Chris Wilcox can’t redeem the Detroit Pistons’ losing effort


When you amble back on defense so slowly, the opponent gets multiple shots before you decide its important to get back, you deserve to lose.

When you toss up lazy shots that are more likely to get blocked than not,* you deserve to lose.

When you throw away simple outlet passes, you deserve to lose.

When you do each of those things multiple times, you really deserve to lose.

*The Bobcats’ 13 blocks tied the third most a team has made in a game this season.

A flash-in-the-pan* sizzling Chris Wilcox (15 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and a steal in 23 minutes) shouldn’t keep you from what you deserve – even against the Bobcats. He didn’t. The Pistons lost, 105-100.

*Before you suggest Wilcox belongs in the permanent rotation, read Royce Young’s assessment in Wilcox’s player preview.

The Pistons spent the first three quarters displaying one of their most uninspiring efforts of the season, and that’s a crowded race. The only conflict appeared to be whether Detroit would do a poorer job defending the rim or the 3-point arc. The Pistons seemingly did everything wrong until the fourth quarter.

  • They had no gas. Detroit played in a different city last night, and the Bobcats didn’t play the previous five days. That might be an excuse for 36-year-old Ben Wallace, whom John Kuester pulled early, and hobbled Tracy McGrady, who didn’t play much, either. But for the rest of the team? The NBA season is full of back-to-backs, so that’s not a valid excuse to me.
  • Their rotation was nonsensical. In the first quarter, Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon shot well and, although the results weren’t fantastic, hustled on defense. Villanueva wasn’t rebounding, and Gordon didn’t move the ball particularly well. But at least they were doing something. So what did that earn them? A spot on the bench in the second quarter, which the Bobcats opened on a 24-2 run.
  • Rodney Stuckey was awful. I think Stuckey gets a bad rap for how he manages the Pistons’ offense. He’s not Magic Johnson, but he he’s not Nick Young, either. Tonight, he forced shots and didn’t get anyone else involved, finishing with six points (1-of-6 shooting), three assists and three turnovers in 25 minutes.

Obviously, I’m pointing out a lot of negatives for a close game. But the game was close because neither team really played like it deserved to win. Both teams lacked energy most of the game. Several plays appeared to happen in slow motion, with none of the 10 players on the court capable of playing at full speed. Each team had only one good quarter – the Bobcats in the second and the Pistons in the fourth – and tied the other two.

Although they were nearly equally dismal, when two bad teams play, one must win. That doesn’t stain the victory. Everybody gets to play bad teams, and most teams look forward to the chance to beat up on someone weaker (or as weak) as them.

Not the Pistons. They played tonight like this was just another game. And if you’ve seen how they play any other game, nothing about the result of that attitude should have surprised you.