Small ball is dead.
Piston coach Michael Curry didn’t announce the end of the lineup, but the hope that it could succeed is gone among alomst everybody else. The Thunder took advantage of every deficiency small ball has.
They outrebounded Detroit 52-35.
Six-foot-nine small forward Kevin Durant scored 32 points over smaller guards Richard Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey.
Power forward Jeff Green grabbed 14 rebounds over Tayshaun Prince, a small forward pushed to power forward.
Oklahoma City scored 42 points in the paint.
Oh, and the Thunder are the NBA’s last-place team. And this was Detroit’s fourth straight loss, worst streak in four years. Not exactly encouraging.
After the game, Curry said he will continue to evaluate the Pistons’s starting lineup, as he has all season. With games in back-to-back days, I doubt Curry ditches small ball right away.
More likely, he starts Stuckey, Allen Iverson, Hamilton, Prince and Rasheed Wallace against New Orleans. If Detroit somehow wins, Curry will stick with small ball for at least another game. A loss to the Hornets, factoring in an off day Sunday, could mean small ball is as dead to Curry as it is to the rest of us.
- Hamilton shot a little better (9-for-19) than he had since returning from injury, but he had four turnovers. He still hasn’t looked sharp since coming back.
- Stuckey had a rough game, going 1-for-10 for three points. He didn’t make an impact in any way.
- Iverson played more aggressively that he has recently. He attacked spots on the court and shot quickly once he got to them, instead of dribbling around aimlessly and jacking up shots.
- Tough to win with small ball when two of the three guards are off.
- Prince made 9-of-14 shots for 18 points. He continues to work for good looks and not settle for contested jumpers.
- The Thunder play with a lot of energy and are oozing with young talent. They’re fun to watch, and they’ll be very good soon.