It wasn’t a game I watched to write a blog about. It wasn’t a game I watched to gain some insight on some statistical theory I had. There was no updating box score running on my computer as I watched. I’m a notorious multitasker, and for the last quarter I put everything aside to solely concentrate on game 7. And I wasn’t disappointed.
In what was the most exciting game of the 2004 playoffs, game 7 between the Heat & the Pistons went down to the final minutes. Although the Heat went into the fourth quarter with a 2 point lead and a boisterous crowd rooting them on, they were unable to hold off the Pistons. Or was it the Pistons were able to hold off the Heat? Against the defending champions, the Heat only managed 16 fourth quarter points.
Wade didn’t look 100%, as he pulled up lame after hitting the hardwood in the final period. But he looked good enough that Miami can’t blame the loss on him. The same could be said of Shaq. O’Neal’s gimpy leg allowed the Pistons 13 offensive rebounds, but he hit 12 of 19, and only missed 1 of his last 4 free throws when the Pistons employed the Hack-a-Shaqtm(a registered trademark of Don Nelson). Haslem can be proud of his play, as he chipped in 13 points & 10 rebounds.
On the other hand the same can’t be said for the rest of the team. Things looked good early for Eddie Jones, as he stole the ball & rushed up the court to nail a 3 pointer as the half ended. However he struggled later on, and ended up hitting only 4 of 12. On the other hand Damon, hobbled by an ankle injury, managed a single point, and Dooling was erratic firing up an ugly 3 pointer in the second half.
The only stat that stands out to me is the Heat’s three point shooting. Miami was 3rd in the league with the long ball, connecting on 37.7% of their attempts during the regular season. However in game 7, the Pistons only allowed them to connect on 2 of their 11 attempts (18.2%). Miami’s outside shooters never looked comfortable from downtown.
So I guess I get my wish from last week. The Pistons move on to the Finals, to pair up with the defensive minded Spurs. I can only hope there are a few GMs out there (maybe one a 12 time All Star) who might have a revelation that getting players who can play defense as well as offense might lead their team to a NBA Finals.