Detroit likely won't be alarmed if it can't pull off a Game 2 victory, even though heading to South Beach down 0-2 would be a bad idea any way you slice it.
|A little offense from Chauncey Billups would be a boon for the Pistons. (Getty Images)|
"We're not worried," said Rasheed Wallace. "We're not going to stay in this funk forever."
This Game 2 is a must-win, whether Detroit admits it or not. Falling behind the inexperienced Cleveland Cavaliers was one thing. The Heat are far from being playoff novices, and last season's bitter elimination after being up 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals creates an edge that is going to be difficult to budge.
Confidence is a fickle matter, particularly when all the cards are on the table. It's a little different when, in Detroit's case, you have won a title and been to consecutive NBA Finals. But if the Pistons believe their bravado is going to get them through this and rattle a veteran team like Miami, they're being naive.
"We've got to get back to having more fun on the floor," guard Richard Hamilton said. "A lot of times when we're good on the basketball court, we're out there smiling, laughing, having a good time. Right now, it's not like that. It's like, oh man, we're fighting for everything."
"The first quarter we were horrendous on defense," coach Flip Saunders said. "There was too much dribble penetration. We let Shaq have some early looks, but as far as anything inside, we just did not have enough resistance to start the game."
Shaquille O'Neal said he hadn't had a rest like the one he enjoyed before Game 1 since his early days with the Orlando Magic. And because of foul trouble, he was only out there for 28 minutes Tuesday. Although he wasn't particularly effective in the second half, he started strong, bowling over Ben Wallace on the game's first possession and throwing down a dunk to help the Heat get off to a good start.
Dwyane Wade should also be rested after playing just 27 minutes. Against Detroit, he averaged 43.5 minutes during the regular season and was counting on playing nearly the full allotment before foul trouble intervened. Considering Miami won, that's great news, forcing his teammates to step up and keeping him fresh for a run at a Game 2 upset.
This is dangerous territory for Detroit. Having a cavalier attitude toward this contest could be a recipe for disaster.
Hamilton has been fairly consistent this postseason, so it's OK to give him a pass for a poor shooting night (9-for-22) Tuesday.
Chauncey Billups is another story. Where have you gone, Mr. Big Shot?