teams or Damon's pot busts. Given what we've seen since Wallace's departure, maybe it's time to be more kind to this man who has totally changed his attitude in a different team/corporate culture.

I wrote my previous comment just prior to discovering Part I of The Oregonian's three part series on the downward spiral of the Blazers. Funny how Allen, Dunleavy, and especially Whitsett (who's memories seem most sharply devided from the players' and coaches') were pointing the finger at each other for blame for the Blazers' meltdown. Kind of like the recent "revelations" that the aerial tram was going to cost much more than (surprise) was originally projected in scanty, unprofessional estimates. Suddenly every City Commish is blaming the OHSU, the tram group, and even their own staff. Like John F. Kennedy said, "Victory has a thousand fathers. Failure is an orphan."

Yeah, I picked up today's sports section and nearly spit out my coffee. Another slow (sports) news day in Portland, no doubt. They have to dedicate a multipart series to detail "The downward spiral" of the team?? Just in case the town forgot that what the status is.... "NEWSFLASH: Blazers STILL a bad team! Let's reflect, shall we?"

You know, the "O" could tone down the excess negativity and maybe we wouldn't have so many slow news days in May and June. You can't discount the fact that, even if you're a player making a $1mil per year, not having the city and media behind you makes it tougher to play hard. It does affect the best athletes...

I still love the uniform. don't care who has it on. just give me effort and desire and i love em.
I went to the first game in 70, think i am going to start hating them now? all these people who do, there is a name for that, fair-weather fans.
Every franchise sucks some time. check out the celtics, 13 championships and now?
the mavs have never even made it to the finals!

Jack, lebron's jam over the entire pistons team in game 6 was the most dominating play i have ever seen in the pro game.

patience people, patience.


John M's post just made my day... nice to see Portland still has some perspective.

Boston has won 16 championships, not 13 (as a long time Celtics hater, I know that).

Have to root for Miami. I like Riley, and they would have beaten Detroit in the conference finals last year without the injury to Dwyane Wade.

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