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Pistons close out preseason as winners, 90-89

The Pistons closed out the meaningless preseason with a meaningless 90-89 win over the meaningless Cavs. So long meaningless basketball. Did I mention that the preseason doesn't mean anything?

Let's get into it anyway.

Detroit got out to a quick start with Brandon Knight (1), Austin Daye (2), Tayshaun Prince (3), Jonas Jerebko (4), and Greg Monroe (5) starting. They were 6-for-10 shooting and had a 18-8 lead in the first 5:25. Daye had 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting, Jerebko had six points, Monroe had four rebounds, and Knight had two assists (and no turnovers). That's probably the best five-plus minutes you'll see from the Pistons this season.

It was downhill from there until the fourth quarter, though. Knight, Monroe, Will Bynum, and Stuckey all turned the ball over in the final six minutes of the first. The team finished with 30 points, but it took a very sloppy Joe D final 12 points to get there.

The Pistons then managed only 32 points in the second and third quarters on 9-for-31 shooting. The Cavs, who were once down by 10, all of a sudden led 58-46 with a little under eight minutes left in the third.

But the fourth quarter Pistons made a comeback. After two Bynum turnovers started the quarter in similar fashion to the third quarter, Knight went on a little 7-0 run on his own to cut the score to one with nine minutes left in the game. The Pistons kept it close enough the rest of the way for them to have a shot at winning it in the final minute.

In that final minute, Monroe hit a pair of free throws and Bynum had a nice put back layup after a Monroe miss with eight seconds left to keep it a one-point deficit. On the ensuing inbounds play after a timeout, Knight made a nice play to force a turnover, allowing for Damien Wilkins to come up with a steal and get it to Bynum, who ultimately set up Daye to draw a foul and get to the line for two freebies that gave the Pistons a one-point lead with three seconds left.

A wide open Luke Harangody miss later and the Pistons had their first and last win of the preseason.

Now, it's time to get real.

  • The main source of discussion is rookie guard Brandon Knight. Two games vs. the Cavs in the preseason after a lockout is probably the lousiest barometer ever, but I think Kriz put it best in the game thread (I can't link to it because the game thread is broken for some reason) -- there's been more to like than dislike.
  • Knight averaged 25 minutes, 8 points (on 5-for-18 shooting), 5.5 assists (5 turnovers), 3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in the two games. That's not going to please too many, but he passed the eye test in my opinion. The offense flowed best when he was handling the rock (it showed in his team-leading +13) and it was a breath of fresh air to see a real live pass-first guard running things. Of course, there are going to be hiccups along the way, as should be expected. For instance, in the first three minutes of the third quarter on Tuesday night, Knight turned it over FOUR times! (But that's an anomaly -- even for nervous-excited, 20-year-old rookies. Frank credited his 'instant amnesia.')
  • No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving averaged 26 minutes, 16 points (on 9-for-26 shooting), 3 assists (2.5 turnovers), 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in the two games.
  • Another strong game from Monroe: 12 points (on 3-for-6 shooting; 6-for-6 from the line), 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 turnover.
  • Jerebko had 11 points and 7 rebounds, but he was just 4-for-12 shooting and he fouled out again. He played 42 minutes and had 12 fouls in the two games.
  • BEN WALLACE: 10 minutes, 2 points, 2 blocked shots, and 4 rebounds. He's still got it -- gray hairs, probation and all.
  • Stuckey made his preseason debut and continued to show off his ability to get to the line (10-for-10), but he was 2-for-8 shooting.
  • Second straight strong preseason from Austin Daye. We'll believe it when we see it in the regular season, but the potential is there. I did enjoy his SEVEN blocks in two games, though.
  • 21 turnovers in one game is too many.
  • Personal DNPs for Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. I didn't even notice until Blaha said something a few minutes into the game ... I didn't miss them, but KooLainglois points out that the 2nd unit could've used their "scoring."
  • I know this was a lot for just a meaningless preseason game, but I need to tune up for the regular season, too. I don't think the Pistons are going to win many games, but I'm pretty excited for the season -- more excited than I've been in years. A lot of that has to do with the crew here at DBB, but this team should be more enjoyable to follow than the last couple years. First game is Monday, Dec. 26 at Indiana. Happy, safest Holidays, everyone. (If you're a Lions fan and you'll be at Saturday's playoff clinching game, hit me up in email - You, me, tailgate, beers, buzzed, wings, shots, drunk, waitresses hot, football Lions/Chargers, slaughter.