It sure was a tough stretch, ain't nobody gonna argue with that. The truth of the matter is, with several injured players, all of them starters, the Miami Heat made the Pistons WORK for that title.
And the truth of the matter is, the Pistons still won.
At some point I began to question how 'fair' the matchup was. Of course the Miami Heat were going to work hard for that ticket to the Finals! And of course, the Heat are a great team -- they sure earned my respect. They certainly didn't make it to the E. Conference Finals by just sitting around lookin' pretty. But then I thought about how 'fair' it is to have Shaquille O'Neal on their team! He doesn't even have to friggin jump to make a basket, all he has to do is reach up over his head and drop it in. How fair is that??????? And one thing I keep hearing people say is how hard it is to officiate him. One of the announcers said in Game 6, "It's brutal the punishment [Ben Wallace] has to take from [Shaquille O'Neal]." That's *not* an exact quote, I wrote it down but I don't have the sheet with me. He's just so big -- and can I just say I've never SEEN a man sweat as much as Shaquille O'Neal. Man that guy can produce sweat!
Either way, the Pistons won, but I have to say honestly, as a relatively new fan of the Pistons (2002-2003 season to be exact, BEFORE they won the Championship, just for the record, and BEFORE Larry Brown became their coach), I really wonder if the Pistons still would have won if the Heat had been healthier. With Shaq AND Dwayne Wade both on the court together -- not to mention Alonzo Mourning, Eddie Jones and Udonis Haslem -- they were pretty intimidating.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go have a coronary now...