The Pistons definitely did what they were supposed to tonight on LeBron. They hammered him, double teamed him, and fouled him when he drove to the bucket, which is what we said they should do - but they had no answer for Daniel "Boobie" Gibson. And quite frankly, why should they have had an answer for him? Before tonight, Gibson was only famous for this. No one, and I mean no one, expected Gibson to do what he did tonight.
Yes he's played well this series. He scored 21 crucial points in Game 3. But who on earth could have predicted this? He was the scoring version of LeBron tonight.
I'm sure the Pistons said to themselves before Game 6 that if we can limit LeBron's scoring we'll have a good chance of winning this thing. I mean that's what everyone had to be thinking. LeBron is the head of the Cavs. Cut that head off and you waltz your way to victory.
But Gibson was just on another plane of existence in this one, and he gave LeBron - who shot like crap tonight - one hell of an escape outlet. Boobie was 5 of 5 from three point land, hit 7 of 9 from the field and made 12 of 15 free throws. He scored 31 points in 29 minutes, with 19 of those points coming in the 4th quarter. Talk about some good production from your bench.
All this from a guy who was the 42nd pick in last year's draft, only played in 60 regular season games, and was averging only 6.1 points a game in the playoffs. And his nickname is Boobie. I like how Kerr stressed this point about 847 times during the game. You know Gibson's got to be saying to himself - Why didn't my mom call me T-Bone?!
You'll have to go deep into the playoff vault to find a performance better than this one coming from a somewhat anonymous commodity with such a bizarre nickname. I think you have to go all the way back to the Sleepy Floyd game (Warriors!), where Sleepy scored 29 in the 4th and 51 total against the 87 Lakers during a thrilling come from behind victory in the Western Conference Finals. Of course Sleepy was an All-Star in 87, but he wasn't exactly a household name.
Even though Gibson's performance wasn't anywhere near Sleepy's, it is probably even more bizarre considering the fact that Gibson, for the most part, has been little more than a minor role player. I'm sure Gibson will be happy to take second place to Sleepy, since Gibson was on the team that ultimately won the conference final, while Sleepy was not.
And as for the Pistons, you're just the 3rd team in NBA Conference Finals history to be up 2-0 and lose the series. Ouch.
I think tonight also marked the official end of the Pistons era in the Eastern Conference. You could see it exploding out of Rasheed's head when he got those 2 technicals.
They really seemed to miss Ben Wallace's intensity in the playoffs this year, and especially his interior defense in this series against Cleveland. Chris Webber and Antonio McDyess just aren't enough to duplicate Wallace. The fact that Webber also sucked in this series didn't help either.
With Billups looking like he's leaving as well, it doesn't look good for Detroit. The question now is, when will the Cavs win a championship? Or will they become basketball's version of the Buffalo Bills?
Cause let's be honest. I'm not even sure Cleveland would have gotten out of the second round in the Western Conference playoffs.
But that said, lord knows I'll be cheering for them in the NBA Finals.
Full Court NBA's take: And All the King's Men