Public opinion (and bookies opinion accordingly) is opposite to the reality here. Being the defending Eastern Conference Champion and finalist two years in a row, regular season winner Detroit must be a huge favourite playing at their home-court. Right??? Wrong! Considering what has happened over the last 2 weeks, the Pistons could be going down the drain faster than we thought.
Some may think that as Miami won Game 1, the Pistons now have their backs against the wall and they will bounce back to take an easy win in Game 2. But the problem for Detroit is that they didn’t lose the Game 1 because they had an extraordinarily bad day or no luck – they lost it being simply overplayed. Final score 91-86 surely does not represent the difference here. Miami had a safe lead half way through the final quarter and people were heading towards exits, although all the calls seemingly were going on the Pistons way.
Even the bigger problem for the Pistons is their recent slump, which has basically lasted for 6 games (not counting the defensive effort against the Cavs in 2nd half of game 7). After Rasheed Wallace came out with his yet another “guaranteed win”, the Pistons all the sudden have all sorts of problems at the offensive end. Sheed injured his ankle against the Cavs and is at most 75% healthy, “Big Ben” has gone very quiet at the offensive end (not to mention that he probably wouldn’t make a free-throw even if the basket was an ocean). Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton are staying far below 50% with their shots from the field and though Tayshaun Prince has stepped up, his offence isn’t good enough to keep the Pistons rolling.
On the other hand we have the Heat, who have seemingly found their rhythm and confidence after having early play-off troubles against the Chicago Bulls. They have won 7 of their last 8 play-off games, being dominant in all of them. If you are the Heat fan there are many reasons to be a proud of. First of all supporting cast (Walker, Payton, Williams) have picked up their game and take everything opponents defence give them. With both (!!!) Shaq and Wade having foul trouble and playing under 30 minutes, the Heat was still able to hold off the Pistons in Game 1. Of course you have to mention Dwyane Wade, who has been killing the Pistons offense for all year long and continued his mission also in Game 1. All in all the Heat must feel good about themselves right now. They have it rolling and they are confident, they took the home-court advantage from Detroit and Game 2 will be a great chance to add a final blow to the Pistons woes.
Detroit has this game much as “do-or-die”. You would expect the team deep like the Pistons to take control in games like these, but they had exactly the same situation in Game 5 against the Cavs and they choked. It is clear that the Pistons are playing below their usual standards right now while the Heat has its game rolling over the past few weeks. Detroit could win this Game 2, but they hardly can blow it open and the Heat should safely cover the spread line here. Medium+ stakes!
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