The Pistons blew out the Brooklyn Nets. For three quarters, anyway, and then did everything in their power to lose the game in the fourth. I had a "Pistons blowout Nets" recap written by the end of the third, which disappeared as quickly as the Pistons' lead in the fourth.
In large part due to a dominant second quarter, where Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons to a thirty-eight point explosion, the Pistons took an eighty-six to sixty-eight lead into the fourth.
As has been the case all too often in the past several seasons, though, the Pistons' signature fourth quarter collapse happened. Paul Pierce and Mirza Teletovic (who?) went off in the final frame, and the Pistons struggled to do anything about it. Teletovic in particular was left open time and again from distance, where he hit five of his six attempts.
Fortunately, the Pistons found the sense to give the ball to Greg Monroe late, who converted a beautiful post up play late to push the game just out of reach. A few free throws later, the game mercifully ended with the Pistons up four.
What Stood Out:
Through three quarters, just how much better the Detroit Pistons
are should be than the Brooklyn Nets. Sans Brook Lopez, the Nets simply can't handle Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Of course, very few teams can, but it was particuarly obvious. Drummroe combined for forty-four points and twenty-four rebounds. Again, the usual for these two.
The Pistons' immaturity. I say that fondly, and in the sense that this is a young, immature team that simply doesn't have it all figured it out yet. This is the NBA, where no lead is big enough. It was obvious that at the beginning of the fourth quarter, that the team had checked out, as if the game had already been won. Obviously, it had not been, and there is a good learning moment here.
The Pistons cannot keep good point guards out of the paint. In my opinion, this might be the single-biggest reason their defense is so unexpectedly poor (followed closely by botched perimeter rotations, especially in the pick-and-roll). Deron Williams' stat line really doesn't do justice to how how much he deformed the Pistons' defense, and in so doing, made it easy for guys like Teletovic to do their damage.
Who Stood Out:
Drummoe. Did I mention those forty-four points and twenty-four rebounds? And did I mention that this is the rule, not the exception?
Rodney Stuckey was brilliant in the first half, not so great in the second half, and very good overall. He had seventeen points on thirteen shots, but again, he didn't get all that many minutes. I'm not sure what the strategy is here, and I'm not normally an advocate for tinkering with what's working, and I'm glad that KCP is getting burn... But, Stuckey has been the best Piston guard all season, and he deserves more than twenty-nine minutes.
Chauncey Billups' stat line won't blow you away - zero points, five assists, one turnover in just under thirteen minutes - but his stats don't speak to how valuable he was off the bench. Post-injury Chauncey seems content with his off-the-bench role. He's not forcing. He's not looking to score unless it's a great look. And he's doing a wonderful job of orchestrating the offense, getting players into positions where they can be effective, and then delivering the ball in the right place, at the right time. As with Stuckey, I'd advocate for more minutes, especially late in a game like this where the team obviously needed a calming presence.
- Box score (via ESPN, because NBA.com doesn't seem to be functioning correctly for me at the moment).
- Andre Blatche had a double-double of his own, putting up twenty and twelve.
- I can't recall an NBA player going from pretty good to close to worthless as quickly as Kevin Garnett has this season. And it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, for shame.
- The Nets shot made twelve of their twenty-three three-point attempts. That Pistons' perimeter defense, y'all.
- Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings combined for twenty-seven shot attempts. They made six of them. At what point is it a trend? And how long does Maurice Cheeks keep letting this happen? There's no question that if the Pistons hadn't managed to hold on, the blame would rest squarely on the shoulders of Smith, Cheeks and Jennings. Seriously, Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon were better Pistons at this point in their contracts than Jennings and Smith have been. Fortunately, the Pistons held on, amirite?
- Kyle Singler continues to thrive off the bench. Sixteen points, eight shots, two boards, and a block. He should be the Pistons' starting small forward.
- Josh Harrellson played eleven minutes, and he scored two points, snagged two boards, and had an assist. But I honestly can't remember him being in the game.
- Andre Drummond was six for eight from the free throw line!!!!!
And because a recap isn't a recap without Andre Drummond doing something absurd:
Josh Smith dribbles into a double team, Brandon Jennings tries to beat the clock with... I guess you'd call that a jumpshot, and somehow, the Pistons still get two points. Where amazing happens.
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