It's pretty difficult to take copious notes when you're in an exceedingly dim basement bar with only a barkeep's ratty pen and the back of a receipt to write on, but I soldiered through the Pistons-Heat game in full reporter mode, taking notes for this recap. Considering that context, this has gotta be bulletpoints. The bulletpoints are chronological, straight from my notes.
* I didn't get to the bar until the start of the 2nd quarter, so we jump in somewhere in that period when a graphic pops up with Shaq's line: 12 minutes, 3 fouls. I'm no math major, but if you extend that rate over a game's full 48 minutes, that's a good 12 fouls for the Shaq. To be honest, that's about right. Shaq fouls constantly, mostly when he has the ball or is posting up for the ball. The rules for him are entirely different than they are for anyone else, and it's absurd that he doesn't get 3 fouls per 12 minutes played in -every- game. Only slightly ahead of Kobe Bryant in my Least Favorite NBA Players of All Time. (Don't you ever, ever pump your fist like MJ again, Kobe. EVER.)
* It struck me immediately what the Pistons were doing better last night, and for the first time this series: running. It also immediately struck me how to beat the Heat: run. I hadn't put it all together (and neither had Flip, obviously) until last night, but I should have. The Heat are freakin' old. Wade's a spring chicken, sure, but Shaq, Payton, and Antoine Walker are not running like they used to. Even though the Pistons didn't bury the Heat `til the 4th quarter, you could see how gassed Miami was at the end of the game. The Pistons need to run, run, run and run some more in Miami tomorrow night. Riley wants the game to be a half court slog, and while the Pistons can usually beat teams in that kind of game, they aren't particularly well suited to bang with the bulky Miami core.
* The crowd difference between the Piston fans and Heat fans could not be more stark. The shots of the Miami "faithful" clad in zombie white t-shirts were pathetic. It looked like some JV pep rally. On the other side, I've been to the palace for a meaningless December game and the place is booming with energy. During the playoffs, it's even wilder. Maybe it comes with living somewhere with terrific weather, but Miami fans are painful to watch. They barely clap during some big scores. It's sad, really. Much like Longhorn hoop fans: barely there.
* It was great seeing Antonio McDyess hitting baseline jumpers. That's where he's best.
* Welcome back to the playoffs, Chauncey. His mediocre play was the most mystifying of all. That he rounded into form last night is the best news yet for Pistons fans hoping for the big comeback.
* One of the most improbable things of my life: I kind of like Shaun White. Weird. I hate extreme sports. Hate snow. Hate the whole Mountain Dew culture. And then there's that Flying Tomato guy. He's freaking charismatic. If I had a product to sell, I'd book him.
* Tayshaun was terrific once again last night; you can pretty much predict the outcome of Pistons games based on his performance. When he stinks, the Pistons are in trouble. When he's on, they're virtually impossible to beat.
* What I'm watching for in Game 6: Pat Riley's pretty much owned Flip Saunders to this point, so you know the Heat will make some adjustments. I expect him to try to slow the game down to a painful crawl. It's up to Flip to get the Pistons out and running early and often. And then some more. That's what the Pistons were doing earlier this season when they started like 40-2 or whatever. If they keep things revved up tomorrow night, there -will- be a Game 7. Guaransheed.