Zero Signs of Tanking: Pistons 106, Heat 99

The Pistons have completely transformed over the past five days.


As songs by hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg jammed on the portable compact disc player in the Detroit Pistons' postgame locker room, center Ben Wallace bobbed his head to the beat.

On the other side of AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was complaining about his team's lack of focus. If you didn't know any better you'd have thought the Heat was the team emerging from an 11-game losing streak and Detroit was the team riding a nine-game win streak.

Yes, there was a strange bit of role reversal in Detroit's 106-99 victory at Miami on Friday, a loss that ended the NBA's longest active win streak at nine games.

That's now two games in a row the Pistons have won against teams that wanted (or should have wanted) to win more than they did. The Heat are currently stuck in the six spot in the Eastern Conference, well within striking distance of the five seed. The five seed would match them up with the decrepit Celtics, a much more preferable opponent than the Atlanta Hawks. Of course, a loss to the Pistons doesn't make or break their odds of facing the Celtics, as they are just one game out of the five seed and the Celtics are just a game out of third place, but a win would have helped their chances currently.

Meanwhile, the Pistons are making a statement that winning, and going into the off-season with confidence, is much more important than gaining lottery combinations. Over the past three games, they have lost roughly 83 combos and have fallen from a 1-6 pick to a 6-10, according to the odds.

I know before the jump wasn't much of a "game recap," but do the games really matter all that much to you anymore? Presumably, you wanted to know whether or not the Pistons won and what their odds are in the lottery. That's what you got before the jump.

Here are some other notes.

  • Ben Gordon has been way better as a starter for the Pistons. Tonight he started in place of the injured Rodney Stuckey and scored 39 points on 12-21 shooting (7-11 downtown). As a starter this season, he is averaging roughly 21 ppg and 45 FG% (39% downtown) in 36+ minutes. He's averaging just 11 ppg on 40% shooting (29% downtown) in 24+ minutes coming off the bench. Either he needs more minutes/shots, or he needs to become a starter. That's been my biggest beef all season, but what say you?
  • The rookies played a total of 44+ minutes and had 6 points (3-6) and nine rebounds. Summers and Jerebko each had a three-pointer, while Daye was 0-1.
  • If Joe Dumars can't trade Tayhsuan Prince this off-season it will be for a lack of trying. He's been great lately and his expiring contract will only make him that much more enticing. In the month of April, he's averaging 19 ppg and 6.5 rpg. Tonight he had 28 points and seven rebounds.
  • Chucky Atkins saw 18+ minutes. He had a steal and was plus-2.
  • I'm still not quite sure how the Pistons won this game. Box score.
  • Highlights:

  • Discuss.
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