No Regard

May 18, 2008

Dee-troit what? And some Tiger talk

Filed under: Three Questions — Tags: , , , — Andy Vasquez @ 10:20 pm

This is a little something we like to call three questions. Every Monday, we’ll take a look at three of the most intriguing questions across the world of sports for the upcoming week and offer dueling opinions. What could be better than an argument? It’s like Around the Horn, without yelling sports journalists.

This week, we delve into the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, the NHL Western Conference Finals and Tiger’s potential return to the PGA Tour.

1. Can the Detroit Pistons win an Eastern Conference Finals game in Boston?

CHRIS: Yes, in fact, I think they will win the first two games and not have to play another game there this season. Let’s not pretend that the regular season games meant anything. At that point, Ray Allen was actually useful and Doc Rivers wasn’t coaching with the intention of negating Kevin Garnett. Rajon Rondo looks absolutely gassed, and I expect him to get summarily worked by Chauncey Billups and Rodney Stuckey. The first game may be close, the second game won’t be, and the Celtics season will be over after 96 nightmare minutes in Auburn Hills.

ANDY: Yes, the Pistons will win at least one game in Boston, and it will be Game 1. The Celtics are coming off a depleting series with the Cavs, a series that went down to the final minutes of Game 7. They will be tired on Tuesday night, and the Celtics don’t have a lot of experience together. A tired team without experience together has not been a recipe for success in the NBA Playoffs, especially when you’re going up against a team with seven days rest. The Pistons win Game 1 easily, and don’t be surprised if they steal Game 2, too. Though, after today’s game, half the battle might be surviving the pre-game smoke.

2. Will the Detroit Red Wings become the first time in 33 years to lose a series after leading 3-0?

CHRIS: Yes, and they will do it in grand fashion. I was convinced that had the Rangers come back to win Game 5 in Pittsburgh in the second round, they’d have comeback to win from down 3-0 simply because Pittsburgh wasn’t ready to handle that kind of pressure in Games 6 and 7, whereas the Rangers faced that exact same situation against Buffalo last year. Same concept applies here. Dallas goes home tomorrow night with a hot goaltender leading the way and a Detroit team so tense that an early deficit plays out like the world is crashing down on them. That’s the key; if Detroit can get a lead in Game 6 or 7, then they’ll have a shot. But if they fall behind again and Dallas is allowed to dictate the pace with a physical game, like they did in Game 5, than they’ll do what hasn’t been done since 1975.

ANDY: Heavy on the Detroit questions, huh? The answer is no, the Red Wings will not blow a 3-0 lead. Now there are a few points of concern for Red Wings’ fans. Mainly, Marty Turco has gotten hot, and Chris Osgood’s recent streak of being unstoppable has come to an end. But the Red Wings are still out-playing the Stars, out-shooting Dallas 39-21 in Game 5. Detroit will keep that shooting momentum in Game 6, and get the key goal it needs to meet Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Finals.

3. Tiger Woods may return for the Memorial this weekend. If so, how will he fare in his first event since April knee surgery?

CHRIS: Not great, but it won’t matter, because anything he does between now and June 12 is just preparation for…June 12. He needs to get his season back on track, and the only way to do that is to win the US Open. What I would be most concerned about is how his knee problems are going to effect him long term. Several articles in the last couple of weeks have questioned whether the changing mechanics in his swing have put undue strain on knees, despite the fact that he claimed his last swing change was to take pressure off his legs. If he has to make another change or starts to compensate for any weakness in his knee, we may be looking at the beginning of the end of his career, and right in the middle of what looked like the run to passing Jack.

ANDY: Look, Tiger Woods won’t be coming back unless he’s ready. And if he’s ready, you know what that means to the field. Consider this, Tiger spent much of the last few weeks limited to chipping and putting, so his short game is going to be sharp. He hit the ball all over the lot at Augusta, but it was his short game that abandoned him and led to the second-place finish at the Masters. His short game will be there this week, and Tiger won’t finish worse than third. He’s that good.

[Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images]


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