Game Preview: Detroit at Miami


Date: Feb. 24, 2009

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Detroit record: 27-27

Miami record: 29-26

Detroit probable starters:

PG SG SF PF C

Rodney
Stuckey
Allen
Iverson
Tayshaun
Prince
Antonio
McDyess
Rasheed
Wallace

Miami probable starters:

PG SG SF PF C

Mario
Chalmers
Dwyane
Wade
Yakhouba
Diawara
Udonis
Haslem
Jermaine
O’Neal

Spread: Detroit +4.5

Outlook: So, I guess we can ditch the farce that the Pistons are more focused on the road.

But Detroit has much deeper problems than winning away from the Palace of Auburn Hills. Via A. Sherrod Blakely of Booth Newspapers:

“We don’t have that one guy that steps in, get on a person for doing something wrong,” (Antonio) McDyess said. “We have certain nights where one person would say something, and another would, but we need that one person who will be there, and we know that they got our back and that they’ll get on us when we do wrong and direct us when we’re going wrong. We don’t have that.”

This is where Chauncey Billups and Ben Wallace are missing more than anywhere else.

This team seems to be divided into three groups.

1. The guys who won the championship in 2004 (Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace) and Antonio McDyess.

2. Allen Iverson.

3. Rodney Stuckey and Amir Johnson.

I think group one resents the other two groups in some ways.

Iverson further eroded their defense. And he destroyed their unselfish offense.

Stuckey pushed Billups out the door, and Johnson (more indirectly than Stuckey with Billups) led to Wallace’s departure. I’m sure group one doesn’t want to dislike those two. But when they see Stuckey and Johnson getting minutes they might not have earned yet, there has to be some hard feelings deep down.

Billups and Ben Wallace were the Pistons’ leaders. They made it so Rasheed Wallace was welcomed with open arms in 2004. They kept the team focused. They set a tone.

Flip Saunders wisely let the players police themselves. But with Billups and Wallace no longer around, and Michael Curry unable to earn the respect of this team, the leadership void McDyess sees is derailing this team.

The Pistons need a new sheriff in town. But they probably won’t have on until next season at the earliest.