If this preseason game is any indication of what we can expect this year, it's going to be a very exciting regular season of Detroit Pistons basketball.
As advertised, Kuester mixed and matched his lineups all night and there really wasn't a lineup that didn't give me the feeling, "this could work," (okay, except maybe that last lineup that allowed Miami back into the game late). If there's one thing I was reassured of though tonight, it's that the Pistons are very deep (and that perception might have been helped by the thin Heat).
The biggest question coming into tonight's game surrounded Detroit's big men. Kuester started both Kwame Brown and Ben Wallace, and had Wilcox play significant minutes before picking up his fifth foul. Combined, the three shot 11-12 from the field, scored 23 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and were plus-31 when on the floor.
Ben Wallace did not disappoint in his first exhibition game back with the Pistons. He started the game with an emphatic tip dunk and played with a lot of fire in a little under twelve minutes. Kuester had him start each half and play about six minutes before pulling him for Wilcox.
Wilcox had several impressive cuts through the lane that set up easy baskets. Kwame Brown was plus-18 and looked strong.
Will Bynum led all Pistons scorers with 15 points, but he also led the team with a minus-13 point differential (although he was on the floor late when the Heat made their comeback).
All in all, it was a pretty impressive showing from the new look Pistons.
Some other notes/thoughts:
- The defense played pretty well, holding the heat to 83 points on 37% shooting. The Pistons out-rebounded the Heat 40-32 and blocked six shots.
- Ben Gordon did not have a great showing in his first game with the Pistons (2-9 shooting, 6 turnovers). He played a team high 30 minutes and was the second leading scorer for the Pistons with 11 points.
- Stuckey, Gordon, Prince, and Hamilton shot a combined 7-28. If the Pistons can play as well as they did with those four guys not shooting very well, then this team is going to put up big numbers when these guys are on. Of course, we knew that already, right?
- Detroit shot just 66% from the charity stripe. Four of those misses came from Maceo Baston, who didn't do anything to help his cause in making this team.
- Remember, Charlie Villanueva didn't play tonight.
- Replacement refs had no problem blowing the whistle. 59 fouls called, a double ejection, a fairly weak technical, and they took two points off the scoreboard. Not a bad night's work.
Jonas Jerebko was ejected half way through the 4th quarter for allegedly punching Jaamal Magloire. I haven't seen it yet, but apparently they got tangled up down low and they exchanged fisticuffs. Jerebko walked away from his first NBA game with two points, an ejection, and a bloody nose.
DaJuan Summers had two points and four rebounds in a little over 15 minutes of action. He was minus-12 when on the floor, but grabbed the final rebound to seal the victory.
- Austin Daye looked really impressive despite limited action and not seeing many looks. He knocked down a pretty three pointer, grabbed five boards, made a really nice pass to a cutting Wilcox, and is already living up to the Tayshaun Prince comparisons with the following block on All-Star Dwyane Wade:
Pistons return to action on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Palace (7:30 PM EST).