Quick note: Me, Skeets and Tas, together again. I was a guest on The Basketball Jones this week, previewing the Central Division. You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or listen directly through their site -- either way, check it out. And when you're done, vote for them, because they kind of rock.
Last night's exhibition may have been meaningless in the big picture, but it didn't stop things from getting chippy on the floor. Rasheed Wallace in particular got heated, drawing five fouls in the third quarter as well as a technical. He jawed with Drew Gooden, LeBron James as well as the Cavaliers crowd. From Krista Jahnke in the Detroit Free Press:
His fourth sent Gooden to the line for two shots, and as he stood there, the players talked back and forth. The officials called technical fouls on both.
"That's how we do it," Wallace said. "Just usual. That's all. Young punks thinking they really did something. Now we're going to have to put them young-ass cats in their place. He got a little bit out of control with his mouth. Normal stuff. Normal junk-talking."
On the next play, the Pistons got the ball to Wallace, who backed in against Gooden, turned and fired a jumper that looked good. "We hadn't run that play all through training camp," Billups said.
But LeBron James knocked it out of the air. Wallace picked up foul No. 5 on the next play, and he went to the bench angry, talking to the crowd and motioning to James that he thought his block was goaltending.
"Yeah, it was," Wallace said. "And good thing for (Gooden) LeBron came over there. I told LeBron he better keep coming over there."
Things may be heated now, but they'll cool off: the Pistons play the Cavs on Nov. 28th but then won't face them again until they meet up three times in the final six weeks of the season.
You may have noticed that Flip Murray didn't play, but as Jahnke points out, Flip Saunders indicated Murray should get extended minutes tonight. Saunders tightened up the rotation a bit, giving a fewer number of players longer minutes. It won't be a surprise for him to do the same thing tonight -- it's a bit easier to grade players when you're not going 12 deep.
As a team, the Pistons shot poorly (36.9%), and only Nazr Mohammed (3-5) was better than 50% from the field. Unfortunately, Mohammed left after getting kicked in the calf; it'll be interesting to see if he's available tonight. If not, expect Cheick Samb to be throw into the fire.
The Pistons lost the game, but it's worth pointing out the starters did a pretty good job handling the Cavs. It wasn't until the young bench took over that Detroit stated to falter, and under no circumstance can I envision an overtime period in the regular season in which Saunders has a rookie backcourt, Ronald Dupree and Jarvis Hayes on the floor. In other words, treat this as the learning exercise that it was, not as a meaningful predictor of success.
Cavaliers 96, Pistons 90 (OT) box score (NBA.com)
Keith Langlois / Pistons.com: Rapid Reversal
Joanne Gerstner / Detroit News: Rookies get a lesson
A. Sherrod Blakely / MLive.com: Rookies learn lesson but lose lead
PistonsNationBlog: Preseason Game #2
Motoring: Pre-season Pistons pick up where they left off