The Pistons have had a nasty trend this season of building big leads in games only to see those leads disappear in losses. Tonight, they were the ones who fell behind by 17 points and came storming back to take a lead. Unfortunately, the end results stayed the same as the Nets won in double overtime on a last second shot by Joe Johnson.
Up front, the Pistons played a competitive, fun to watch game Friday against the Brooklyn Nets. That’s not always a given this season, so I’m don’t want to bog this down with complaints. I’ll just get the handful I have out of the way up front and we’ll move on to the good stuff from there, sound good?
- The Pistons gave up an offensive rebound late in regulation and an offensive rebound in the first overtime that ultimately led to the Nets tying the game. On the one in regulation, it was kind of a flukey play — Tayshaun Prince had to help on Joe Johnson and his man, Gerald Wallace, took advantage of a defense that couldn’t get a body on him. I’m not saying Andre Drummond would’ve got to that ball. It would’ve been tough for him to get in position to keep Wallace (a good offensive rebounder for a wing) from getting to the ball. But I would’ve at least liked to have seen him on the court with a chance. The one in overtime, Jason Maxiell got his fingertips on a ball high in the air and just barely missed corralling it. Drummond’s roughly five more inches definitely would’ve got that one. And in the second overtime, the Nets got quite a few second chance opportunities that they thankfully didn’t cash in on. Drummond played great tonight, but didn’t make an appearance in either overtime. That’s just a terrible coaching decision, even if Lawrence Frank did do some positive things tonight.
- Maxiell grabbing two rebounds in 38 minutes is inexcusable.
- Brandon Knight at the end of regulation and Rodney Stuckey at the end of the first overtime didn’t work for good enough shots. Both had success beating Brooklyn’s guards off the dribble in the game, but both settled for mid-range jumpers. Further, neither guy took all the time off the clock, so the Nets had the ball back with time for a shot in both cases, although they, again, didn’t take advantage.
- The game could’ve been over in regulation, had the officials not waved off a Charlie Villanueva tip-in that should’ve counted. Villanueva got an offensive rebound of a Drummond miss, but the officials apparently concluded that Drummond’s shot didn’t hit rim. Replays showed it did, and officials even looked at those replays. I have no idea what they saw that suggested Villanueva’s shot shouldn’t have counted. It was the wrong call and it could’ve been the difference in the game. The officials also blew what should’ve been an over and back call when Brooklyn inbounded the ball to Deron Williams with 16 seconds left in the second overtime.
- Greg Monroe and Maxiell missing free throws in the second overtime. Can’t do that, particularly Monroe missing two with the Pistons down one with 16 seconds left.
- Joe Johnson made Prince look really bad, shaking him on a crossover to get a clean look at the game-winner.
There are certainly things I could go in-depth on being critical, but this was an overall enjoyable game. The Pistons overcame a 17-point deficit, they did it on the road, they had some strong defensive possessions and all of their key young players had great moments at different times in this game.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 38 MIN | 3-8 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -5I have no idea how Maxiell played 38 minutes and only came up with two rebounds. He played decent defense when he was matched up with Brook Lopez early in the second half, but that’s really the only saving grace for his performance tonight.|
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 44 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 6 AST | 12 PTS | +6Prince looked bad on the final defensive possession and, generally, was overmatched against Johnson and Gerald Wallace. But Prince shot well, he helped on the glass (and it was needed, thanks to Maxiell’s lack of production there) and had six assists. Another solid all-around game in a solid all-around season for Prince.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 32 MIN | 4-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | -1I was actually mad on Detroit’s final possession because the ball went to Knight on the in-bound when Singler was barely being guarded by the Nets. I wouldn’t have minded Singler, who was pretty rested then, taking a clean look at a three in that situation. But Knight forced a bad shot and Singler crashed the glass to tie it prior to Johnson’s dagger. He, like Prince, helped pick up the slack on the glass too.|
|Greg Monroe, C 43 MIN | 7-15 FG | 3-6 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | +8Monroe wasn’t bad tonight, but he’s rushing his offense a lot (he had favorable matchups against shorter defenders in the post several times and didn’t work for shots he looked comfortable taking in a few instances) and he gets marked down for missing two important free throws in double overtime. He rebounded better than Maxiell, but still not well enough considering how many minutes he played.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 47 MIN | 8-18 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 22 PTS | +9There was a great sequence with Knight late in regulation in tonight’s game. After he turned it over late in the fourth resulting in a Nets bucket, he came back on the next possession and made a jumper to put the Pistons up 85-84. Then he came up with a steal, led the break and made a nice pass to Prince for a short shot to put the Pistons up 87-84. He also made a couple of underrated plays — a great save of an awful Monroe pass in the fourth that prevented a turnover and he lept in traffic against taller players and made a great catch of an offensive rebound being tipped around after Maxiell missed a free throw in double overtime. Like any Knight performance, there were things to pick at — his shot selection was questionable and he’s still a bit too casual with the ball — but he played with a toughness tonight that was hard not to admire. He also did a decent job defensively against the much stronger Williams.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 16 MIN | 1-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -2His tip-in was a heady play that should’ve counted, and he did have an assist, a steal and more rebounds then Jason Maxiell in 42 percent of the minutes, but he didn’t shoot well, and if he’s not shooting well, he’s not helping much.|
|Corey Maggette, SF 11 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3Maggette, as far as I could tell, was brought in to try and provide some defense against Johnson and Wallace. He was physical with them, but didn’t really slow them down much. He also missed a couple of wide open looks.|
|Andre Drummond, C 18 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -6Drummond grabbed four offensive rebounds in four minutes in the first half. He had nine boards overall in 18 minutes. It would’ve taken Maxiell 170 minutes to get nine boards at the rate he was going tonight. Drummond also blocked three shots and was on the court when the Pistons were playing their best late in the third and early in the fourth quarters. The only slight knock on Drummond tonight were two close-range shots he didn’t finish and the weird fadeaway he took with the shot clock running down. Those things are really minor considering the many, many positive things he brings. It makes no sense that he didn’t get at least a few minutes in the overtimes.|
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 40 MIN | 7-17 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | -16Poor shot at the end of the first overtime aside, Stuckey also made several plays down the stretch in that period that allowed the Pistons to force the second OT. He had a great drive past Williams, flinging him aside in the process, for a late bucket. Stuckey continues to be really comfortable in this role. It suits his skills really well.|
|Lawrence Frank, Coach It’s easy to get angry about Frank not using Drummond in the overtimes, considering how active Brooklyn’s frontcourt was and how ineffective Maxiell was. And don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly frustrated by that. But it’s also important to note a couple of things that Frank did right — Monroe and Drummond played significant (not a lot, but significant in comparison to how little they typically play together) minutes at the same time in the second half, and the Pistons played really well in that stretch, so hopefully Frank finally realizes the benefits to using that combination. He also made nice adjustments at halftime. The Pistons had an awful second quarter and Brooklyn looked like this game would be a blowout. Frank has not been known for his ability to adjust at the half, but give him credit for that. The Pistons came out with a better offensive gameplan in the second half tonight, and that hasn’t happened often this season.|