Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Friday, June 02, 2006 at 10:10 AM

Friday thoughts...

First the happy news - happy fourth birthday middle sports dude-ling!!!! Can't believe you already are four, time goes by way too fast, but happy birthday little buddy! Playing T-Ball, loving sports and making pappa proud - that a boy!

Now, the sad news:

Five words I dream of hearing:

"The Pistons force game 7"

Five words I am afraid I will hear:

"The run is finally over" OR "The Heat eliminate the Pistons"

Either way thanks guys it has been a hell of a ride. Have a nice weekend and talk to you all on Monday - the sports dude.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 at 12:00 PM

"Win & Go Home" OR "Lose & Go Home"??

So the playoff beard lives to see at least another couple days, but something tells me come Friday night I will be getting rid of the grizzly Adams look. I love these guys, I really do, but there is just something there this series, or rather not there actually, that just is sticking in my gut and telling me that they can’t do it this time. I hate typing it, I hate thinking it, I hate saying it but my heart and my gut are battling it out and it is not because I ate some bad Chinese food last night either. No I am not jumping ship, I have always said with this bunch that until someone beats them to four wins in a series I will never count them out, but I am not the only one feeling it right? Didn’t think so.

Some random thoughts on the game:

I was at the bar last night watching it so the post game stuff was not audible, way too damn loud in the place, but I read in the “blogosphere” this morning that the block on Shaq by Ben (I agree fellow bloggers, biggest play of the game) has the big fella’s panties (great visual) all in a bunch because he feels he was fouled. Let me tell you something buddy, Ben knocked you on your ass fair and square there partner, thanks for the big dent you left on the Palace floor when your embarrassed and pouting ass hit it. Could that block be just as big of a momentum swing as Tayshaun’s from two years ago when he got Reggie? I guess we will have to wait and see this Friday.

Here we go again, except it is the Heat this time saying that they beat themselves and the Pistons had nothing to do with it. What am I talking about – the fact that they shot 6-20 from the free throw line and were in the game all the way. Hey, maybe that makes up for the 47 freebies you were all but given in a basket in game 4 by the ref’s there cupcakes, get over it. Also I would like to point out that even though you missed a bunch of “bunnies” we still won with Rip going 7-21, Chauncey going 3-12, Sheed going 3-11 and as a team going 2-15 from three point land. So you can say all you want about beating yourselves but something tells me my boys ain’t going to shoot that bad again either so shut up, it goes both ways.

For all the people throwing Flip under the bus you should be ashamed of yourselves, it is pretty damn petty. Wasn’t he just getting praises from all of us for guiding this team to the best record in not only the league but franchise history? Is he the one that all of a sudden taught us to shoot blanks? To take Cleveland too lightly, go to seven games and have no rest or prep time to prepare for the Heat? Didn’t think so! Maybe they are spending more time on offense than defense in practice but even that is a lame excuse, does that mean you guys suddenly forget to play it? “Oh, we are not practicing how to move our feet and stay in front our defensive assignment, damn I forgot how to do it!” Come on guys that is pretty lame. Besides the way you guys have been shooting in this series I would spend more time on the offense too if I was him! Don’t blame it all on Flip, yes there are some things he could have done better but trust me it is more you than him. If you would have played all series like you did last night this would not even have been an issue.

The teams also seem to be going back and forth as to whom has the most pressure now, is it the Heat or the Pistons? Look, even though Miami got game 1 at the Palace I say there is more pressure on them than the Pistons. Do you really think they want to come back to the Palace for a game 7? Didn’t think so there either! Say what you want but they know, in the back of their minds that their game 7 is tomorrow night in Miami, trust me they know.

Not getting ahead of myself because I AM NOT GUARANTEEING JACK SHIT THEREFORE NOT CAUSING A JINX HERE PEOPLE but how great would it be to see the look on the faces of assholes like Walker, Mourning, Payton, Shaq and Wade if the Pistons somehow come back and win this thing? If it were to happen (AGAIN NO JINX BECAUSE I STRESS IF) that would to me almost be as great as winning the title back. I say almost, but not quite.

Look, I still just have the feeling this ends tomorrow because it just seems too big a hole for these guys this time and the way they just look tired. I mean this has been a long four year run with a lot of games, a lot of minutes and a lot of basketball miles put on those bodies. Can they still do it? Yes, I think we all know with these guys anything is possible, but the bigger question is do they still have enough left in the tank to actually do it? Heart says one thing, gut says another, but all I know is that they played for pride last night and I am damn proud to call myself a Piston fan this morning. Some teams would have just laid down and played dead but those guys left it all on the court and hopefully they will get to come back home one more time for game 7. Win or lose Friday it has been a hell of a ride and something tells me it ain’t over yet, but I guess we just have to wait and see. Later – the sports dude.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 11:12 AM

Dear Pistons...

Dear Pistons –

I just wanted to write you, yet again, to simply say thank you for one of the best stretches in basketball I have ever seen. I have been watching you, the Pistons that is, since I was 10 years old, that would be 1987 to be exact. That was about the time that I started to pick up a ball and play in my driveway with one and only one goal in mind… beating my dad. That is right, just a father and son on any given afternoon day playing ball in their driveway and having fun. Now my dad was not a basketball person, in fact he was a baseball man at heart and hoped his boy would be the same, but he was still out there shooting hoops and taking it to his son until the day came that I could beat him. The day did eventually come, although it took a couple years, but I remember that day was one of the happiest of my life, I finally beat my dad, straight up, fair and square and once I did he never beat me again. Sure we still played but not as much as before because he was satisfied that he gave me the desire to win, to be the best and to move on to bigger and better opponents. In fact, and this one is for you Ben, one of his favorite things to do why he was beating me was to let me get close and then use the “Hack-A-Sports-Dude” strategy to cause me to lose it at the line. I was horrible at the free throws but the day I beat him, finally, you know how I clinched it? At the free throw line Ben, it was all mental, not physical, so it is possible.

As far as my love for the Pistons it has been a never ending love affair and regardless of tonight’s outcome I will not jump ship, I will not fall off the bandwagon, I will not leave. I have been threw the good times and the bad, I have been through the thick and thin with you guys. I remember how you ran Chuck Daly out of town with Ron Rothstein, I remember Laimbeer retiring and Isiah and him fighting in practice. I remember the Orlando Woolridge’s and the Bison Dele’s, the Loy Vaught and the Christian Laetner experiments. I remember the drafting of Lindsey Hunter and Allan Houston back to back and how upset I was that Allan left the way he did. I remember William Bedford, Lance Blanks, and Scott Hastings and yes, even Terry Mills and Grant Long. I remember Grant Hill, I still have all his rookie cards, and even the sign and trade and thinking “nice move Joe, who the hell is Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins? Maybe you should have just been a player and that was it!” I remember Don Chaney, Doug Collins, Alvin Gentry, George Irvine and although I wish I could forget it I even remember those ugly (to be polite) teal uniforms that you wore for awhile. That was the best move that Joe D ever made if you ask me, getting rid of those and bringing back the red, white and blue. Oh, and did I forget to mention the greatness that was Otis Thorpe and Sean Elliott, who can forget that?

The point of all that is not to run down memory lane with all of you, okay maybe it is a little, but rather to point out that these last few years have been so fun to watch I just want to say thanks in some way and that if tonight is the end of this run with you five it is okay, most of us are not going anywhere. I am not, as Sheed so kindly put it, one of the “bandwagon ass-cats” I am a Piston fan and will be until the day I no longer breathe or you no longer exist, which ever comes first.

There is this silly little part of me that still thinks that you can do this, you can come back and force a game #7 on the Palace floor, but then there is the realist in me that just says it is impossible. Too much basketball over the past four years, maybe it has caught up to you at the worst imaginable time, or maybe it is simply that your time has passed. Whatever it is it truly has been a memorable ride and one that I am sure I will experience again because I believe that at some point in time Tayshaun will win another ring with the Pistons before it is all said and done. If somehow you guys play loose tonight, if somehow you guys win big and look like the Pistons that won 64 games this season and went to back to back Finals then maybe all hope is not lost but something tells me that there is just nothing left in the tank at this point.

So there you have it, thanks guys, thanks for letting us all come along for the ride and just for so much damn fun, even though there has been a lot of nail biting and heart burn along the way it was still well worth it. Maybe you guys should just reread the first paragraph of this letter, maybe you guys should just pretend you are kids again, playing your dad, your uncle, whomever it was that was the first person you really just had to beat to prove something to yourself at an early age. Go back to having fun, go back to playing loose, stop playing scared and just let it out and leave it on the court. Be that boy again chasing a dream or you may all be chasing golf balls sooner than any of us expected.

Thanks for the ride now just go out and play – the sports dude.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 9:57 AM

Tired? Bored? Pissed? Take your pick.

You know what the defining moment for me was that pretty much sums up this stretch run is over? Was it in the third or fourth quarter yesterday when Shaq blocked a shot, recovered it and raced down the court with it for a lay up? That right there tells me that the Pistons have just logged too much basketball over the last four years. This is there fourth straight trip to the Eastern Conference Finals and sandwiched in between was two trips to the Finals. Look, I am not trying to take anything away from the Heat, as much as it pains me to say they are more deserving right now, but when a 7'2" guy that goes at least 350 is the fastest man on the floor something tells me the other team is pretty tired!

I think what bothers me the most is they are going to lose to a team with Payton and Walker on it, those two have always been some of the biggest asses in the NBA in my book for as long as I can remember. I have no issues with Shaq, none with Wade, it is just those to that burn me up.

Yes I will mention the officiating, it has been wretched at best, but I put more blame on the players because you still have to shoot better than 35% to win right? What, are the Pistons trying to help the Palace out by giving them some extra bricks for the renovations that are going on right now? Yes the ref's have not been to kind but you can't allow your opponent to shoot 50-60% night in and night out either right?

Yes Flip has his flaws but the players still have to execute, shut their god damn mouths and stop being such pu**ies, make a freaking basket and play some defense! Remember that, your so called staple, defense? This is not even about Flip, this is more on the players.

Only a few guys that are untouchable if you ask me on this team and I put them in order like this... Tayshaun, Chauncey, Rip and McDyess. Sorry, maybe it is time for Ben to just go and see if there are any takers for Sheed. Something tells me Sheed will be fine, which is okay, but this playoff run definitely solidifies what I have said many times before... Ben is not a max contract guy and if that is what he wants then let him get it somewhere else. Besides, you all know the summer will be filled with Garnett rumors right?

Part of me wants to see them do this, pull this 3-1 deficit out, but part of me just wants the misery to end so they can get some time off, get some rest and come back next year and start all over again. I have learned over the years that until you get 4 on these guys to never count them out, but then again, I have never seen them this tired.

All in all I would like to say thanks for the ride boys, I guess I have no choice but to pay attention to the Tigers now. Later - the sports dude.

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