A Mile High Miracle

Posted · 28 Comments

A thriller in Denver, Pistons steal one 93-90.

The Pistons won their first game against their old friend Chauncey Billups in Denver. With Denver leading the entire game it was Tayshaun Prince’s hook in the lane with 20 seconds on the clock that gave the Pistons their first lead of the night. Tayshaun started it and Arron Afflalo’s clutch free throws to end the game sealed it.

Key Points:

  • Chauncey was at his finest with a game-high 30 points on 11-for-19 shooting with 4 assists and just one turnover. Rodney Stuckey tried to keep up but a sore back held him to just 30 minutes and nine points. Miss Chauncey? I do, but it’s clear he’s doing well with his new team, taking them places they haven’t been in quite some time.
  • Billups had 20 points by halftime and 26 at the end of three quarters. That’s when Prince told Pistons coach Michael Curry he wanted to guard Billups down the stretch.  Billups managed just four points in the fourth quarter as Prince’s long arms and size bothered the hot-shooting Billups.
  • “There was nobody on the court at the time that knows Chauncey’s game like me,” Prince said. “When you have a 6-foot-9 guy like myself that’s pretty quick off my feet, I’m able to contest Chauncey’s three, plus keep enough space because he’s so fast where I can back up a little bit.” Via The Detroit Free Press
  • Had Chauncey been as hot down the stretch as he was to start, no way the Pistons win this one.  Also thank Detroit’s defense for clamping down on Billups so he had to defer to Smith who turned over the ball on a Antonio McDyess strip.

Chauncey Billups and Rodney Stuckey

Photo/Getty Images
  • Arron Afflalo was the hero, not only did he put up 17 points, it was his 8 straight free throws made at the end of the game when Denver sent him to the line that truly won this game for Detroit. Thanks Aflac!
  • Best game coached by far all season long for Curry. Shorthanded, a sore Stuckey and a hot Billups. We have to give him props sometimes.
  • It’s about time Detroit was on the other end of losing a big lead and the game. Denver led basically all game with their biggest lead at 13.
  • Give it up for Allen Iverson who was ice cold in the first half, but turned it up in the second. He finished with 23, 20 of them came in the second half.
  • Allen Iverson highlight of the game.
  • Close call when Iverson tried to stop smith with .07 left on the clock and sent him to the line for three foul shots when the Pistons led by three. Thankfully Smith missed the first one.
  • “I told my teammates that once we got to Utah, they would probably have to board up my windows and take all sheets out of my room because I would have killed myself if we had lost the game seeing I gave J.R. those three shots like that,” Iverson said. Via Yahoo/AP.

Allen Iverson in Denver

Photo/Getty Images
  • Jason Maxiell finally got some playing time and he didn’t disappoint. Nine points, a blocked shot and 7 boards in 20 minutes. And some SERIOUS DUNKS…none bigger than the one that came late in the game.
  • If you were watching you probably wanted to kill Detroit for making just 27 of their 40 free throws. Had Arron not made the free throws at the end of the game, they would have lost because of their blunders at the line. Ironically, they won it at the stripe.
  • FSN Highlights of the game by quarter.
  • I don’t know about you, but this was clearly one of the best games of the year. Playoff excitement and a victory, you couldn’t ask for much more. Especially shorthanded. Dare I ask for an win in Utah?
  • The Denver fans gave it to Antonio McDyess every time they got the chance by booing him for not playing for Denver after the trade. Dyess didn’t seem to care, in fact he was happy to hear it.

Video Courtesy of The NBA, The Detroit Pistons and FSN Detroit
  • Another key to the victory was Antonio McDyess, who may not be filling up the bucket but he’s doing everything else we need him to. McDyess put up 6 points with 12 boards and 2 key steals in 23 minutes on the floor. Sorry Denver…he’d rather retire than play for you.
  • Rebound war won 46-38.
  • Rip is almost on his way back.
  • 8 boards and 1 blocked shot for Kwame Brown in 23 minutes.
  • Solid 22 minutes for Amir with 6 points and a block. He’s hustling out there but maybe the fact that Sheed has been out of the lineup hinders him because of his size.
  • Stuckey is doubtful for Utah.
  • Tayshaun was huge, 19 points on 7-for-15 shooting with six boards and 4 assists. It was his runner with 20 seconds on the clock that put Detroit in the lead for the first time of the game. His defense on Billups was another reason why Tay was the player of the game.

Tayahsun Prince

Photo/Getty Images
  • The Pistons have now won 5 straight against the Nuggets.
  • Clutch late game back-to-back threes for Tay and Iverson to get Detroit in a place to take the game.
  • I don’t know if the noise was for Iverson or the Pistons, but I heard tons of fans in Denver cheering for the Pistons.
  • 10 turns for each team.
  • A little odd for Chauncey – “It was a little strange,” Billups said. “There were a couple of times in the third quarter when I kept looking up at the clock. We were up and for some reason I kept thinking we were down because I kept looking at the Pistons’ score. It was just kind of weird.” Via The Detroit News
  • Detroit had the Nuggets playing their game, limiting their running to help Detroit stay relatively close all game long.
  • 36 points in the paint for Detroit to 42 for Denver.
  • Great game, I’m still a  bit giddy today.
  • Utah…..tonight at 9:00 PM
  • Worst stretch of injuries in years right now – what’s going on, Arnie? Has our age finally caught up with us?
  • The Detroit News asked Rip about his return!
    His answer:
    “Hamilton, speaking informally before the game, was clearly not keen on coming off the bench. When asked what he thought would happen once he got back healthy, he said he planned on returning to the starting lineup.

    “That’s the only option,” he said.

    When it was suggested that coming off the bench might be another option, he said, “That ain’t happening”

    So much for taking one for the team!…..(Thanks to Mark in the Comments for this one!)

28 Responses to "A Mile High Miracle"
  1. Mark says:

    Natalie I don’t know if you read this, but the Detroit News asked what Rip thought of coming off the bench. His answer:
    Hamilton, speaking informally before the game, was clearly not keen on coming off the bench. When asked what he thought would happen once he got back healthy, he said he planned on returning to the starting lineup.

    “That’s the only option,” he said.

    When it was suggested that coming off the bench might be another option, he said, “That ain’t happening.”

    http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090110/SPORTS0102/901100346/1004

  2. Thanks Mark….I glossed over that when I read it…just added it to the post! Thanks

  3. Tom S. says:

    when is everyone going to recognize that Tay is the most important (and probably most consistent/best) player on the team? He’s the glue holding it all together. Deuce-Deuce, baby!

  4. I got much love for Prince…he’s the reason why we are winning right now. Thank goodness everyone is back at their own positions. Looks like that’s not going to last much longer with Rip coming back.

    Tay just might get the All Star nod after all.

  5. Whatsittoya says:

    Chuancey beat Ai and Stuckey yesterday. But the pistons beat the Nuggets thats what matters. And Natalie you usually have the losses in red and wins in blue. Well we lost to Portland but you put it as Blue. On the Right. Under the schedule.

  6. pistons 4 life says:

    That’s kind of a let down for me what Rip said. I thought our team had guy’s that just wanted to win no matter what. If you ask me the success they’ve had over the last couple of weeks is because of Rip being out. I’m not saying anything bad about him because he’s one of my favorites, but since he’s been out they’ve played a typical lineup with two bigs. I’m a little worried about what will happen when he comes back. Because if they go small again our defense and rebounding to start games will probably suffer again.

    All of that aside, you should go look at the standings on NBA.com some time. When you look over the best in the East and West the Pistons are pretty much just like everyone else as far as their record. They actually have taken over the 4 spot with their win last night. Hopefully they can continue their good play.

    And let me just add that I really enjoyed watching the Cavs dismantle the Celtics last night. Not that I love the Cavs or anything, but for some reason I just love watching the Celtics loose. I can’t stand about half of the guys on that team (especially Rondo and Perkins) and how awesome they think they are because they traded their whole frickin team away to win a championship. They’ll be back at the bottom of the East eating leftovers in another couple seasons, just wait and see.

  7. Mark says:

    There is no question Tayshaun is the guy holding this team together. And what about Mcdyess grabbing 12 boards in just 23 minutes of action last night? He grabbed 13 boards in 28 mins against Portland, and 15 boards in 23 mins against the Clippers. Dyess is doing the dirty work, and getting it done for the Pistons.

  8. william says:

    had afflalo missed 1 freethrow, the w would definately gone to denver. afflalo needs consdieration to the sophmore game

  9. The Fluidics says:

    I don’t necessarily agree that Rip needs to be coming off of the bench, but that quote is not from a team player, and has EGO written all over it. Makes me like him just a little bit less.

  10. ben says:

    i say we trade for amare

  11. Totally agree, Fluidics. Regardless of what we do when everyone’s healthy that’s not the attitude you should have… especially when the team’s only lost one game while you’ve been sidelined.

  12. Ryan Collins says:

    Natalie, I don’t think you should call afflalo Aflac. it seems insulting to equate him with annoying commercials.

  13. The Fluidics says:

    Sheed calls him afflac in the clip on how much Afflalo eats.

  14. DEEEEEETROIT BASKETBALLL says:

    het nat great job with n4s i love it like always. i like the chauncey/rodney pic that was sweet. one thing though: no mention of sheed in this blog entry! i think its called need4SHEED for a reason lol… anyways great job as usual!

  15. KG says:

    I’m still saying AI off the bench cause at this point it sounds like he would be more willing then RIP. And It’s proven fact that Stuck and RIP play better together, but we’ll see where this goes.

    Great game in Denver sad that I didn’t get to see it. For the record DON’T GO SEE UNBORN!!!! It’s an awful movie lol

  16. haley says:

    When Denver plays Detroit at the Palace I hope they don’t boo Chauncey, I hope they applaud him

  17. boomann says:

    Hey KG if you want to see the game go to onenation.dox4.com. It shows all the games. It’s a great site

  18. Kyle C. says:

    I think fans would only boo a player if they left on choice like Ben Wallace. Chuncey was in a trade and everyone knows it.
    Against Utah tonight I hope that we can have Sheed back because without Sheed, Stuck, Rip that game would be incredibly hard to win.

    Nat, I noticed that there is no Will Bynum animation on the left with all the other players.

  19. Chris says:

    hey boomann is that site for real?no spyware or viruses bro??

  20. The Fan says:

    The line up when healthy should be. Sheed, Prince, Rip, Stuckey, Amir/Maxiel. Let Iverson come of the bench with Affalo. Rip has the best shot on the team.

  21. pistons01 says:

    I agree with KG. Obviously Rip isn’t willing to come off the bench, but if anyone saw the new jersey game on new years eve, george blaha and greg kelsor both sadi rip would be the one coming off the bench in the pregame show. i dont want that to happen. Rip deserves to be in that line up.

    Not that AI doesn’t, b/c he has really surprised me by how much he has tried to fit in with this team. He really wants that ring. Besides Dyess and AI off the Bench would be a LETHAL combo.

  22. pistons01 says:

    O yeaahhh …

    MC needs to take an hour of their next practice doing one thing..

    SHOOTING FREETHROWS!!!!!!! :-)

  23. Chris says:

    I agree pistons01 imagine having AI and ‘Dyess off the bench!That would be crazy! I think when Rip comes back from his injury, I reckon he’ll come off the bench for the first few games. Eventually AI would come off the bench.

  24. boomann says:

    Yeah Chris it’s a legit site. Check it out. I”ve been like a Pistons scout these past few weeks

  25. Anon says:

    Its actually not a “proven fact” that Rip and Stucky play better together then Iverson and Stucky. Stucky compliments both well. Infact the only person who seems to have not gotten accustomed to playing with Iverson is Rip. Considering the fact that the Pistons went on a 7 game win streak and are 8-1 (should have been 9-0, that Blazers game was killer) with AI and Stucky starting together does not help make Rips case any better right now. The team is starting to get a little more consistant and starting to get down and dirty to ground out wins in games. I dont get when I hear people say “Iverson wants to win a ring so bad, he’ll sacrifice and come off the bench if he has to”. When the fact is it is not gaurenteed that the Pistons will contend for a ring this year, so him coming off the bench isn’t going to make their odds any greater. They have a good bench regardless of who comes off of it.

    Fans are stressing themselves out about this topic, Iverson is not coming off the bench (and probably not Rip either) so people might as well get over it and move on. I dont see why they cant just start both AI and Rip at the beginning off the game (just to keep down conflict) and substitute early…its more about the proper substitutions then anything else. Its more about a teams chemistry and everyone wanting to work together with this new team, because regardless of what some fans try to think, this is a NEW type of Pistons team. IMO, people need to keep it professional (stop with the resistance) and do what they feel is best for the benefit of this team. I can understand where Rip is coming from, but that quote does not help him or that team out right now…he should have kept that comment to himself. I like Rip a lot, but this crybaby attitude he has had since Chauncy was traded is starting to get annoying, its like get over it already.

  26. pistons01 says:

    ^^^^^no one said the pistons are guaranteed a championship…. of course they will contend … anything can happen in the playoffs and every team that makes it is technically “contending”

  27. Richie says:

    I’m surprized by the quote from Rip, but I wouldn’t take it too seriously. He said it “informaly” and we don’t know the context, the manner of question or how seriously or half heartedly he said it so I’m not going ot stress over it. It’s in MC and Joe D’s hands.

    Anon, Rip being upset about Chauncey leaving isn’t “cry baby” like at all. Half of us still miss Chauncey, with good reason. He and Rip were back court brothers, and argueably the ebst backcourt in the NBA when they were playing together. They also had Rip sign his extension before they told him Chuancey was leaving, which is dirty buisness if you as me.

  28. Vanalope says:

    I agree I would rather see AI coming off the bench than Rip, however I also am disappointed by Rip’s comment. Even though my my own preference is for him to not come off the bench, as I too think he works better with Stuckey and I think AI would work better as a mauler off the bench. Though I’m certainly not expecting that to happen.

    It is a shame when personal egos get in the way of what’s best for the team and I’m kind of sad that Rip just exhibited a prime display of that with the comment.

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