Well, the Pistons found the most uninspiring way possible to snap a five-game losing streak.
For Detroit a win should be a win, but it’s tough to adapt that mentality after so many stellar years. So, sorry, but last night’s 97-93 win over the Nets doesn’t thrill me.
Maybe it was Yi Jianlian missing 11-of-12 shots. Maybe it was Ben Gordon (2-of-6 for seven points and no assists in 14 minutes) looking ineffective again. Or maybe it was all the empty seats at the Izod Center.
But last night’s game was ugly.
Will Bynum returns
Glancing at the box score Will Bynum had a nice performance after missing 16 games with a pair of ankle injuries: 10 points and three assists in 17 minutes.
But his defense was lacking.
Although he showed progress earlier in the season, Bynum isn’t a good defensive player. A Bynum still probably at least somewhat bothered a bum ankle really isn’t a good defender. So, I don’t want to beat up on him too much.
But he has to do a much better job of staying in front of his man. Speedy Nets point guard Devin Harris is the type of player who gives Bynum trouble, and that definitely happened last night.
Bynum and Harris were matched up for 9:52, and Harris scored 10 points in that span. That’s 42 percent of his points in 25 percent of his minutes.
Bynum is back to where he was last year with his defense. I’d like to see him get back to where he was pre-injury this season.
Richard Hamilton is playing like he wants to remain a Piston.
I think Ben Gordon’s signing made Hamilton realize he doesn’t have a future as Detroit’s go-to scorer. So, Hamilton has changed his outlook. His assist numbers have been way up. He had three assists before he took a shot last night.
But in the second half, Hamilton showed he hadn’t lost the other side of his game.
Hamilton scored 20 of his points in the final 21 minutes. He finished with seven assists, five rebounds and one turnover in 40 minutes.
If Hamilton is playing like he want to remain in Detroit, Tayshaun Prince is acting like he wants out. Yes, his numbers have been picking up (15 points and eight rebounds last night). But his body language hasn’t.
In the first quarter, Prince threw a cross-court pass to Rodney Stuckey. Jonas Jerebo jumped to catch it but realized it wasn’t intended for him and pulled back. By the time Jerebko landed, Stuckey lost track of the ball and it went out of bounds.
Prince looked at Jerebko, threw his arms arms wildly and made a disgusted face.
Contrast that to when Ben Wallace dropped a Prince pass out of bounds early in third quarter. Prince just pointed, nodded and ran up court.
I noticed these two instances last night, but there plenty of other examples. Prince needs to start showing the newcomers more respect. He can’t play every minute with Stuckey, Hamilton, Maxiell and Wallace.
Power forward rotation
Jonas Jerebko started but played just 15 minutes and was a team-worst minus-7. Chris Wilcox, who had been the starter, didn’t play. Charlie Villanueva still looked bothered by a sore back and played just eight minutes. Ben Wallace played the position a little bit with Kwame Brown at center.
But the Pistons main power forward last night was Jason Maxiell. He played 27 minutes, including the final 21 (besides two seconds when the Nets were intentional fouling at the end).
He looked solid (eight points, six rebounds and tying Hamilton with a team-best plus-10). But I’m not sure if he deserved all that playing time. He looked a little tired by the end of the game. To his credit, though, he didn’t stop playing hard. It’s a welcome sight.
It will be interesting to see how the minutes shake out here going forward – and I’ll have more on that another day.
Is Rodney Stuckey becoming consistent?
Rodney Stuckey had 21 points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and no turnovers. And I really don’t have anything to say about him. That’s a heck of a stat line, but in the course of the game, it didn’t seem like he was doing anything better than he usually does. That seems like a good sign.
Tayshaun Prince made what was essentially the game winning basket on an inbound lob dunk with 46 seconds left. Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook breaks down the play – and more from the game.