Last time I was here, for Game 3, there was a dark omen for the Sixers: three starlings flying around the arena. The Sixers, it turned out, cared not a bit about that omen, and crushed the Pistons. So ... as someone who always roots for Game 7s (unless the Blazers are involved, in which case I'm for sweeps) I'm pleased to tell you that these starlings are here once again. For the Sixers, this bad sign is definitely a good sign.
Just talked to Thaddeus Young. He plays shooting guard, small forward, and power forward. Tonight he'll guard Jason Maxiell and Antonio McDyess. I asked him which one was the tougher cover. He said McDyess, because of his versatile offensive game, with post-ups and jumpers and all that. But that doesn't mean Maxiell is a picnic. "He's a banger. He likes to rebound. As far as trying to box out -- he's harder. He's crazy. He's like crazy crazy. He's good crazy, though. He's not trying to hurt you. He's competitive, like we are. He wants to win."
The Pistons circle up and do that little dancing thing -- with 'Sheed out in the middle getting creative. I don't care what anybody says. That's one of the best things in sports right there.
Two and half minutes into the game, and the Sixers have managed to hit the rim once. Just think how great they'll be when they get a ball or two actually in the bucket. They're also not getting stops. Great start.
Before the game, in the Sixers' locker room, a trainer went around handing players cans of Red Bull. I'm watching these first few minutes, and I'm thinking maybe one canper player wasn't enough.
Some sections of this arena are just about entirely empty. Come on Philly! This is an elimination game! There are even some swaths of empty seats in the lower bowl.
A while ago I interviewed Pistons assistant Terry Porter. Since there isn't all that much basketball going on at the moment (even though the ball is in play) let's talk about coaching vacancies! Porter has to be a candidate for some of these open spots, and he has said he'd like to be a head coach again. Tonight I asked him how many offers he is getting, and he said he hasn't had any yet. But his face lit up at the question -- it's a topic he seems to like.
The Sixers Dancers just spent the timeout using a small trampoline to complete simple dunks. They finished up with four straight misses, and one dancer landed while doing the splits, which may or may not have been intentional. The whole thing was designed to get the arena pumped up, but I think instead it made people nervous. Like this game for the Sixers so far, at this point it's one of those "well, at least nobody got hurt" kind of things.
The whole Sixer bench is up. Sixers have made a little run, and it's looking like there's a chance it could be a game. If the Sixers come back, remember Rip Hamilton's flubbed lob pass with about eight minutes left. The Pistons had the dagger out, but that play eventually turned into a Sixers alley-oop.
New theory: Reggie Evans drank everybody's Red Bull. He's personally responsible for 90% of this game's energy.
So, as the Pistons turn things back on -- nice assist from McDyess to 'Sheed for a three -- let's talk for a second about cheese steaks. A lot of people get one when they come to this city, right? Sure, why not? Have a cheese steak. Last time I was here, Chris Sheridan called and asked if I wanted him to pick me up a cheese steak. Great! So I had it, and it was good. He knows all the best places, and he would take no money. So I owed the man a little something. I called him today, to see if I could get him back. He said sure, that would be great, thanks a lot. Then he said that he had just ordered himself a cheese steak, in fact, but that he would love to have another one for later. And I'm telling you, he's not ordering half-sandwiches. Here I'm going to quote some health experts from the University of Pennsylvania: "Chris, you are bats--- insane for cheesesteaks." No, that's not what they actually said. They said: "Eat one of these and you rack up a whopping 900 calories and 40 grams of fat. ... Nutrition aside, if you're visiting Philadelphia, be sure to try a cheese steak, as they're a tasty treat. But there's no question: this meal should not be a staple of a healthy diet!" It's not even halftime, and he tells me he has nearly finished both. This man is a professional.
Credit the Pistons. I can't tell exactly what it is they are doing so well in this game, but I can tell you this: things are hard for the Sixers, and that means the Pistons must be taking away their first options. In the end, Here's a chess analogy: I think one thing you have to deal with, when you play Detroit, is that Tayshaun Prince (let's call him a bishop) will take your queen. He will pretty much neutralize, all series long, whichever star Detroit wants to neutralize. Andre Iguodala is like Philly's queen in this series. He can be great, but he is rattled. He isn't doing much of anything efficiently. That hurts.
This building is emptying quickly. I guess everyone didn't come to see Louis Amundson.