So much of the talk at both the 76ers and Pistons practices on Saturday centered on the first five minutes of Game 4. Both Andre Iguodala and Rodney Carney said that the first five minutes will be crucial.
"We have to be ready in the first five minutes," Iguodala said.
Added Carney, "I think the first five minutes will determine how the game will go."
The thinking is that the Pistons were pounded, 95-75 in Game 3, and will want to come out strong and make a statement in the beginning of the game.
Pistons coach Flip Saunders also mentioned the importance of gaining early momentum.
"In their two wins, the Sixers got off to good starts early," Saunders said.
That's not entirely true. In the Sixers 90-86 win in Game 1, Detroit led 27-22 after one quarter and 51-38 at halftime.
And in the Sixers' 95-75 win on Friday, the score was tied, 20-20 after one period.
Still, the point is, that Detroit must re-establish itself after getting embarrassed on Friday.
The Sixers will try to build on the momentum. Either way, it might be placing too much on the early porition of the game and not enough on the late stages.
In both losses, Detroit faded in the second half. The Pistons were outscored 52-35 in the second half of Game 1 and 51-35 in the second half on Friday.
What this seems to indicate is that the team with the younger legs, the Sixers, has been the one in control in the second half of both wins.
So while the start of any game is important, the Sixers have proven that the finish might be more crucial.
Here are some random thoughts on other topics.
ITEM: Many have voiced their displeasure with the new format of the blog. Morty among others asked if anything can be done.
RESPONSE: Change is always difficult, but this is the way it's going to be. The other format was easier for me, but my view has been to make the best of it. For those who have followed us over here, your participation is greatly appreciated. If there are any specific complaints, please email them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they will be forwarded to the appropriate people.
ITEM: The other day The Greek noted that one of the blog posts was done at 3:47 a.m. He suggested that somebody took over the blog and began posting.
RESPONSE: No, that was me. The reason for the early post was simple. After falling asleep early the night before (following five nights in Auburn Hills, Michigan), this reporter was awakened by his cat at 3 a.m. who wanted to eat.
Anybody with a hungry animal, realizes that it's easier to feed the little critter than to continue to hear him crying for food. It was too difficult to return to sleep, so it was as good a time as any to work on the blog.
ITEM: Xing writes that Flip Saunders may find himself on the unemployment line if the Sixers eliminate the Pistons.
RESPONSE: Book it.
ITEM: Where are all those people who complained about Reggie Evans earlier this year?
RESPONSE: Evans' warrior mentality has been one of the biggest reasons the Sixers lead this series. And lost in how well he is playing is how Thaddeus Young is excelling in his first postseason. Young is averaging 10.3 points in the first three playoff games and has been outstanding in the first quarters, when many of his teammates have not gotten off to quick starts.
Who would have thought that after three games, that Evans and Young would be averaging more points than Andre Iguodala?
ITEM: Speaking of Iguodala, there has been the expected backlash with the way he has played this series (7 for 33 shooting).
RESPONSE: There is no question he has been pressing and it's why he has committed 12 turnovers. For the Sixers to have the lead, with him playing below par, has to actually be encouraging. And it says here that Iguodala will bounce back. Write him off at your own risk.
By the way, one other admirable trait of Iguodala is that he doesn't hide when things aren't going well. He is a stand-up guy who has faced the constant questions of his slump.
ITEM: Ed Rosenberg writes that the Sixers can win this series and whether it happens remains to be seen. Ed points out that the Sixers know they can win it.
RESPONSE: Ed, no question in their minds now, they know they can win it. The Sixers won't admit it, but it seems as if they entered the series thinking they could be competitive. None of the players were making foolish predictions, but there was a feeling that they could compete. Three games is a big enough sample to make the players realize they can not only compete, but win. Who knows what will happen, but as Ed mentions, it's going to be very interesting and very exciting.
ITEM: More and more are writing in about the need to extend Andre Miller.
RESPONSE: Of all the moves, none would be more important than extending Miller. If it doesn't happen and he departs after next season, the Sixers will take a serious step back. This should be priority No. 1 in the offseason.