Detroit Pistons Coach Chuck Daly is getting emotional over his team's lack of emotion.
"It's very hard to understand how we've come all this way and then lose our emotion for winning," said Daly prior to Game 3 of the NBA Finals between his Pistons and the Portland Trail Blazers. "They may disagree with me, but that's what I see. Maybe it's too many games in too many years. It might be fatigue or whatever, but I just don't see the emotion in wanting to win at this point."---
Pistons center Bill Laimbeer doesn't see the situation in the same light as his coach.
Laimber on Detroit's mission in Portland: "Put on a raincoat and go in there and win a few games."
Former University of Utah star Jeff Judkins, now an assistant coach with the Utes, is one of 10 players who have played with both the Detroit Pistons and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Judkins played for Detroit in 1981-82 and then was traded to Portland for a third round draft choice. He played for the Trail Blazers in 1982-83.
So who does Judkins think will win in this showdown of his alma maters? "When the series started I thought Detroit would win it," he says. "But now, I think Portland. They played two close games in Detroit and now they're home, and it's hard for the visitor to win in Portland. The fans are so close to the floor, and they eat and sleep basketball."
Judkins has closer associations to the Pistons than the Blazers. He played with three members of the current Pistons - Bill Laimbeer, Vinnie Johnson and Isiah Thomas - and with only one of the current Blazers - Wayne Cooper.
Here's a good omen for Portland fans: The last time the Trail Blazers won the NBA title, in 1977, they finished second in the regular season Pacific Division race - behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
This year they also finished second in the Pacific Division - behind the Lakers.
If Portland does win the championship it would mark only the 13th time in Finals history for the team without the homecourt advantage to emerge victorious.
In 43 previous Finals, 31 teams with homecourt advantages have won, compared to 12 that have won without the homecourt edge. That's a .721 percentage.
The NBA Finals are being televised in more than 75 countries around the world, ranging from Angola to Zimbabwe.
Among the more exotic and far-flung locations are Cameroon, China, Gibraltar, the Ivory Coast, Qatar, the Seychelles, the Soviet Union, Thailand and Zambia.
The outlook for Dennis Rodman's sore ankle isn't healthy. "It won't heal until he rests," said Pistons team physician Ben Paolucci of the Detroit forward's sprained left ankle that has increasingly hampered his play the past four games.
"He keeps aggravating it," said Paolucci. "It would be a lot better for the ankle if he didn't play on it."
"I keep trying to kid myself that everything's going to be OK, that I can do this or that," said Rodman. "But all I'm doing is taking up space. I feel like I'm letting the team down."