Did you know that the Pistons played an exhibition game on Sunday? To be perfectly honest, I forgot about it until long after the fact -- even after I reminded all of you about the tipoff change to accomodate those wishing to watch the Tigers. Turns out I wasn't the only one -- only 8,000 people were at the Palace, less than 40% capacity. In front of 14,000 empty seats, the Pistons lost to the Nuggets 124-105.
Even if I didn't actually watch the game, I did look at the box score, for whatever that's worth. First, the ugly:
- Rasheed Wallace played only eight minutes after taking a Carmelo Anthony kick to the groin in the first quarter. Apparently the poor guy didn't even leave the locker room at halftime -- I'm guessing an ice-pack belt had something to do with that.
- Chauncey Billups came up empty -- just one point on 0-5 shooting in 21 minutes. He did have five assists and a steal, though.
- You know how everyone says Flip Murray is a streaky shooter? Sunday's game is what they're talking about. He finished 3-13 from the field, scoring nine points in 29 minutes.
- Carlos Delfino is still looking for his shot, too. He finished with just three points on 1-7 shooting... including 1-5 from the three-point land. I suppose it's actually good that most of his missed shots were from long distance -- it gives hope that perhaps his mid-range jumper is still viable.
- All in all, 17 turnovers. You're not going to win very many games -- exhibition or not -- when you turn the ball over 17 times. There's no pointing the finger at one or two players, either -- no individual player had more than three, but everyone who played aside from Sheed and Amir Johnson had at least one.
Ugh. Whatever. It's the preseason. Sunday's game wasn't all without positive developments, though. Such as...
- Nazr Mohammed put up 16 points and grabbed 12 boards in just 25 minutes... despite the fact he's still fasting while observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Fortunately, he has just two more days of fasting left, which should put him at full strength come the first game of the regular season.
- Jason Maxiell, playing a team-high 30 minutes in part because of Sheed's groin,... talk about an awkward sentence to write... took advantage with 21 points and eight boards, not to mention three assists and two steals. He went 7-12 from the field and 7-10 from the line. Like I said, I didn't see this game, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce that his aggressiveness around the rim is paying off.
- Amir Johnson, whom I just discussed, needed just 13 minutes to score 15 points. He shot 5-7 from the field and 5-6 from the line, grabbing four boards and blocking one shot along the way. I sure hope the Pistons find a way to keep him active in a few more games this year because I'd love to throw him out there at the end of a blowout game. Sadly, though, the next time he plays 15 minutes in a game after Wednesday's exhibition finale, it'll likely be for the NBDL's Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Nuggets 124, Pistons 105 [ESPN]