Don't worry, everyone, it's not deja vu. The Detroit Pistons is back in the Eastern Conference finals. This time they get to face up-and-coming superstar LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers.
No one should be suprised that the Pistons are back. Sure Chicago was supposed to give them a challenge, that didn't pan out. The thing that fans in Motown need to worry about is the fact that Detroit loves to take "nights off" on game nights (see games 4 and 5 of the Chicago series). But when the Pistons show up, the other team may be better off not.
Pistons vs. Bulls No Joshin' prediction: Pistons in 5
Pistons vs. Bulls series result: Pistons in 6
Chicago went down 0-3 to Detroit and despite winning games four and five, I don't consider those Bulls wins so much as Pistons loses. No that Detroit is back in the conference finals, I expect them to be focused in once again on returning to the NBA Finals for a chance at a second championship in four years.
The Cavs are gearing up for their first title shot in the "King James" era. LeBron has led Cleveland past a depleted Wizzards team and an elderly Nets team.
Cavs vs. Nets No Joshin' prediction: Nets in 7
Cavs vs. Nets series result: Cavs in 6
I thought the Nets could beat Cleveland because New Jersey was - in my opinion - a more complete team. I've been viewing the Cavs as a one-man show. I also didn't put much stock in James' ability to come through in the clutch. Granted my expectations of clutch may be out of whack because I'm living in LA - where Kobe Bryant wins more games with buzzer-beating shots than the Clippers win in a season.
The Cavs kept do-it-all point guard Jason Kidd in check and they continued to move the ball to get a healthy number of points of each of their starters.
James (27.3 ppg), Larry Hughes (14.9), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (11.9) and Drew Gooden (11.1) have been solid scorers, but Detroit's D is the toughest in the East. The Pistons won the regular season series over Cleveland, 3-1, and are in great position to return to the NBA Finals.
LeBron and the Cavs are still just a year or two away, and with the powerful Pistons still ruling the East, it's going to take something spectacular for Cleveland to break through.
No Joshin' prediction: Pistons in 6
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS PREVIEW