If you want to see what a jet-lagged, inferior team looks like, watch the Pistons in a replay of this game. Or maybe it's just what a team looks like against the defending champs when Kobe Bryant is on the other side shooting 17-29 and scoring 40 points for the 100th time in his career.
Either way you look at it, the Pistons got worked, 106-93. They were outscored 65-41 in the middle two quarters, as the Lakers shot nearly 60% from the field. Detroit turned it over 15 times although it seemed like a lot more than that and the Lakers cleaned up on the glass, outrebounding Detroit 44-32, which also seems lower than it felt.
If it weren't for the Lakers putting it in neutral after three quarters and the inspired play of Will Bynum, this game would have ended similar to the way it ended in the third -- with the Pistons down more than some can count. Instead, Will "The Thrill" led the Pistons charge on the obligatory "blow out comeback" and put the Pistons within seven (!!!) with about two minutes remaining, but it was too little too late.
The Lakers turned it on one last time to push the lead back to ten and then Kobe Bryant sank a three pointer from a few feet behind the three point line to put the Lakers up 13 for good and give himself a quaint 40 for the night.
You already know what Kobe did, he was the game high. Will Bynum led the Pistons with 24 points on a remarkable 9-12 shooting night, six assists, four rebounds, two steals, and one block. Not to take anything away from him because I think he played amazing, but he also had four pretty terrible turnovers.
As for the rest of the Pistons? Jason Maxiell and Kwame Brown, I thought, played very well. They combined for 22 points and 12 rebounds in about 48 minutes. Ben Gordon responded nicely to his 1-16 night with a 7-15 showing and 18 points.
Charlie Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey shot a combined 4-18 for 13 points. Charlie had just two points and two rebounds. Unacceptable.
And for the first time this season, it was obvious that Ben Wallace is not actually the Ben Wallace of young. There were several rebounds I thought he should have had, but his body just wouldn't let him get to them the same way it used to. I'm not complaining with the Ben Wallace we have because he's exceeded my expectations to a ridiculous degree, but I thought his age clearly showed tonight.
More thoughts/notes/videos after the jump, okay?
- Just to clarify, I'm proud of the Pistons for making that fourth quarter comeback. It didn't surprise me because it's not often you see a team completely fold when the other team has fallen back into a "prevent D" mode (to go with a football analogy), but this Pistons team especially, is full of fight.
- I'm sure you'll be seeing a whole lot of this block:
- Oh, and then there's this [via Jeskeets]:
- Jonas Jerebko never stops running around. In fact, his hustle hurt the Pistons at one point because he was running full speed in for an offensive rebound, jumped, and accidentally tipped a ball on the cylinder into the hoop. That's goal tending, but the effort was duly noted.
- DaJuan Summers played the entire fourth quarter and actually played pretty well on defense. His offense was quite the opposite. I think he just needs more time/experience.
- Kobe Bryant wasn't very open to the media about how badly his groin was hurt, but the Lakers announcers made it the story of the game. I don't think a possession went by in the first half where it wasn't mentioned. Of course, Kobe's 1-6 start was definitely due to his groin. Then it must have loosened up.
- Great suggestion by reader Madpooz -- I need to have a link to a box score for you guys so you can have it handy. Here is the NBA.com box score, which I also linked to above.
- Speaking of box score observations, what do you make of Stuckey's negative-30 +/--? I think it's pretty clear that's indicative of how poorly he played tonight (11 points on 3-12 shooting with one assists and three turnovers).
- Pistons hop on a flight and head to Portland for a 10 PM EST match up with the 8-4 Blazers. They are coming off a tough loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night, so they'll be fired up to get back on track on their home floor. Hopefully, the Pistons are ready to win their first back end of a back-to-back.