Well, that happened.
Pistons hung in there for 24 minutes, trailing by six at the half, but fell flat on their faces in the second half. Dallas outscored Detroit by nineteen in the final 24 minutes, paced by their absurd 36-point third quarter, to finish the game out with a cakewalk 25 point win.
Where did this game go wrong?
I could take personal blame. I stopped watching live at halftime because I decided to watch a couple of the great Thursday night shows and the final innings of the playoff baseball game (I would never do this during the regular season). I still wound up watching the second half when NBA TV replayed the game at midnight.
Of course, I don't think it had anything to do with me. Honestly, the momentum of this game shifted for good near the end of the first half. With under two minutes to play, Rodney Stuckey committed a bad turnover with the game tied at 48, which led directly to an easy dunk from Dampier. Then on the very next possession Stuckey took an awkward three pointer because he was too open. Jason Terry then ended the half with two three pointers (with a Gordon bucket mixed in there), one of them coming near the buzzer. From those final possessions, Dallas gained a lot of momentum going into the locker room and it definitely carried over into their big third quarter.
Like any preseason game, I wouldn't get too worked up about this one. Remember that Detroit was without Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace, and Charlie Villanueva again. John Kuester also decided to mail it in fairly early, as Jonas Jerebko, DaJuan Summers, Deron Washington, and Chucky Atkins all played the entire fourth quarter with the exception of Jerebko who was replaced by Maceo Baston for the final few minutes. With that being said, Dallas was also without two big guns, Shawn Marion and Josh Howard.
I don't want to belabor this defeat any more than I have to.
Some more thoughts/notes:
- Rodney Stuckey was the worst the other day, according to BrGulker, but looked vastly better on Thursday. He shot just 8-18, but he looked dominant in the first half when he scored 17 of his 20 points. The play of the night was actually after the whistle when he was called for traveling. He crossed over traveled past his defender and slammed one home in the face of Chris Humphries. It was a thing of beauty.
- Some people experience mid-life crises, but Richard Hamilton might be dealing with an end of Pistons-life crisis (I don't think there's anyone who believes he's not near the end of his stint with Detroit). He showed up to media day with a Mohawk and tonight he buzzed his head, but left a ridiculous looking patch in the back. I wish I could say he was being silly and filling in the spot where former Piston Rasheed Wallace didn't have hair or he just couldn't reach that spot when he shaved his own dome.
- For all the comparisons people make between Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye, their shot is like night and Daye. Tayshaun didn't play tonight, but we all know how ugly that lefty "cock, aim, pause, and shoot" trigger is. Tonight was the first I've really seen of Austin Daye and it was a treat. That kid has one sweet stroke.
- You're not going to win many games when you let the opponent shoot 56% from the field (55% from three-point land). And some of that has to do with Dallas being simply en fuego, but ultimately, Detroit has to find a way to contest shots better.
- That's the second loss in a row for the Pistons against a team with a coach who has been fired by Detroit. Flip Saunders on Tuesday and Rick Carlisle tonight.
- Really liked what I saw out of Wilcox and Kwame tonight. I'm actually pretty excited about what these guys, and Ben Wallace, can do with real minutes.
- Detroit, now 3-2 in the preseason, returns to action on Saturday in Memphis. Game time is 8:00 PM EST and sadly, not televised.
- Charlie Villanueva should be ready to play on Saturday.
- Video highlights after the jump.