Signs of quit fill Pistons’ loss to Knicks

The Pistons were outplayed and outhustled, and that was before they basically gave up.

Since March 12, the Pistons have played seven games in seven locations. I don’t know whether that cost them tonight’s game, but it certainly didn’t help in their 101-79 loss to the Knicks tonight.

Just look at the rebounding battle.

The Pistons rebounded 18 percent of their own misses, their fifth-lowest total of the season. Worse, they rebounded 55 percent of New Yorks misses, their second-lowest total of the season. Both marks, over a full year, would rank last in the NBA.

Or check out plus-minus.

All 11 Pistons who played finished with negative plus-minuses. At no point did the Pistons play well.

Or see the quarterly scoring.

Detroit was outscored in each quarter, which to me, is the mark of a game where one team quits. For the most part, its difficult to sustain enough energy and focus to outplay a team in each quarter – unless the opponent gives in. Tonight, the Pistons acquiesced.

As bad as this loss was, it gives a chance to appreciate how hard the Pistons have played this season, tonight notwithstanding. This is just the second time the Pistons have been outscored each quarter in 48 games this season (four percent). That’s way better than eight times in 82 games last season (10 percent).

More than anything, I think changing from John Kuester to Lawrence Frank facilitated the difference. The Pistons are much more willing to play hard for Frank than Kuester.

Hopefully, they get back to that Monday in Washington

Charlie Villanueva plays

Charlie Villanueva played for the first time since March 10 against the Raptors and just the fourth first time all season, and he was, um, involved.

Villanueva (six shots, a pair of free throws and a turnover) used nine of the Pistons’ 18 plays while he was in the game. Unfortunately he made just one shot – and three free throws for his first five points of the season. He also blocked a shot on the other end.

Villanueva wasn’t quite so involved in every face, though. He rebounded only one of the 19 misses, including nine by the Knicks, while he was in the game.

Building blocks defense better

Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight haven’t drawn much defensive praise around these parts, but they did some good things on that end tonight.

On the Knicks’ final possession of the first half, Monroe came out to help beautifully to stifle a Jeremy Lin drive. Monroe had the benefit of knowing Lin would have to shoot before the half ended, but that was one of the most confident and aggressive helps I’ve seen from the Piston center. That wasn’t his only impressive rotation of the night

Knight played the passing lanes well, nabbing two steals. Knight has the length to go for more steals than he does. With a few more calculated risks, he could go from a subpar to good defender in a hurry.

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Tags: Brandon Knight Charlie Villanueva Greg Monroe John Kuester Lawrence Frank

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