A Detroit Pistons fan's notes:
-- Tonight we're at the Bucks, who just beat the Lakers. Tuesday we're at the Knicks, who are supposed to be getting 'Melo back from injury. Wednesday we're at the Nets, and we'll be pooped out, on account of three road games in three nights. Three opponents with losing records, but still lookin' rough for the Pistons.
-- Viewing the Heat over the Bulls, 97-93, Chicago had a chance to tie when Derrick Rose drove the lane and missed one of his off-balance floaters. Meanwhile, Rip Hamilton was standing all alone for a potential 15-footer on the left baseline, his money shot. Rose is brilliant, and he pulls off some incredible circus shots, but he shoots too much (11 of 28 vs. Miami).
-- Why care about the Heat vs. the Bulls? Well, with the Pistons being so lackluster, we need to pick other favorite teams (even if for occasional dumb reasons) in order to maintain our interest and our sanity. For example, I like the Bulls because they now have Rip and because Rose reminds me of Isiah, who also used to shoot too much early in his career (although Zeke was a better passer).
-- I like Philly and the Nuggets because they demonstrate a team can win without a superstar. On the opposite side, I like the Oklahoma City superstar stylings of Russell Westbook and especially Kevin Durant, and the fact that they are tattoo-free. I like the Clips because they now have Chauncey Billups, but also because I'm a fan of Chris Paul, Caron Butler, and, increasingly, Mo Williams, who is proving that the old Cavs had more than just LeBron going for them.
-- I don't like the Magic and the Hawks because they have such erratic styles of play. I don't like the Knicks simply because they're in New York City, the media capitol. (When the Knicks won the 1969 title, there must have been three dozen books written about them; they were described as being the epitome of team ball, as though nobody had seen the Bill Russell Celtics during the prior decade.)
-- I like the current Celtics (whom I of course couldn't stand back in the '80s) because Doc Rivers shows so much class and goodwill during the NBA-mandated between-quarter TV interviews, even when his team is performing badly, and dislike the Spurs because Greg Pop-off-ovich asks like such a jerk in these cases (as did the supposedly cool Zen guy, Phil Jackson). Besides, the Spurs got lucky when they beat Detroit in Game 7 of the 2005 NBA Finals. See! My first loyalty remains with the Stones.