Since when are these positives signs for the Pistons?
- An actual effort to fight back after falling behind.
- A starter on the bench in crunch time enthusiastically cheering on his teammates.
- A competent offense.
How expectations have fallen.
Detroit is 5-8 in January, and with today’s loss, the Pistons have guaranteed their first losing month since Feb. 2004.
But these aren’t the Pistons of 2004 or 2005. So in the context of the season, I’m actually optimistic about Detroit’s performance today.
The Pistons fell behind 10-2, 42-27 and 96-81. But they fought back each time to make the game competitive, unlike Friday against Dallas.
It was also a pleasant surprise to see Allen Iverson, who was on the bench for the final 11 minutes of the game, look so upbeat as his teammates attempted to comeback. With all the questions surrounding the Pistons’ two star shooting guards, it has to be a positive that Iverson can handle not getting minutes down the stretch so well.
Detroit scored its most points in regulation since a 114-110 over Indiana on Dec. 12. Richard Hamilton went off for 27, and Rasheed Wallace finally came to life with 22.
And the Pistons’ 31 assists are a season high. Rodney Stuckey and Iverson each had eight, and Hamilton distributed the ball well off the bench. He had five assists, as did Tayshaun Prince.
Still, it’s a bit strange to think Detroit performed pretty well in a loss that it played horrific defense in.
- The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak over the Rockets at home.
- Houston’s 37 first-quarter points were the most the Pistons have allowed in a quarter this season. Detroit coach Michael Curry had to call two timeouts in the game’s first six minutes to slow the Rockets.
- Houston forward Luis Scola made all five of his shots in that frame, and he finished 9-for-11 for 21 points. The Pistons interior defense has really fallen apart.
- Curry started Kwame Brown, even though Yao Ming was out with an injury. Brown was a complete non-factor, picking up a rebound and no other stats in his five minutes of play as Houston jumped out to a big lead. Curry completely failed by not adjusting his starting lineup once it was clear Yao was out.
- Stuckey was limited with foul trouble, but he shot an economical 7-of-12. His foul trouble changed the rotation a bit, and Iverson and Hamilton shared the backcourt at times. When playing together, they did a nice job of forcing the tempo and finding shots before the Rockets set their defense. Will Bynum didn’t play for the first time since Hamilton went to the bench.
- The Pistons continue to struggle at the line, making just 11-of-20 free throws . Iverson at 6-of-10 was the main culprit.
- Part of Houston’s undoing in the fourth quarter was Rafer Alston’s to decision to take the game into his own hands. In the fourth quarter, he took more shots than the rest of the game combined and had just one assists (nine entering with no turnovers).