The Pistons certainly have players who like to play offense, so through three quarters against the offensive-minded Knicks, Detroit hung tight.
But playing with a short bench and having one of their scorers, Tayshaun Prince, struggling with his shot, the Pistons ran out of steam in the fourth quarter and lost 124-106 Sunday.
The Pistons, who shot better than 50 percent the entire game, were just 4-for-13 in the fourth quarter with only two shot attempts coming within 12 feet of the basket, and the Knicks kept up their offensive pace, opening the fourth on a 12-2 run to pull away in what had been a tie game through three. But although the poor fourth quarter shooting was the clincher, the real telling stat from the game was this: three New York frontcourt players scored 85 points on 46 shots.
Now, it’s not that surprising that Amar’e Stoudemire and Danilo Gallinari had fantastic games against the Pistons. Both have done it before. But throw in 23 points and 15 rebounds from Timofey Mozgov? Who can normally be seen with things like this happening to him? Well, it’s hard to top that kind of production, even if Ben Gordon did show flashes of why the Pistons signed him.
Gordon had his second best game as a Piston, scoring 35 points. He was 7-for-11 from 3-point range, and although Pistons fans are all too familiar with the holes in Gordon’s game, it’s nice to see him show the elite scoring ability and his ability is still present when his shot is falling. Unfortunately, no other Piston managed more than 16 points, which came from Prince, and it took him 17 shots to do that.
The Pistons simply had no one in their frontcourt who could provide much resistance to the Knicks’ barrage. Hurry back Ben Wallace.
The worst case of the flu in history
When word came that Rip Hamilton would indeed miss another game with a case of the flu that has kept him out of the lineup for five days, Twitter began to run amok. Obviously, the disclaimer is hopefully Hamilton is not ill. Because if he is, it sounds serious. Five days of flu would lead most people to possibly think about heading to the hospital for treatment.
The reality is, it’s probably about the clumsiest possible way to continue not playing him. The poor broadcasters have to discuss his malady in earnest, as if they themselves don’t really know what’s going on. Reporters have to add it to their injury reports. Pistons team officials have to legitimately discuss it as the reason Hamilton isn’t playing.
But the saddest part? The Pistons could’ve actually used Hamilton in this game. They are short on capable players right now with Rodney Stuckey out. Two of their scorers, Prince and Austin Daye, did not shoot the ball well. And in the fourth quarter, they clearly needed an additional player to put next to Gordon who could make shots. Having Hamilton available could’ve easily kept the Pistons competitive in this game down the stretch. Hopefully the Pistons are able to trade him, because allowing him to sit out games he is actually needed in is not a good message to send the rest of the team. The relationship appears irreparable right now, but a common sense question that’s going unanswered: what do they do with him if no other team wants him?
Monroe owns the boards
He didn’t have much company from the Pistons on the glass, but Greg Monroe established a new career high in rebounds with 17.
It’s weird not getting to that until the third topic in the recap, but it also shows how commonplace very good performances from Monroe are becoming. It was even better because his production had tailed off just a tad since his four straight double-doubles in early January. He hadn’t had one in the nine games since that streak ended until his 15 points and 17 boards against NY.
Although I certainly can’t complain about him hitting 6-of-8 from the field, four of those six made shots were either the result of tip-ins or dump-off assists. Again, nothing wrong with that. But at some point, I’d like to see Monroe in the post a little more just to see if he has the ability to create his shot a little more often. With the craftiness he has displayed around the basket, I suspect he can once in a while, but maybe there’s a reason the Pistons haven’t used him in that capacity yet.
Villanueva doesn’t get much time
High scoring game, neither team playing defense, Charlie Villanueva’s shot falling, short bench. Those sound like the perfect storm of events to get Villanueva some significant minutes, right? Well, not so much.
Villanueva only played 20 minutes against the Knicks, making 4-of-6 shots and scoring 11 points. His defense certainly was as non-existent as everyone else’s in this game, but hey, at some point, John Kuester had to know that defense was a lost cause in this one right?
Because the Knicks pulled away so fast in the fourth (it seemed like a matter of seconds and they were suddenly up double figures), it was understandably hard to make many adjustments in the fourth quarter that would’ve changed things significantly. But this was certainly a chance to see Villanueva get a little bigger role. Chris Wilcox played 31 minutes and wasn’t terrible on offense, but Villanueva gives the Pistons more dimensions offensively than Wilcox does.