Tuesday , Jun , 14 , 2005 Oly Sandor

NBA Finals: Pistons Must Adjust

They’ve lost their confidence.

The Detroit Pistons came into the finals with the swagger of a champion. After all, they had beaten the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference final.

NBA Finals: Pistons Must AdjustBut then Detroit ran into the San Antonio Spurs. Tim Duncan has played like an All-Star. Manu Ginobili’s been brilliant, sinking all sorts of improbable shots. Bruce Bowen scored 15 points in game 2, while locking down the Pistons’ Rip Hamilton. Tony Parker, Brent Barry and Robert Horry have helped the Spurs build a 2-0 advantage.

Right now, the Pistons don’t look like the defending champions. In fact, they’ve been embarrassed by San Antonio. Rasheed Wallace’s title belt has disappeared from sight and coach Larry Brown is probably dreaming about that cushy office gig in Cleveland.

It’s not quite over. Detroit returns home for three games and can get back in the series by making these adjustments.

Rasheed Wallace has to start playing on the block. The power forward likes to float on the perimeter and launch three point shots. By staying in the post, Rasheed Wallace could draw double teams from the Spurs’ defense and create space for Hamilton.

Tayshaun Prince must contain Manu Ginobili. In last year’s final, he used his athleticism and length to shut down Kobe Bryant. This year, Prince has been getting burned by the Spurs’ swingman and needs to pick things up on both ends of the floor.

Ben Wallace has to get involved. The Pistons’ center lacks energy and doesn’t seem interested in competing. In the first two games of the series, he’s only collected 17 rebounds. Detroit won’t win unless Ben Wallace hits the glass.

Detroit’s starters are tired, so reserves like Carlos Arroyo and Darvin Ham should get more minutes. Arroyo is a creative guard who could give the Pistons’ offense a lift. Against Miami, he provided a spark by running some pick-and-roll plays with Antonio McDyess. Ham could use his size on Ginobili.

Detroit must make adjustments or San Antonio will take more than just the championship. They’ll end up taking the Pistons’ pride as well.

By Oly Sandor. Oly is an NBA analyst and a free-lance journalist based out of Vancouver, Canada. Yes, Oly was forced to watch his hometown Grizzlies give Bryant Reeves 66 million dollars. His basketball writing has appeared in insidehoops, basketball.com, eurobasket, hoopsvibe and Ballerz Magazine. Send him an email at OlySandorNBAGuru@yahoo.com