Detroit Pistons

Around the Rim: Wrestling with the truth

1. Welcome back, Rasheed
The NBA season is rolling, but something just doesn’t feel right. Something is missing. Ah, of course! Rasheed Wallace hasn’t done anything stupid yet. Wait; looks like we can check that off our list. Here’s what Sheed had to say about the Pistons being eliminated from the playoffs by Cleveland in six games last year.

“There’s a lot of people out here who think they really beat us,” Wallace sniffed, apparently ignoring the fact that five close games were followed by a 16-point Cavs blowout in Game 6. “It was ourselves. We beat ourselves. We fell victim to the little, personal NBA thing where they’re trying to make it a world game and get ratings and all that.

“They wanted to put their darling (LeBron James) in there, and they did put him in there. Look what ended up happening.”

“So this game, this ain’t basketball no more, it’s entertainment. It’s like WWF. Ain’t no more real (than) wrestling. All the days of Ric Flair and Rick Rude and Jake the Snake. … It’s so fake.”

That’s more like it, we feel much better now.

2. Seeing green

So far, so good for the green clovers. Sure, they’re just two games into their season, but the Boston Celtics tremendous trio is looking pretty intimidating at the moment. After spanking Washing by 20 points on Friday, the Celtics returned to action on Sunday against Washington and when it came time for someone to step up for the game winning shot, Ray Allen made a 3-pointer to give Boston a 98-95 victory over Toronto in overtime. Allen led the way with 33 points, including seven treys, and Kevin Garnett followed up his double-double debut with 23 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals. Celtics senior Paul Pierce dished in 13 points, five rebounds six assists and a pair of steals. So far, the green’s big three have Boston fans feeling like kings of the sports universe with the Celtics joining the Red Sox, Patriots and Eagles atop their respective sports.

3. No Stoudemire, no sweat
Despite missing their star big man Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix rolled over Cleveland in the second half and sent the Cavaliers on to Golden State with a 103-92 defeat. The defending Eastern Conference champs are now 1-2 on the young season, getting handled by the pair of western big boys they’ve faced. LeBron James had a great game, leading the team in every major stat except for rebounds, and the Cavs out-rebounded Phoenix by 11 (51-40), but the team’s 18 turnovers proved too much to overcome. Steve Nash played like Steve Nash (30 pts, 10 ast), Shawn Marion did his thing (23 pts, 12 reb, 2 stl, 2 blk) and before you know it, BAM, the Suns have 103 points off an eight man rotation, seven if you exclude Marcus Banks’ five minutes of play.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James @ Phoenix 43 min, 27 pts (FG: 11-26, 3FG: 3-5, FT: 2-2), 5 reb, 8 ast, 2 stl, 4 blk

Monday’s Game to Watch: Houston (3-0) @ Dallas (2-1)
It’s easy to call this our “Game to Watch” because it’s the only contest on the calendar. But even if they weren’t flying solo on Monday night, they’d still have a legitimate claim for the NBA’s top billing. Dallas bounced back from an embarrassing loss to Atlanta on Friday to pop a hapless Sacramento team in the mouth on Saturday. The Mavericks looked good in their 123-102 spanking of the Kings, but Kevin Martin, Francisco Garcia and Brad Miller really don’t compare to in-state rival Houston’s lineup of Tracy McGrady, Shane Battier and Yao Ming. The Rockets are finally starting to look like the team everybody expected to see when McGrady first joined the crew in 2004. Luis Scola is shaping up to be a steal from the Spurs based on his effort alone. It should be another 1,2,3 finish for the three Texas teams in the Southwest division, but this year could be the year Houston escapes the bronze medal.

Buzzer Beater: It was discovered over the weekend that a pair of NBA notables recently turned up their noses to a pair of different offers. First, Phil Jackson said that Grant Hill wouldn’t return his phone call over the summer while he was deciding on his future as a free agent. “I figured he didn’t entertain the idea very much if he didn’t return that call,” said Jackson. We can understand that considering that Hill actually wants to win a title and not just be Kobe’s shadow in the midst of a storm of uncertainty. Then comes the bad news for Philly fanatics. It appears that Andre Iguodala has declined the team’s final offer of a contract extension. Apparently, $57 million just isn’t enough to keep him settled in Philadelphia for the next five years. Again, we can’t blame him; have you seen the freaks that live in that dump? Not to mention he’d still be on the Sixers.

Overtime Buzzer Beater: Dirk Nowitzki loves him some NASCAR-Nextel Cup. Herren, fangen Sie Ihre Motoren an!