After the Pistons walked off the floor in Miami following a seemingly symbolic overtime loss in the season finale, they will now have plenty of time to reflect upon ‘the good old days’ before engaging in a likely first round trouncing at the hands of the dominant Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Pistons have been the class of the East this decade, having reached the Eastern Conference Finals in each of the past six seasons along with a championship in the summer of 2004, but are now wrapping up their first losing season since 2000-01. On the flip side, the Cavs were one of the league’s doormats until some magical ping pong balls brought LeBron James to his hometown, and they are now atop the conference at the end of the regular season for the first time in franchise history.
Look no further than the point guard position to figure out why Detroit is passing the baton to Cleveland as the new Beast of the East.
All fingers will (rightfully) point to the trade that sent Chauncey Billups to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson that has led to Detroit’s demise, but perhaps the bigger story is the ascension of the Cavs with the addition of Mo Williams. Williams has helped catapult the Cavs into super status as they look to advance back to the Finals for the first time since 2006-07, when they defeated the heavily favored Pistons in the Conference Finals.
While the 2007 Conference Finals showing was a coming out party for LeBron and the Cavs, this rematch is surely to be the final nail in the coffin of the current Pistons team as we know it, and perhaps the first step in the path of Cleveland’s first-ever franchise championship.