Thursday, June 09, 2005

NBA Finals - Game 1 Preview

The NBA Finals - Pistons vs. Spurs, Game 1 on ABC

8:30 PM ET - GMC NBA Game Time with Mike Tirico, Bill Walton, and Ahmad Rashad featuring a live performance from Will Smith and the national anthem sung by Alanis Morissette.

--What better way to kick off the NBA Finals then with Will Smith doing a live performance of his new hit song, "Switch"! I'm kidding obviously. Now I don't listen to the radio much, but I've never heard "Switch" nor do I imagine that it's any good. By the way, since the game is in San Antonio, wouldn't it make a whole lot of sense for the Fresh Prince to perform "Men in Black" as the Spurs charge out of the locker room? (And just imagine if the Heat advanced, he could have countered with a rendition of "Miami" as the Heat stormed onto the court. Would have been ironic, don't you think?).

--On a sadder note, anyone who has watched ABC's coverage this season will notice the absence of Steve "Snapper" Jones from the talent listing above. Snapper is experiencing serious health problems and will not be with the studio crew for the duration of the Finals. This means there's going to be nobody arguing against Walton and telling him to shut his face, so let's all hope Snapper makes a quick recovery.

--Just an FYI-- Game 2 will feature Kelly Clarkson singing the national anthem live via satellite from the Persian Gulf where she's embarking on a USO tour to pay tribute to our armed forces overseas. And Game 3 will have local boy Stevie Wonder ripping the national anthem and performing his new single, "So What the Fuss" live from the Palace of Auburn Hills. This begs the question: what audience is the NBA trying to target by booking these musical acts? Let's think about this-- Will Smith? Good question. Who the fuck buys Will Smith albums?! If you know, please inform me. I know he still sells pretty well, so there must be some main demographic. Alanis Morrisette? Since she recently became a US citizen, she likely deserted all of her Canadian fans. I suppose her crap is geared towards women aged 30-40. Kelly Clarkson? Teenage chicks. How many 16 year old girls do you think are watching the NBA Finals? ("Oh my God! That Nazr Mohammed is SUCH a stud! Let's turn on ABC and watch him in the NBA Finals!"). Stevie Wonder? Anyone aged 40 and up. Actually I'm a big Stevie fan (of his older stuff), but his music is not aimed at the average 18-30 year old male, which is the NBA's main audience. So why couldn't the NBA book someone, anyone, that might have appealed to the average NBA fan-- the ones that don't just tune in for the Finals?!

Let's hope the Kelly Clarkson Fan Club doesn't attack us the same way that Brandy's did after the NBA Source cut on her.

9:00 PM ET- Detroit Pistons @ San Antonio Spurs, Game 1 with Al Michaels, Hubie Brown, and Michele Tafoya and Stuart Scott courtside.

-- Aren't we lucky? Stuart Scott leaving his ESPN game show duties to do a little courtside work for the NBA Finals. Hey, maybe one of you can help settle a little debate we have going on at the office. Has anyone noticed how Stu is rocking those tinted glasses 24/7? Is he wearing them just for the look, or is he actually going blind in his lazy eye? I'm not asking to be a dick or anything, we really are trying to get an answer on this.

Observe Closely to see how the Pistons plan to defend Tim Duncan. Larry Brown would throw 4 different defenders at Shaq, giving himself 24 fouls to use on him. It would not surprise me to see him employ similar tactics against Duncan tonight, but I think we'll see Elden Campbell lose his spot in the rotation and I think the Pistons will try and man up with Duncan rather than forcing him to the line. Rasheed will be on Duncan for the majority of the game, but I can't imagine the Pistons don't switch Big Ben to Duncan once Horry enters the game. Larry Brown knows the Spurs can be unstoppable when they attack the basket, so he's going to do his best to leave Ben Wallace around the rim the entire game. Pistons could be in trouble if Horry comes in, nails a couple 3's and forces either of the Wallaces away from the basket in order to guard him. As good as the Pistons are at rotating on defense, the Spurs are even better at spreading the floor and creating open looks. If they're stroking it from outside, Duncan will have plenty of room to work with in the post and that could cause problems for any Piston defending him one-on-one.

Pay No Attention to this blown-up crap about Larry Brown going to the Cavaliers being a distraction for the Pistons. This is the NBA Finals-- the grandest stage in all of basketball. If you really believe Larry Brown is worried about what he's going to be doing 2 weeks or 2 months from now, you're crazy. Remember that as long as Brown has been around, the only championship he ever won as a coach was last year with the Pistons. For a guy that's been to as many places as Brown, that's takes on as many challenges as he has, another ring surely means an awful lot to him. It's time for ABC and ESPN to let the speculation about Brown's future rest until the Finals are over. He doesn't want to hear it and his team is tired of answering questions about it-- so basically ABC, ESPN, and the rest of the media are the ones making it into a distraction. And what should matter most to the media outlets, we--the fans and viewers, are sick and tired of hearing about it. It's a story that's been officially beaten down to a bloody pulp, so just please let us enjoy the Finals and we'll be more interested in Brown's whereabouts when his duties with the Pistons this season are over.

Watch and You Will See that the NBA Finals are going to play out much like the Eastern Conference Finals, only with closer games and an alternate ending. Look for the Spurs to set the tone of the series tonight, by claiming a decisive victory in a game in which they control the tempo of throughout. The Pistons have been lackluster during the Playoffs in pressure-less situations so I don't see any reason to doubt that they're only going to turn up the intensity when they desperately need to. From a matchup standpoint, this series favors the Pistons. They have the edge in almost every single aspect and limit the Spurs' advantages by being able to throw solid defenders at Duncan and by having Rip Hamilton run around wth Ginobili. Couple that with Billups' obvious ability to post Parker up at will and the Pistons' huge advantage over the Spurs from the free throw line, and Detroit has to be considered the favorite on paper. Nevertheless, I like the Spurs to win this series in 7. If the series is as close as I expect, then it should all come down to Game 7 and there's two factors which favor the Spurs in such a situation: home court, and having the two best players in the series. The Spurs are a team that feeds off their energy and ability to put together exciting runs and that has a lot to do with why they are 44-5 at SBC this season. And as we see time and again in the Playoffs, the best players step up at the most important times-- Duncan and Ginobili are far from the exceptions. If the series comes down to one single game, it's impossible not to expect these two stars to step up their games and drive the Spurs to a 3rd title in 7 seasons.

Paul's Game 1 Prediction - SPURS 101, PISTONS 91
Ant's Game 1 Prediction - SPURS 103, PISTONS 98 (Cover)

Tim Duncan will once again be hoisting the Finals MVP Trophy after winning his 3rd ring this year.


At 6:57 PM, Anonymous thai said...

love the site. actually the stu scott sunglasses thing isn't really that new since he has been wearing it for a couple yrs now i think.

i think he wears it because of the eye surgery he had after he got hit in the eye with a football for a sportscenter segment. from what i remember it was pretty serious and he was almost blind because of it.

not sure if thats the reason he is still wearing it now though

At 4:56 AM, Blogger Nat said...

hey guys... loving the new look of the site... ima be gone for a week but i hope from the two teams the spurs win it!!


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