Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Friday, March 04, 2005 at 10:02 AM

You say potato, I say potatoe, you say #1 seed, I say #2 seed.

People, people, people, let us just relax and breathe a little. There seems to be a discussion thread out there, well maybe more of an argument, about the Pistons getting the #1 or #2 seed, beating Miami either way and returning to the finals. I know, I know, I said I was going to talk about something besides the Pistons for a change, but my Tigers post was too long for that today (I am in meetings all day), so that will have to be put off until next week. So, on to the Pistons, who by the way lost last night to the Phoenix Suns 100-97. Very respectable score, I figured they would lose one or two on this trip, but as long as they are not getting blown out then I think it is a positive sign, one of those stupid “moral victories”. Anyway, on to the rest of the post.

Look, do I think the Pistons have a chance to catch Miami and claim that #1 seed? Yes, I think it is possible, they are playing the best basketball in the league right now. Do I think it will happen? No, unfortunately I don’t. I think the garbage ball the Pistons were playing at the beginning of the year (the fat and happy, poor me because of the brawl, head up their ass style) was just enough to spot Miami a head start, one which I do not think they will overcome. However, I think the Pistons will make it more interesting than any of us originally thought, I could see it coming down to the last week of the season and being a difference of 2 or 3 games. However, for the record here, I would like to add one of two things. First, the Pistons were not the #1 seed last year either, that was Indiana. Second, the Pistons beat the shit out of Shaq last year in the Finals with a better supporting cast. I don’t buy that “imploding” garbage, it is junk, so why should beating Shaq be any different this year? It shouldn’t, his supporting cast in Miami is weaker and the Pistons roster this year is stronger, deeper and has another year together under their belts. Let’s take a look at the Lakers roster from last year, shall we, the team the Pistons turned into a bunch of school girls in the Finals? It looked a little something like this:

Starters –
Kobe Bryant
Gary Payton
Karl Malone
Rick Fox

Bench Players –
Derek Fisher
Deveon George
Horace Grant
Brian Cook
Kareem Rush
Bryon Russell
Luke Walton
Stanislav Medvedenko

That is a starting line up that contains four future Hall of Famers and a bench that can go, with quality, five deep with Fisher, George, Grant, Cook and Rush. Done.

Now, let us look at this years Miami Heat and the key players on that team – here we go:

Starters –
Eddie Jones
Udonis Haslem (whom?!?!)
Damon Jones
Dwayne Wade

Bench Players –
Steve Smith
Alonzo Mourning
Christian Laettner
Michael Doleac
Shandon Anderson
Kenyon Dooling
Rasual Butler

Wow, what a power house team! You basically have a starting line up that consists of two stars (if I have to identify them then you have no right calling yourself a basketball fan) and three dudes that you could remove from the line up and replace with anyone on the bench and you would not be able to tell the difference. Except, of course, by reading the different name on the back of the jersey. The Lakers team, however, had one such guy in their starting line up, Rick Fox, that was a “plug and play” type player. The point of all that is simple – I said it before and I will say it again, the Pistons beat Shaq with much better players in LA than he has in Miami. I can look at that roster and go “Kobe, The Glove, Mailman, The Diesel, Derek Fisher, Deveon George, Horace Grant, shit even Bryon Russell!”. However, I look at the Heat roster and I laugh, it is really just (here are those two in case you could not figure it out) Shaq, Wade and a bunch of role players (notice “role”, not “roll”). There is no one there that even makes me nervous, and I am a skinny, 6-1 white dude!!!! Give me a break.

Furthermore, let us actually break down the match ups in the starting line up real quick. Let us assume that the Eastern Conference Finals comes down to what it appears it is going to be, the Heat versus the Pistons. I am going to take two guys out of the equation for both teams, one from each, Ben Wallace and Shaq. The Pistons will do what they did in the Finals last year, we all know Shaq is going to get his, that is why I am taking those guys out. Ben will get the primary task of banging with Shaq, Rasheed will see some time and (god willing here) Elden Campbell will help out off the bench. The remaining match ups, if I were Larry Brown, would have Rasheed on Haslem (whom?), Tayshaun on Dwayne Wade (he always gets the opposing teams biggest guard/forward threat), Chauncey on Eddie Jones (for the size) and Rip against Damon Jones. Then, off the bench, the Pistons bring McDyess, Arroyo, Hunter, Campbell, even Dupree and Ham. There is no one on that Miami bench (remember, Alonzo is not even close to the ‘Zo of old) for the Heat to even come close to that. The Pistons have the match ups, the Pistons have the depth and home court or not there is no way I see it making a difference. To me, the only way the Pistons lose the East is if they beat themselves. Period, point blank, end of story and end of argument. Having home court would be nice, but really in this case it would only be nicer for the fans so they could see the Pistons at the Palace for an extra game against the Heat. Bottom line, Pistons in six and bring on some Western Conference team for the Pistons to beat up on again.

Well, that ended up being longer than I thought, but it really has become a sore spot with me. I am tired of “Shaq this, Shaq that”, it is getting old already. I am going to close with my old line here once again – the road to the Finals still goes through Auburn Hills, Michigan – more specifically right through Four Championship Drive. Later and have a safe weekend – the sports dude.

Thursday, March 03, 2005 at 10:00 AM

Thursday Thoughts.

Well, the Tigers played their annual “gimmie” game against Florida Southern yesterday, ending in a 2-2 tie. The Tigers gave up two runs in the ninth to force the tie and the game ended in a lock. Hopefully this is just an early bump, but Trammell even said himself he is not looking at wins and losses so much this spring as the quality of play. The quality of play yesterday was sloppy at best and hopefully today against Philly, the beginning of the Grapefruit League season for real, they can improve.

This is jus a funny article that I got off of ESPN referring to the Barry Bonds press conference last week. You know, the one where he says something about reruns and Sanford and Son? Well, ESPN made up there own “lost episode” of the show to spoof those very remarks, give it a read.

A cold, hard slap in the cheeks. Well, at least there is now another team to be rumored to be hiring Larry Brown next year. Seriously, the poor guy never had the support of the ownership, has had more thugs play for him than Bobby Bowden, the dude never got a fair shake. He will coach again, but hopefully it will be in a better situation. You know, not on a team whose roster is made up of criminals and malcontents? Here is another article on his firing, from the Detroit News.

This is just a brief article on some of the big names this spring trying to make a comeback in baseball. Nothing fancy, nothing special, but it does list Maggs. Check her out.

Finally, John Chaney needs to go. There is no excuse for what he did and all the apologies, all the medical bills he is offering to pay will not make it right. He needs to step down, retire and go after some real targets – maybe we can convince him to go after Jose Canseco?

More to come later, I think I am ready to finally talk a little Tigers, maybe some Lions, but I definitely feel like talking. Later – the sports dude.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 at 11:24 AM

Big Easy Games & Big Easy Returns.

Big Easy Games.

Last night was the first time in a while I was actually able to sit down, relax and watch a Pistons game from start to finish. Thankfully, to my satisfaction, they didn’t disappoint and I didn’t cause a damn jinx! The Pistons are on an unbelievable roll right now and just saying that might be a huge understatement. They have now won 8 in a row, 13 out of their last 14 games and are an NBA best 21-6 since January 1st. Oh, and Larry Brown was named coach of the month for February after the Pistons went 9-1. I think, for me, there is only one word that comes to mind to try and sum all of that up – “DAMN!”

Personally, for me, the most gratifying part of the game last night was watching Tayshaun Prince. I had been reading about his new found aggressiveness, hearing about it all over the radio, but had yet to actually see it for myself. After watching my first game in quite a while, period, I now can see what all the fuss was about. Can you say future Piston All-Star in the making? Just watching him play, Darko being a bust or not, makes me say even louder now “Carmelo who?” I still like the Darko pick anyway, yes I am still a believer, but simply watching what Prince is turning into reaffirms it for me even more. The kid is a freak – he has the wing span of a 7 footer with this skinny, 6-9 frame. He gets boards, plays excellent defense (did you see him chase down Van Exel and swat his lay up from behind? Ask Reggie Miller about those types of plays.), is often asked to guard the opposing teams best scorer if they are a small forward or shooting guard, can post up and hit the three ball. The kid seems to have the ability to score at will sometimes, loves to throw the alley oop as well as receive it and can just flat out play. Anyone doubt that four years of college is a bad thing? Not me. Seriously, if his play as of late has not finally shut up all those damn Carmelo lovers out there then you all need to root for a new team, you have no right calling yourself a Piston fan.

Big Easy Returns.

Hell must be freezing over today and it is from the ice thawing off of Rod Thorns heart. I truly was beginning to doubt that this man had any nice bones in his body, but he found one somewhere and did the right thing, releasing Elden Campbell. Here is a Detroit Free Press article from today’s paper on the Big Easy’s return home.

Just reading the article and seeing the players quotes you would think the Pistons picked up Kevin Garnett off of waivers and not Elden Campbell. But that is what the Pistons are, they are not only a team, they are also a family, and one of their brothers is returning home. In the midst of their hottest streak of the season, making what could be one last push to catch Miami, Chauncey Billups says he “feels complete” knowing that Elden is coming back to the “D”. Seriously, read the article, read the quotes – can you feel the love? If chemistry were the deciding factor in every seven game series come playoff time there is no team in the NBA that could stand up to the Pistons. None.

But that’s what it is with these guys – that bond, that chemistry. These guys really enjoy one another, they hang out, but most importantly they don’t just love playing with one another but for one another. Elden will most likely play just as much here as he was in New Jersey – you know, mop up duty and pine riding – but the key is he gets to do it at home now. To him and to his team mates that is all that truly matters, having him back with the family. Furthermore, come playoff time, they get a “big” that knows the system, fits right in without having to learn new stuff, already has that “bond” with the team, but mainly can hang with Shaq. That’s all this is, a move to help slow down Shaq, and I know I couldn’t be happier.

Lastly, look at the genius of Joe Dumars once again. Even though it took a lot longer to get Elden back then originally planned for, essentially the Pistons gave up a first round pick (most likely a late rounder) for Carlos Arroyo. Two words for you all – “brilliant” and “steal”. Look out Eastern Conference, the boys are back in town and not only ready to finally defend that title the right way, but those crazy belts Rasheed got them as well. If I was the East I would be counting my blessings right now because the Pistons are coming and they have only one thing in mind – the Finals.

Later – the sports dude.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005 at 2:15 PM

Tuesday Quickies.

I know this is old news, but I forgot about it in my "catch up" post the other day. Seriously, does anyone in the league, aside maybe Ray Lewis, seem to be a better fit for the Raiders? It is like a match made in heaven. So long, Randy Moss, the Black and Blue division ain't going to miss you!

Seems like a bunch of teams have already jumped on the Garcia train. We offer a physical, they offer contracts. Oh well, at least Chris Chandler is out there, along with Brad Johnson. Hey, does anyone know if Terry Bradshaw still wants to play?

Does this surprise anyone? The dude was a wet bag of shit in college. Strike that, a FAT, wet bag of shit in college. Seriously, the guy has "bust" written all over him - and I ain't just talking about his waist line either! The guy is a joke, he should have stayed in college - at least there he was getting paid, getting free SUV's and people were doing his homework for him! Now he has to do all that work for himself, or he has his mamma do it! What a douche bag - yes, I used the words douche bag! It is Clarett and he is a Fuckeye - done. Maybe he could borrow one of Tressel's sweater vests for an interview session, you know, to make him look like a "nice, but misguided, kid."

'Zo is back in Miami. Well, he can comeback wherever he wants, he still ain't getting to the Finals. Sorry Alonzo, you joined the wrong Eastern Conference Contender.

The Pistons were ranked #1 in some ESPN poll for fan satisfaction. Here is the link, but you can use it to check out all the sports individually as well. Way to go Joe D., thanks!!!!

Finally, I have heard a nice rumor on the radio ( I also saw an article on my work mates computer, but was unable to find the link at mine! Tartar sauce!) that Elden Campbell has asked to be released by the Nets and that Thorn has said he will grant The Big Easy's wish. How much you want to bet that Thorn waits until just after midnight, say 12:01, to do it? You know, since the deadline is midnight for the players to be available for post season play? Can you say cocksucker? Sorry, but I could totally see Thorn doing it - JACKASS!

Later - the sports dude.

Monday, February 28, 2005 at 3:37 PM

I go on vacation and the whole NBA trades itself!!!!

While I was away on a little four day weekend getaway with the wife and kids here it seems the NBA went trade crazy. It seemed like the rumored stayed just that (Ray Allen, Michael Redd, Carlos Boozer, etc.) and the strange and unthinkable instead occurred. All I know is that when I checked ESPN on Thursday night in my hotel room (after my damn kids stopped hogging it with all those cartoons – don’t they know daddy has a blog to run?!?!) that when I was reading the bottom line all I could say was “WOW”! Fortunately my belief still stands firm, crazy trades and all, that the road to the Finals still must pass through Three Championship Drive, Auburn Hills, Mi. Here is an ESPN link to all the trades that took place and here is my write up and opinion on what went down.

To me the Pistons biggest competition is still Shaq and the Miami Heat. They all but have Alonzo Mourning signed and got a savvy veteran in Steve Smith to boot. The Heat are definitely much deeper now than they were at the beginning of the year, but even yet these additions don’t really make me fear them anymore, any less. I still believe the Pistons can wear them down in a seven game series, home court or not, but they may need a little more help now than they did before. The “rumored” addition of Dale Davis would be a big plus and I would love to see Larry Brown (his ex-Pacer coach) and ‘Sheed (his buddy and ex-Blazer team mate) be able to persuade him to hop on the Piston train. Don Reid would at least be a fifteen minute, six foul guy but that is about it. At least with Davis you get a guy who is in basketball shape (Reid has been out of the league for a couple years now) and is a guy who could come in and help NOW! Davis would make me feel a lot safer, Reid would help, but hopefully they get someone. If not, oh well, I still take my Pistons in six or seven, they may just have to sweat a little bit more. Also, for the record, it is nice to see Rod Thorn of the Nets keeping his word – that he didn’t just snatch Elden Campbell to stop the Pistons from getting him. You know, Elden is playing big minutes for the Nets and contributing just like Thorn said he would – 6 minutes in the last 7 games. What an ass, he just needs to get over himself and admit the Pistons are better – end of story. One word for you Thorn – cocksucker!

Antoine Walker returning to Boston is no big deal – it didn’t work before, why the hell should it work now? C-Webb and A.I. in Philly may eventually be nice, if both can figure out a way to stay healthy for an entire season, but this year I feel it may be too little, too late. Plus, they really don’t have any supporting cast there in Philly to shake a stick at.

The remainder of the moves, both in the east and out west, were just basically junk trades in my mind. Moves to get some depth, moves to dump contracts in the off season and look forward to the following year, etc. If I was Keith Van Horn I would look into firing my agent and hiring a good realtor, it seems like that dude is on the move every year at the trade deadline. Either that or maybe just buy a really nice R.V. or something, kind of makes more sense if you ask me. Doesn’t this cat get it yet that he is just a cupcake?

For what it is worth I still feel the Pistons biggest foe in the East is themselves. They need to not take anyone lightly (can you say two years ago and a 3-1 deficit to the Orlando Magic?) and hopefully are past that stage. If they keep the focus they have now and grind it out there is no reason why a return to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight year is all but theirs. To me there are no teams in the East, crazy trades or not, that should stop the Pistons and Heat from meeting for a seven game bout in this years Eastern Conference Finals. My gut also tells me that whoever wins that series, most likely the Pistons, will win the NBA Finals this June. The West has the superior talent, the teams with the best records, and they will all wear themselves down against each other in those damn “nobody plays defense, 128-126, final score” games (Yes, I know the Spurs play defense like the Pistons, but that is about the only team out West I see giving the Pistons fits in the Finals because they are built just like them). Then, come Finals time, the good old Piston defense will bitch slap them in the face, wear them the hell down, and give us another back to back just like the good old days. Hey, Four Championship Drive sounds pretty damn good to me, don’t you think? Later – the sports dude.

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