Say what you will about the Cavs and their offense, Lord knows I've said and written a lot about it, but they are a world class defensive team and have one of the most talented players the game has ever seen. Now they have themselves their first trophy after steamrolling the Pistons, and I stress first because tonight is a night to believe there will be many more.
There was a belief that these Cavs could come into their own but nobody knew when. Certainly not this year, so I thought just a few days ago. But they pressed the accelerator with LeBron James at the helm and it was amazing to watch how fast things came together.
Here we go...
--You know I tell it like it is and you know I picked the Pistons to win this series in six games. We'll I'm telling you the Cavs outplayed the Pistons in every single one of these games. Overall, they showed a much more poise after losing those first two games that could've so easily gone the Cavs way. When the Pistons smashed the Lakers in the 2004 Finals, people said it was a five-game sweep because the only game the Lakers won came when Kobe Bryant hit an impossible 3-pointer in Game 2. Well this was a six-game sweep.
--Go ahead and start calling him "Big Shot Boobie" because Daniel Gibson appears to be at the cusp of a pretty good career. So he's not a classic point guard, so what? When you have LeBron, who distributes, having a guy who can make shots, free throws and is learning to drive is very valuable. More than that, Gibson and LeBron have man crushes on each other and they both have poise. You want to know who the Pippen is, as people have been e-mailing me about for years, this might really be the guy. Folks, these guys are 21 and 22 years old. Are you comprehending that?
--How about comprehending this...Gibson scored 31 points on nine official shots. Or that LeBron even with all those double and triple teams had a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the series. Or that the Wizards, Nets and Pistons shot 42 percent in the 16 games against the Cavs. Or that the Cavs have won 16 of their last 20 games.
--This was a gut shot to the Pistons, who once again walk away thinking they're the better team. So did the Nets, trust me. And the Wizards, to a man, are convinced they should've beaten the Cavs last year and could've beaten them this year with all their weapons. It seems hard to win respect in Cleveland, just ask LeBron, who will sit around knowing he's not on the All-NBA First Team for the next year.
--Let's continue to be honest, these Pistons are in serious trouble. This might very well be the last night of the dynasty. They already won 12 fewer games this year than last without Ben Wallace. Chauncey Billups was below average in this series. He had a great fourth quarter in Game 1 and was very good in Game 5, otherwise he was just another guy. Tayshaun Prince was downright terrible. He couldn't handle LeBron and was embarrassed in Game 5 on defense while he shot 16-of-62 for the series. He's got a great future, though. Chris Webber made some good plays, but how about this guy complaining to the coaches and teammates about wanting the ball more? He's never been able to win anything and he's trying to tell the Pistons how to win? He helped them, but he was lucky to be there. Richard Hamilton played really well in four of the six games, the guy is a warrior and he's got no blood on his hands in my mind.
--Now on to Rasheed Wallace. He's a good player with unique talents. In '04 he was a difference-maker in getting them to the title. But his attitude is a team killer. I just watched the replay of his tirade. Yes, Andy Varejao flopped on his fifth foul, but Sheed still hit him. And you know what, Webber nailed him when he complained about a flop tonight and Antonio McDyess got his neck in Game 5, too. Wallace started pushing Andy as they were lining up for a free throw and then he shoved him all the way down the floor. Then he posted up and started elbowing him. Andy, meanwhile, did nothing against the rules. Then, with the game still not over, Sheed tackled LeBron for his sixth foul right after that. It was weak-minded and it destroyed his team. The Pistons had the second-fewest fouls called on them this season and the most technicals. As great of a team as they've been and with all their huge wins, what a sign of a loser, to lead the league in complaining. Man did it show in this series. Especially compared with the Cavs, who took the high road most of the time.
--That said, the Cavs got a lot of calls tonight. At the end of the game the refs were calling everything to try to even it out. The Pistons got calls in the Palace, that's basketball. They got themselves in trouble by fouling LeBron every time he went toward the basket and it caught up with them.
--Don't underestimate what Damon Jones did tonight in the fourth quarter. He help spread the Pistons out and assisting on two of Gibson's 3-pointers. He's played a key little role in this series as Mike Brown has had to go small. On the other hand, Sasha Pavlovic was awful tonight. However, he did play well in Games 3, 4, and 5.
--It was not a banner day for Brown, who tried to figure out for three quarters how to deal with that half court trap that got LeBron the ball 40 feet from the basket. The Pistons did it last game a bunch, yet the Cavs didn't seem to be ready to handle it. But his defense kept those Cavs in it, just like he always said it would, and his small lineup won it.
Much more to come on the Spurs in the coming days.