The NBA Closer is written by Matt McHale, who is mourning the Suns today. When he's not being bummed out, you can find him hating the Spurs at Basketbawful. Enjoy!
The dream be dead. What can I say? The Philadelphia 76ers defied expectations by making it to the playoffs and then shocked the basketball world by taking a 2-1 series lead over the Detroit Pistons in the first round. They have a lot to be proud of. But the Pistons are the better team, period. And once they decided to pay attention, the proved it. Big time: 100-77.
Said Detroit coach Flip Saunders: "Philadelphia probably woke us up. Over the last 10 quarters we've executed as well as we can." Which makes sense. They probably had a lot of energy stored up after playing the first three games at half-speed.
The Pistons executed the 76ers with Terminator-like efficiency on offense (58 percent shooting, 56 percent from beyond the arc) and defense (Philly shot 33 percent from the field and 3-for-13 from long range). The Sixers didn't even hit a shot for almost six minutes to start the game and ended the first quarter down 30-12. The rest of the game was played because David Stern is pretty married to the whole 48-minute game concept.
Rip Hamilton (24 points, 9-for-14) and Chauncey Billups (20 points, 8-for-11, 7 assists) provided the one-two knockout punch, while the rest of the Pistons supplied the bobs, weaves, and jabs. Philadelphia was "led" by Andre Iguodala, who had 16 points. Andre Miller and Louis Williams "added" 11 each, and the rest of the team pretty much "sucked." But that doesn't change the fact that the young Sixers had a season to build on ... or that the Pistons are advancing, again, this time to face the Orlando Magic.
Wag of the finger: How quickly the worm turns. The Philadelphia crowd booed their team when the third quarter ended with their team down 79-51. I know the loss was a bummer, but c'mon. You're officially on notice, Sixers fans.
Fun fact: The 76ers averge margin of defeat since Samuel Dalembert got the "Mr. T's retarded half-brother" haircut: 20 points.