The Answer is out of Answers
AUBURN HILLS -- Allen Iverson sat at a podium looking over the group of journalists who scribbled in note pads and held recorders to chronicle his every word.
He spoke. They listened. He tried to explain. The media tried to understand.
He finally threw up a hand in resignation.
It was painfully obvious that "The Answer" had no answers to journalists' questions or the pounding he took from the Pistons.
The Pistons grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead in this best of seven Eastern Conference series because the power of five is better than the sum of one -- even when that sum of one of the most dangerous players in the NBA.
The Pistons fumbled through their usual slow start, but the ending was so complete that even Darko Milicic got playing time. The Sixers can only question themselves after this 99-84 loss. When you couple that with Game 1's 106-85 Pistons victory it is easy to see why Iverson looks lost.
We've seen this series before. Let's travel back to the late 1980s and early 90s when The Pistons Bad Boys used to do battle with the upstart Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan.
Jordan used to put up fantastic numbers although he paid for every point by getting knocked down and tossed around. He got a little help from folks like Bill Cartwright and Scottie Pippen. But the bottom line is when crunch time came around everybody in Bulls red awaited magic from Jordan.
He'd come close, but the end result was Pistons victories until they became too old and disjointed to compete with him.
Iverson didn't even make it close. He fired up 24 shots and misconnected on 17. He scored 19 points on a night he needed 49.
He needed Kyle Korver to be his Craig Hodges, but he is a fresh face child out of Creighton playing as if he is a rookie. Korver the sharp shooter is just 3-for-13 from the field because he cannot guide the ball through the long outstretched arms of Tayshaun Prince.
We are also seeing a new version of the Jordan rules. The Pistons are funneling Iverson into traffic. In his mind he is driving toward the hoop for easy layups or passes to open teammates. In reality the Pistons are luring him into a black hole of land mines and booby traps.
When Iverson penetrates he becomes lost in the massively long arms of Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince. He sometimes looks like a bug stuck in a spider web.
Early on he found success by kicking the ball inside to Samuel Dalembert (14 points, 11 rebounds) but once that dried up the Sixers offense was stamped null and void.
Now here is the most dangerous thing for the Sixers. As the series shifts to Games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia, the Pistons say they have a few more tricks up their sleeves, a few more land mines for Iverson to think about.
The Pistons have actually made this series Mission Impossible for Iverson.
Sometimes people criticize the Pistons for being so defensive. They say they ugly up the game with their swarming defense. Yet when you see the spiders bottle up a water bug like Iverson, it is a beautiful thing to see. You can see Iverson has all the talent in the world. He has world class moves that would net him 50 point nights against the Bulls or Wizards.
But these are the Pistons. The only thing he is getting is a world class headache trying to figure out what the Pistons are throwing at him.
And the Answer appears so confused he doesn't even know what the question is.