Yes, the Pistons were playing the bad half of a back-to-back series, and yes, it was their third road game in four days. But no, that had nothing to do with why the Pistons lost to the Jazz last night. Absolutely nothing.
So what happened? After building up a solid lead at halftime, the Pistons just came out flat for the rest of the game.
"I think it started with me," said Prince, who finished with 10 points and three turnovers. "I missed a couple of free throws (in the third quarter) and then everybody else started missing. I think I started the trend.
"Then, once they got involved, they started getting the calls and we started getting into it with the refs and then it was pretty much over."
The Pistons, who have played 12 of their 18 games on the road, refused to use the schedule as an excuse.
"They just wanted it more than us," said a frustrated Ben Wallace, who finished with just six rebounds.
Said Prince: "(The schedule) didn't have nothing to do with it. We had a solid first half.
"We were up 13 and I told the guys we should have been up a lot more. We let them hang around and you know how they play and how their crowd gets into it."
Prince also blamed himself for the Pistons' rebounding woes.
"Coach told us they were the best offensive rebounding team in the league," he said. "I guess we didn't listen. We rely on Ben and Rasheed to get most of the rebounds. That's my fault, for one, and Chauncey and Rip know they have to do a better job of helping out."
It's awfully big of Prince to come out and take the blame, but not completely accurate. Ben Wallace was right on: the Jazz really did want this game more. They played with more energy and kept their focus on the game and not the refs.
All griping about "we-shoulda-won!" aside, the Jazz are a very dangerous team. I don't care that they're 9-12, any team coached by Jerry Sloan will play with energy and a lot of discipline. Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur are extremely tough to matchup against. Granted, the Pistons can matchup with anyone, but Detroit wasn't on their game, and if you give these guys an inch they'll take a mile.
All things considered, Detroit has played the fewest home games (6) in the NBA yet still has the best overall record (15-3). Had we known this at the start of the season, no one would have complained. This is the NBA, and over 82 games, every team is going to lose games it should have won and every team is going to lose games it was never in -- there's absolutely no way around that fact. And if the Pistons keep up their recent history and lose one game for every six they win, they'll be in pretty good shape.
Pistons' streak ends at 6 wins [Detroit News]