The Pistons didn't even need to break out the thuggery in Game 1. They did well enough just bombing the Cavs into submission.
On top of being the baddest badass team in the league, the Pistons also have an excellent finesse game. Everybody in Detroit's starting lineup with the exception of Ben Wallace can make three-pointers with regularity. And sixth man Lindsey Hunter isn't too shabby shooting it either.
It all added up to the Pistons nailing 10 of 11 three-balls in the first half and cruising to the 27-point win.
How thorough was the pounding? At the end of the third quarter, Cleveland coach Mike Brown effectively said "screw it" and pulled most of his starters, including LeBron James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
As the old sportscaster adage goes, "it wasn't even as close as the final score indicates." Cleveland trailed by over 30 in the fourth quarter.
The Cavs were totally outclassed in every single phase of the game. They were out-defended, out-shot, out-penetrated, out-rebounded, out-shot-blocked, out-hustled, out-maneuvered and out-coached.
If this was the tempo-setting game of the series, Cleveland will certainly be swept, and might lose every game by 25-plus points.
No one is expecting the Cavs to win this series, outside of the guys in the locker room. But there is a huge difference between at least giving the Pistons a series, regardless of how many games you actually win, and being driven headlong into the offseason like lemmings off a cliff.
Being so hopelessly confounded that your coach calls off the dogs before the start of the fourth quarter is no way to start a series.
Maybe by the time Game 2 begins Tuesday night, the Cavs will realize they aren't playing the Wizards anymore, and the time for up-and-down basketball is over. Cleveland had better learn to play slower, more deliberate basketball and guard each possession like it is the end of the game. Slowing the game down is the only way they can match the Pistons shot for shot.
When it comes to playing Detroit, you have to fight fire with fire. Trying to outscore them will only ensure that your offseason will begin by the middle of next week.