22 April 2007

So Close, Yet So Far: Pistons 100, Magic 92

When a team...

  • Shoots 58.1% from the field,
  • Outrebounds its opponent 39 to 33, and
  • Gets 13 points and 19 rebounds from its franchise center...
...it should win. At the same time, when a team...
  • Commits 21 turnovers,
  • Misses 18 free throws and,
  • Lets its opponent share the ball, allowing 29 assists on 34 field goals...
... it should lose.

The Magic were both of those teams tonight, and fell short in Game One of its first-round matchup against Detroit by a final count of 100-92. It was the same maddening scenario we Magic fans have seen all year: A young, inexperienced team spots an early lead to a superior opponent, then battles back, only to fall short in the end. The numbers don't lie: WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO BEAT DETROIT. Our 21 turnovers lead to 17 Detroit points. At the same time, we hit only half of our free throws, wasting an otherwise solid effort.

If it's any consolation, we were in the game late, trailing by just three until Tayshaun Prince put the nail in the coffin, again, by dunking with 00:37 to play, extending the Detroit lead to five and forcing us to foul on every subsequent possession. Remember that it was Prince who hit a hook shot over Hedo Turkoglu to break a 95-95 tie score in these teams' final regular-season meeting, which the Pistons went on to win. The man has it out for us.

On another note, Darko should sprain his foot more often. He played a fantastic game, scoring 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including several thunderous tomahawk jams. He also appears to have worked on his hook shot, which now arcs nicely instead of lining directly at the rim. It's games like these that make me feel stronger about re-signing him this summer. But I don't want to get ahead of myself.

Essentially, the game was ours for the taking. We were right there at the end.

... and it slipped away.

We'll get 'em on Monday night.

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