I wouldn’t read too much into this game. Detroit played OK. Atlanta played OK. The Hawks were slightly better.
That’s the nature of the NBA and its 82-game seasons. Not every game is going to have a grand meaning.
No Piston had a great game, and none had a bad game.
What’s important is not keeping this up. To get the fourth seed, Detroit can’t settle for the status quo. Atlanta is on pace to nab the fourth seed with 46 wins.
To get 46 wins, the Pistons will have to finish the season 15-6. Their best 21-game stretch of the season is 13-8.
So getting the fourth seed is a tough task, but it’s certainly not impossible. Detroit is playing its best basketball of the season. The winning percentage needed to get to 46 wins is fewer (.714) is lower than the Pistons’ winning percentage last year (.719)
But with tonight’s win, the Hawks have swept the Pistons in three games and will hold the tie-breaker. So, if the Hawks hold pace, the Pistons will need 47 wins.
As much as this game doesn’t reveal too much about the Pistons, it could be important at the end of the season. That’s why Detroit can’t afford too many more non-descript games.
Why the Hawks didn’t win, 96-95.
Both teams had about the expected offensive ratings. But the pace was much slower than expected. That’s why scoring was down.
Atlanta’s offensive efficiency was slightly higher than expected, and the Pistons’ was slightly lower. That’s why the margin was a bit wider than expected.
Will Bynum made 2-of-3 shots, scored six points, had three assists, a steal and no turnovers in 11 minutes. He has scored 35 points in the last four games — his best four-game scoring stretch of the season. If Allen Iverson comes back, and the Pistons decide they’re better without him, Bynum is proving to be a capable backup point guard.
Rodney Stuckey (four) and Richard Hamilton (three) had too many turnovers for a starting backcourt. Seven isn’t a ridiculous total, but it played a part in the Hawks’ close win.
With excellent rebounding in the fourth quarter, the Pistons won the battle on the glass, 45-43. Their rebounding played a large part in sticking around once the Hawks built a 78-70 lead with six minutes left.
McDyess has scored just 10 points combined in the last two games.
Josh Smith had four blocks, but teams should go right at him. Most of his blocks came when a Detroit player got around him and he was trying to catch him from behind.
A friend of mine saw Iverson at Motor City Casino on Tuesday night during the Nuggets game. How much does it mean that he’s not with the team when he could be?