Detroit Pistons take one-on-one basketball to a whole new level in loss to Grizzlies


It has been no secret that the Pistons are an isolation heavy team on offense. Mostly out of necessity this season, the team has had to put the ball in someone’s hands, clear out and hope that guy can create a shot for himself. It’s not that the scorers on the team are particularly good in isos — they aren’t really. It’s just that the Pistons have no one who creates shots for others on a consistent basis, so minus that element, they try to turn guys who aren’t playmakers into playmakers. Sometimes it works OK, a lot of times it ends up being really ugly basketball.

Well, in Wednesday’s 105-84 loss to Memphis, calling how Detroit’s offense played ‘ugly’ is an insult to the term ‘ugly.’

Rodney Stuckey scored 13 points in the first quarter, then didn’t score again until the fourth quarter, with his shot selection getting progressively more atrocious as the game went on.

Charlie Villanueva scored 11 points in the second quarter and basically could’ve called it a night, since he didn’t score the rest of the way, including a 3-point attempt from one wing that sailed about two feet past the rim.

Rip Hamilton scored 12 points in the third quarter and then really did call it a night, getting ejected for the second time this season.

By the fourth quarter, the score was so lopsided that Austin Daye actually got to play, seeing the court for the first time in a game he didn’t start.

If the Pistons’ loss last night to Dallas was demoralizing, this loss to Memphis is infuriating. Dallas struggled most of the game last night, turned it on late, and edged the Pistons, who gamely tried to stay in it but came up short.

Detroit led at the half tonight thanks to Rudy Gay being comfortable launching jumpers and Memphis inexplicably refusing to dump the ball into Marc Gasol more than a handful of times. The game was close basically because Mike Conley continuously got inside and Zach Randolph punished Detroit in the paint. Then in the second half, there was nothing ‘game’ about the Pistons effort. Gay and O.J. Mayo started attacking the basket a little, Randolph continued being Randolph and the extremely efficient Gasol got some touches.

Memphis pushed the lead to double digits in the third, then aided by the Pistons game of “Who can take the most terrible shot?” in the fourth quarter, several possessions had two or fewer passes, lots of dribbling and lots of terrible contested shots going up.

Austin Daye not getting in was ridiculous

By the time Daye got on the court, Detroit was completely out of this game. I don’t know if Daye playing earlier would’ve changed anything, but it might’ve helped.

First of all, the Pistons were on the second night of a back-to-back, coming off of a tough game last night in Dallas. Daye didn’t play in that game, so he was fresh. The Pistons starting frontcourt wasn’t good. Jason Maxiell shot 1-for-6 and Tayshaun Prince was 2-for-7. In the second half, driving lanes that were open for Stuckey closed off because Memphis just packed everyone in the lane. Daye’s greatest strength right now is that he stretches the floor. Perhaps putting him in the game in the third quarter would’ve either resulted in some open threes for Daye or some more room for Stuckey, since one of the Memphis bigs would’ve had to come out and guard him.

Hamilton deserved to be ejected

Hamilton knows the technical foul rule. Hell, everyone in the league has pretty much adjusted to quick technicals by now. And Hamilton can’t make the case that he wasn’t given leeway tonight. Minutes before picking up his second, Hamilton thought he was fouled when he absorbed a bump at the other end. Memphis went down and scored, then Hamilton spent the entire trip back up the court demonstratively complaining to an official, who let it go. Then, on the next Memphis possession during a deadball, Hamilton was replaced in the lineup and walked to the bench, still chirping, which is when he finally got tossed.

The league is not softening its stance on this rule for Dwight Howard, so they certainly won’t for Hamilton. He’s going to keep getting tossed and keep hurting the team if he doesn’t get it under control.

Monroe gets aggressive on offense

Greg Monroe’s final stat-line — 6 points, 8 boards, 2 assists, a block and a steal — are pretty solid considering how badly he’s struggled. He still only shot 2-for-6, and a couple of those attempts were feeble ones around the rim that have got him in trouble this season, but he didn’t have a shot blocked in the game, which is progress. He also had a couple nice plays on offense that were unexpected. The first one came when he stole the ball in the Memphis end, then looked really comfortable dribbling three quarters of the court and finishing inside.

His other basket was a nice face-up jumper from about 10-feet. Gasol gave him space and Monroe confidently knocked it down. Monroe also was 2-for-2 at the free throw line, a good sign considering how badly he’s shot free throws this season.

Other notes

  • Tracy McGrady passed the ball really well, finishing with four assists and no turnovers. He continues to be the only Piston who consistently looks to move the ball.
  • Will Bynum showed signs of breaking out of his slump. He had too many turnovers (three), but he shot the ball well and, in the second quarter, he did what Bynum does best: he sped the game up a bit for a few possessions and he brought some energy into a stagnant game.
  • Have a nice Thanksgiving everyone. We’ll get back at it on Friday.