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Pistons drop the clutch in New Jersey

Now, I freely admit that I was able to watch all of (the last) five minutes of this game, but after one quick glance at the box score I can't help but think I know what went wrong: Rasheed Wallace went 1-of-11 from beyond the three-point line. 1-of-11! And he only attempted 14 total shots! The shot chart is just depressing, especially considering he didn't attempt a single, boring, old two-pointer after halftime.

Let me be clear, I absolutely love Rasheed's inside-outside game -- it makes him one of the most indefensible big men in the game. But it's simply inexcusable to completely forget to, you know, play the post. When he did play down low, he made two of three shots.

Another problem with not playing down low is that it's difficult to get to the free-throw line shooting long-distance jump shots all day. He attempted three free throws -- converting his first attempt after being fouled on a successful driving layup and splitting two after being fouled on another two-point attempt. He's never been a guy to rack up the free throw attempts, but it's a nice little bonus that only happens when you make a defense work to defend you.

I know the Pistons have won a lot of games this year on timely Rasheed Wallace three-point shots, and the last thing I want the coaching staff to do is throttle his game, but the fact of the matter is that Wallace is flat-out dominant in the low post. He's simply more athletic than most players his size, and he's just so, well, long. Whether he opts for that sweet turnaround jumper, sidesteps his defender and drives to the hole or kicks the ball back out to an open teammate, he's a load for anyone to handle down there -- just watch how he manhandled Tim Duncan in the Christmas Day game in San Antonio for proof.

I'm definitely not pinning the loss on Rasheed -- Rip Hamilton could have helped things along had he not gone 8-24 from the floor, and Tayshaun Prince's 3-11 night certainly didn't help -- but missing 10 of 11 threes just jumps out at you on the box score. It wasn't all ugly, though; Chauncey Billups almost won this game for Detroit -- he led the team with 30 points on 9-14 shooting, including 6-6 from beyond the arc and 6-6 from the stripe. Sure, he only had six assists, but can you blame him? His teammates shot just 30.9% from the field.

Oh well, you take the good with the bad, and considering we've taken the good 37 times. . . and 11 times in a row and the bad just six, we don't have much to really complain about. Consider it a mixed blessing that no one will have too much time to dwell on it since the Pistons play again tomorrow at home against the Timberwolves.

Nets 91, Pistons 84 box score [ESPN]