Let’s compare starters shall we?
Carmelo Anthony : 25 pts, 6 asts
Amare Stoudemire : 15 pts, 4 rebs
Tyson Chandler : 17 pts, 8 rebs
Landry Fields : 18 pts, 5 stls
Iman Shumpert : 6 pts, 6 asts
Tayshaun Prince : 10 pts, 4 rebs
Ben Wallace : 0 pts, 6 rebs
Greg Monroe : 13 pts, 12 rebs
Rodney Stuckey : 13 pts, 3 asts
Brandon Knight : 9 pts, 1 ast
Collectively, the New York Knicks’ starters scored 81 points while the Detroit Pistons’ starters scored only 45 points. It should not come as a surprise that the Pistons’ offense was halted with both Ben Gordon and Will Bynum back at home forced to watch the game from their couches. However, Pistons’ coach Lawrence Frank must have said it best:
“We’re not even putting ourselves in a position where these games are in doubt,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. “We’re all embarrassed that we’re not doing better. We all have to raise our hands and figure out ways we can improve.”
As they should be. The Pistons are not getting any better with time and there are various reasons as to why they have yet to make noise in the shortened 2011-12 season. The primary concern is no longer that the Pistons are losing. It is how they are losing. Just a short while ago, a young Austin Daye and coming-of-age Jonas Jerebko showed off against the Miami Heat. The Detroit Pistons fell in the contest eventually, 98-101, but it gave so much hope to the Pistons’ home crowd that thing were going to change.
Miami is a team that usually gives a great defensive effort, and Daye showed that he was up for any challenge the South Beach squad threw at him. He scored 28 points and Jerebko hit for the Pistons’ last scoring play, which was a three that put Detroit on top. The Pistons had put themselves in a position to win the game, but unfortunately there have not been more showings like this for a team that desperately needs some answers.
The Pistons have lost every game since that moment. Even though Detroit was pushed into OT against the Atlanta Hawks soon after, the game was lost by the Pistons, not won by Atlanta. They were defeated almost as soon as Joe Johnson hit the three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left on the game clock to send it into overtime. You win some and you lose some, but the Pistons had every chance to make the defensive stops necessary to win this game and make a statement after coming so close to beating what some may consider the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Looking back at Tuesday night’s game, it should be understood that the Knicks played at the height of their potential. But, watching their struggles throughout the season, with and without Carmelo Anthony, one would assume that the Detroit Pistons could take advantage of a tumultuous situation. But, while the Knicks are playing for their livelihood, the Pistons are struggling in that avenue more than anyone else in the league (with the exception of the Washington Wizards).
Their offense is everything but consistent. They were outscored in every quarter of the game. Even with more second chance opportunities than the Knicks, the Pistons were clouded by their turnovers and their sloppy ball movement. Allowing a 29-point lead at any time in a game is unacceptable, but it is a characteristic of the franchise that is becoming all too common.
There are plenty of excuses that can be made. Ben Gordon and Will Bynum did not make the trip. Ben Wallace did not score at all. There is no true, effective center on the squad. At least one player in the Pistons’ starting lineup should score at least 20 points for the organization to have a chance against a team with a pure scorer like Carmelo Anthony. But, all of these are EXCUSES. The group effort is clearly not of more value than the sum of the Pistons’ parts so the reevaluation must start there.
Everyone must be questioned. No one should be exempt. There needs to be a splash with the Detroit Pistons and it needs to happen now before Motown fans lose all faith in their home team and the players lose faith in their franchise’s direction.