AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 100-87, in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to clinch the third championship in franchise history. The Pistons' 100-point output was the only such performance from either team in the Finals.
Now that the series is over, we asked our experts the following question:
What ultimately led to the demise of the Lakers?
It's time to stop asking what the Lakers did wrong and start giving all the credit -- and I mean ALL -- to the Pistons. Simply put, Detroit is a better basketball team. They are a complete team, one that is as complete defensively as any I have ever seen, and for the first time since the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics, we have an NBA champion that did not have a player who was arguably the best in the league.
But the trio of Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace are arguably the best shot-blockers at their respective positions and all three have the versatility to guard perimeter players and provide tremendous help all over the floor. But most importantly, the Pistons never take a possession off and have learned to play the right way offensively. They are a complete team that will only get better.
Dr. Jack Ramsay
The biggest flaw for the Lakers in the NBA Finals was their defense. The Pistons are not a team that should score as freely as they did, but to the Pistons' credit, they exploited all the weaknesses of the Lakers' defense: the screen-and-roll, the curls and the transition game. Detroit got the maximum from what Los Angeles allowed which is a great tribute to Pistons coach Larry Brown and his game plan.
The fact is the Pistons were a better all-around basketball team in this series. Detroit was better in every facet of the game: offense, defense, rebounding. The Pistons were just better man-for-man than the Lakers and that is the reason they are NBA champions.
The Detroit Pistons led to the demise of the Lakers. It's not what the Lakers didn't do; it's what the Pistons did. They are younger, faster, deeper, more athletic and simply a better team. The Pistons were more aggressive and did everything right in this series.