Jason Maxiell couldn’t be contained on the offensive glass against Philadelphia. Fortunately, the Sixers figured out that even if he grabbed an offensive board (he had six of them in 26 minutes), there was a good chance he’d give the ball right back to them (he had five turnovers). One of the things I always loved about Chris Wilcox was his insanely high turnover rate (except, miraculously, in a contract year) despite the fact that he rarely touched the ball for very long. Maxiell had a Wilcox kind of game — active, athletic, not terrible in most statistical categories, but five turnovers? Seriously?
But I’m just kidding a bit with that intro. Maxiell had a sloppy game, but to have your worst loss of the season (the last time the Pistons lost by 29 or more was last March), it takes a special kind of poor performance, and the Pistons delivered. Rodney Stuckey returned from his All-Star vacation, which lasted one extra day than everyone else’s, to at least score some points (17 on 5-for-12 shooting) despite joining Maxiell in the five turnover club, but he also wasn’t the worst player on the court.
Brandon Knight continued to take OK care of the ball (three turnovers in 28 minutes), but does a low turnover rate from your PG really matter if he only gets one assist and shoots 2-for-8? But he also wasn’t the worst player on the court.
After a 2-for-10 performance, Tayshaun Prince‘s career-low field goal percentage fell to 40 percent on the button, dangerously close to joining Austin Daye, Walker Russell and Will Bynum in sub-40 percent territory. The only difference is Prince has taken more shots than all four of those players combined (and not just a few more … roughly 100 more). Ouch. But Prince was still not the worst player on the floor.
That distinction goes to Ben Gordon. Gordon bested Prince with a 1-for-10 shooting performance. Prince also grabbed one more rebound (4-to-3) and dished one more assist (2-to-1). They were even on turnovers. I’ll give the nod for slightly less horrible to Prince. It was close though, hard to project the winners. Like Santorum-Romney all over again.
Before the game, Lawrence Frank gave this interesting comment to reporters:
“Sometimes, guys are still on break,” he said. “Physically, they’re here. But you see it. The first game on breaks sometimes are a little bit funky, for both teams, because you have no rhythm of practice or playing.”
I dunno … Philly looked pretty awesome. But seriously, I read that before the game and I thought, “I wonder if they had like a horrid shootaround or practice or whatever today and Frank said to himself, damn … better do some preemptive damage control.” Then, Stuckey helped provide some clarity too:
“It didn’t really feel weird, I picked it up and it was just the same-old, same-old,” he said of his return to practice Monday. “But taking five days back and you start running, it’s a big difference. Other than that, my body feels good. I think the first couple of minutes, everybody’s going to be huffing and puffing, but other than that, everything’s going to be good.”
OK, got it. Don’t expect teams to play competitively before or after breaks. No wonder the Pistons discounted those tickets tonight. This is normally the point where I write ‘check back for updates.’ But, now that I’m familiar with the etiquette, I think I’ll ease back into my post-All-Star schedule slowly too. No need to go too hard … there’s a game tomorrow anyway, amiright?