Sunday, December 18, 2005

On Friday night in Auburn Hills, the Pistons had an easy time against the Bulls, winning 110-82. Darko got himself a couple of offensive boards and a bucket in his 9 minutes.

On Saturday night in Charlotte, the Pistons won handily again, this time by a score of 103-78 against the Bobcats. In five minutes, Darko managed a block, an assist, and a dunk. He also got into a bit of a late-game scuffle with Othella Harrington and drew a technical foul. Harrington was upset that he also picked up a technical and was ejected for arguing the call.

OK, 14 minutes total in a couple of games is nothing to write home about, but it sure beats 67 seconds in the previous three game stretch. While there may have been a bit of rust to shake off, Mr. Milicic proved that he can do a bit of everything when called on... blocks, buckets, boards and passes, and he is not afraid to mix it up with opposing players when need be. This guy is the complete package.

The problem with Milicic and playing time is the fact that the rest of the team is doing OK without him at the moment, so Coach Flip is choosing to rest Darko up for when he will really be needed to come in and turn a game around. There are some parallels between this story and the NBA story in Indianopolis, where coach Tony Dungy has to choose between playing his best players heading into the playoffs or resting them for the playoffs when a lot more will be at stake.

While I completely respect Flippy's decision to keep Darko rested, I urge him to play the Serbian gangster as much as possible, if for no other reason than to keep the fans entertained. The team is doing OK right now (18-3), but there is no reason for the coach to deprive the fans of seeing the absolute best basketball the team can play. Additionally, sitting on the bench can be detrimental in that Darko may accumulate too much rust to perform up to his ability when brought in for important minutes.

Flip, get Darko off that bench. You may think that a win is a win, but I'd rather beat the Bulls by 38 points than by 28, and the Bobcats by 35 rather than 25. Come on, man. Put your best team on floor --- for the fans. They pay big bucks to keep this team humming along, so give them full value for their dollar!


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