Maybe Pop and LB stop playing out this tired mutual-respect-and-undying-admiration bit and throw down over a charge-block call in the heat of a third-quarter run.

And maybe we get to see the return of Manu's leg at full strength, too. He's not saying so, but the leg has got to be bothering him (remember the doc used the word "contusion" instead of "bruise" – a three-alarm word, a "Miss Clavell turned on her light and said, 'Something is not right!'" word). He's not going to the hole with the same quick confidence, he's not cornering around picks, and he's not swerving in and through double-teams the way he did in the first two games. (Is it a swerve he does, or is it a stumble? Can we call it a swervle? A swumble?) We can talk all we want about how the Pistons picked up the intensity in the third and fourth games – and they did. But Manu at 80 percent, or whatever he is, is a big part of what's made it hard for San Antonio to match them thus far.

Chauncey Billups
Two more chances to see Chauncey Billups? Yeah, we want that, too.

So I want seven.

I want more Hubie at the mic, appreciating the little things like the fan he is, saying, "Tough catch, great spin move, and nice release by Duncan," where someone else might just have settled for "Duncan scores."

I want more hoops and less labor negotiation.

I want more conspiracy talk, from Larry, from SG, from Jeff Van Gundy. I want the subject on the table. I want a Game 6 halftime special that goes over the Lakers-Kings 2002 game film frame-by-frame. I want David Stern issuing a half-hearted pre-game vote of confidence for Dick Bavetta.

I want more unpredictability. The Spurs almost never lose on their home floor, and they've beaten the Pistons there something like 413 times in a row. After two games, we were all sure it would be San Antonio in a walk, and after two more, most of us were certain Detroit had taken control, and after Sunday night you can't find anyone who thinks the Pistons have a legit shot to win it. Getting to Game 7 would tweak this series and the conventional wisdom about it one more time, and wouldn't that be enough, in itself, to root for?

And lastly, and maybe most importantly, I want seven because I have a dream, and it goes like this: Seventh game, seven overtimes, 132 personal fouls, and just two men left standing. That's right: Darko and Rasho for all the marbles.

You with me?

I thought you would be.

It'll be great. You, me and Chris Washbogut, all camped in front of the TV for two more games.

Eric Neel is a Page 2 columnist



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