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Archive for Tuesday, May 16, 2006

There will be a Game 6 - guaranteed

Detroit’s Rasheed Wallace needs to put his crystal ball away and quit forecasting the future

May 16, 2006

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— You sat on the bench for the last four minutes, wearing your Detroit Pistons sweats, clearly delirious from Cleveland's first documented case of Hoof-in-Mouth disease in quite some time.

You made 3-of-13 field-goal attempts. You committed several key turnovers. You sprained your ankle. You were outplayed again by Cavaliers reserve Anderson Varejao.

Rasheed Wallace, is this your idea of guaranteeing your work? Remind me not to hire you as a contractor.

Final score: Cavaliers 74, Pistons 72. Series tied, 2-2.

Guess 'Sheed happens, huh?

Hey, we've all said or written things we regret in the heat of battle or on the crunch of deadline, but you spent two days promising victory in Game 4. You vowed Monday's game would be the last played at Quicken Loans Arena this season.

I'm not much on guarantees myself, yet I'm quite certain there will be a Game 6 here Friday night.

You can quote me. My editors can put it on the back page, the front page, whatever.

Three previous times you had made your trademark "Guaran-Sheeds" in the postseason. Three times your teammates helped deliver wins.

(I notice you never made such brazen predictions as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, but I digress.)

The best starting five in the NBA could not get it done for you Monday night. Don't look now, but the Cavaliers are starting to play with the same defensive hunger that made you the best Eastern Conference team the past two seasons.

The Cavs held your team to 4-of-18 shooting in the fourth quarter and helped force six turnovers. You, meanwhile, missed all three of your attempts and had two turnovers. You finished with seven points.

This was a game in which the Pistons really needed your post presence. A game in which you could have made a difference.

You're an All-Star, one of the game's elite power forwards, a major contributor in the 2003-04 NBA title. In the past two games, however, you're 7-of-24 from the field. I guess with Vice President Dick Cheney in town Monday you decided to honor him with a little errant shooting of your own.

Guess 'Sheed happens, huh?

The people in Motown are getting a little edgy. First, the Red Wings, the NHL's best regular-

season team, get eliminated in the first round. Now, the Cavaliers are extending a series that many - me included - thought would end Wednesday night.

You were your defiant self after the game. You gave credit to the Cavaliers but told reporters, "'I ain't worried about those cats. There is no way in hell they beat us in this series."

Don't worry, there have been more foolish guarantees. Former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain guaranteed "peace in our time" after giving away the Sudetenland to the Nazis.

There is still time for you and your Pistons. You are the more experienced, playoff-tested team. You should prevail. But if the Cavaliers somehow win this series, your promise gone south will live in sports infamy.

I guarantee it.

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