No doubt about it, the Pistons were tired on Friday -- Ben Wallace had just five boards, for crying out loud! I said the Pistons would need a strong game from their bench to have a chance at going 3-0 on their West Coast swing. What did the bench do? Score just 10 points. The Pistons managed just 84 points on the night, and they were outworked on the boards 43-30.
Entering halftime with a seven-point deficit, they definitely looked like a team about to lose it's first game of the year, a team showing some fatigue after a dramatic come from behind win the night before. But instead, the Pistons hung around all night before surging at the end. Perhaps Portland could have won if they were a little more disciplined, but they showed their youth with some dumb fouls and a lot of turnovers. Perhaps Portland could have worn Detroit down had they showed a little more balance, but for too long it was just the Zach Randolph/Darius Miles show, though Juan Dixon looked great (19 points) in his 18 minutes of action.
Aside from the late drama, this was a pretty ugly game, as most 84-81 games are. But that's to be expected in the last game of a road trip, and in the second game in two nights.
And while 84-81 may be ugly, 6-0 is the prettiest record in the league.
Aside from that, it was good to see Carlos Delfino continue to play minutes when it counts, as well as Dale Davis make his season debut. Neither of them actually, you know, did anything while in the game, but they ate some minutes to give the starters some rest.
On a sidenote, I'm pretty freaking happy the Pistons don't have a franchise player as surly (or chubby) as Zach Randolph. The guy has some serious game, but I just don't think I could cheer for him 82 games a year. Maybe the rest of the league has moved on, but as a guy that only watches Portland 2-3 times a year, Randolph's name is still synomous with "sucker punch" to me.
Detroit 84, Portland 81 box score [USATODAY.com]