Pistons-Nets series characterized by massive home court advantage thus far


You thought the Pistons missed the playoffs? Not at PistonPowered.

We’re honoring the 10th anniversary of the 2004 NBA championship team by examining each postseason game on the corresponding 2014 date. We’ll look back at Detroit’s performances, detail our memories of that time and provide insight from the players and coaches who were Goin’ to Work every single night.

So, stick with us this “offseason.” I have a hunch these Pistons will be playing into June.

Detroit Pistons 79 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 New Jersey Nets
Chauncey Billups, PG 27 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTSBillups wasn’t throwing up a ton of bricks, but he was still very unproductive. And he wsan’t able to do anything about Jason Kidd destroying the Pistons.
Richard Hamilton, SG 40 MIN | 11-20 FG | 6-8 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 30 PTSHamilton played an excellent game, repeatedly finding the bottom of the net when none of his teammates could. But Detroit typically needs good games out of last three players to succeed. So Rip’s efforts were squandered.

Tayshaun Prince, SF 31 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTSPrince wasn’t really bad on either side of the ball. But he wasn’t good either. He played like a sub just keeping the team from falling off when the starter needed a breather. Too bad Detroit didn’t have that starter.

Rasheed Wallace, PF 25 MIN | 1-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTSRasheed got bullied by Kenyon Martin. The Pistons really need him to play that matchup about to a draw. And Sheed is capable of doing so. Hopefully, returning to The Palace will be a cure all.

Ben Wallace, C 43 MIN | 1-5 FG | 4-8 FT | 15 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTSBen played strong man defense but his help was insufficient in this game. Why he doesn’t spend more time covering Martin, I can’t understand.
Corliss Williamson, PF 14 MIN | 1-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 5 PTSWilliamson is actually providing some modest production of late. But he has to stop throwing the ball away.

Lindsey Hunter, PG 7 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTSHunter wasn’t providing enough of his trademark defense to earn many minutes. Lucious Harris was scoring at a torrid rate with Hunter in the game.
Mehmet Okur, C 15 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTSApart from Hamilton and Ben, Memo played as well as any Piston.  
Mike James, PG 21 MIN | 1-6 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTSJames wasn’t great, but good enough to steal Hunter’s normal role.  
Elden Campbell, C 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTSCampbell entered the game for a minute and a half in the second quarter. The Pistons got outscored 6-0. Not much to go on, but to the extent that I could evaluate him, it’s not positive.  
Darvin Ham, SF 14 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTSHam holds a very limited role in the rotation, but he was needed a bit more than usual in this game.  
Darko Milicic, C 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTSMilicic expanded his role to “human defeat cigar” as well, I guess.  
Larry Brown, Head Coach
Yikes, the Pistons were looking so good. That they lost this game isn’t shocking, but to get blown out after back-to-back dominating efforts? That’s unacceptable.

-Tim Thielke

From the front lines

As intra-competitive as the 2004 Pistons were, there was a clear line between the starters – “best five alive,” as they called themselves – and the reserves. Backups competed for minutes with each other, not to supplant the starters.

That line blurred in the middle of the Nets series as Rasheed Wallace (plantar fasciitis) and Chauncey Billups (back) played through physical ailments.

With Billups playing just 27 minutes in Game 4 and Wallace seeing only 25, Mike James and Darvin Ham helped fill the void.

Ham played 15 minutes in Game 3 and 14 minutes in Game 4, by far his most playing time in the entire playoff run. James also received his highest minutes in Game 4 against the Nets (21 minutes)

“It was definitely Chauncey’s team,” James said, “but I always thought of myself as a pretty good basketball player. When I got my opportunity to play, I took advantage of it every single time. And knowing that Chauncey was the star point guard on the team, whenever anyone was hurt, I knew there was never going to be any letdown. It was always going to be whatever he couldn’t do, I was going to be able to fill his shoes. They were big shoes to fill, but when you can play, all you’ve got to do is just play the game the right way.”

Ham shared a similar fill-any-role view, and he was glad to help however was needed. He knew Wallace and Billups, though hurting, felt the same way.

“Those guys are of the mindset that, whatever it takes, we’re going to get it done,” Ham said.

Up next

New Jersey is showing signs of life, and the Pistons have been, well, slow to answer.

Jason Kidd’s triple-double helped the Nets tie this series up, but through four games, Chauncey Billups has been totally undressed by Kidd — and Kidd hasn’t even been that good.

When Billups isn’t playing well, it really affects the rest of the team. Rip Hamilton did what he could after scoring 30 points, but aside from his 11-for-20 showing, the rest of the Detroit starters combined to shoot just an atrocious 7-for-28.

If you find the Pistons’ offense anywhere, please deliver it the Palace of Auburn Hills by tipoff of Game 5 on May 14.

-Brady Fredericksen