Need4Sheed Guest Writer: – Ryan Mathews (Email Ryan)
You know the speech every parent gives their child when they get involved in sports? The talk to ensure their kid that, “It’s just a game,” and they’re right. What happened at Quicken Loans Arena tonight was more than just a game of men banging bodies and exchanging baskets, it was a game that gave way to a situation that can put things in perspective for anybody.
- First of all, thoughts and prayers go out to Rodney Stuckey, as well as his friends and family. To see him slumped and hunched over on the bench in Arnie Kander’s arms was disturbing, and to see him wheeled out on a stretcher was unsettling to say the least, I could only imagine the mindset of Stuckey’s friends and family, not to mention his Pistons’ teammates after the twelve minute break.
- As Natalie mentioned, it wasn’t about basketball anymore, and a loss is the last thing the Pistons will be concerned about.
- When ESPN sideline reporter Heather Cox reported that officials thought Stuckey had a seizure, I couldn’t help but think of former Detroit Red Wings’ defensemen, Jiri Fischer.
- Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski recently was told by team officials that it wasn’t a seizure as initially reported, but instead that he was, “… lightheaded and couldn’t get his bearings, but he never lost consciousness,” which contradicts the early reports Heather Cox was relaying during the game.
- Updates revealed Stuckey was in stable condition and breathing on his own again, which is a relief, but remember, Stuckey had missed a couple games last season in November because of dizziness as a report by the Detroit News reminded me.
- Excerpt from NBA Fan House article in regards to the November 2008 game against Boston:
“…he was suddenly overcome with feeling dizzy and lightheaded. Moments after the halftime buzzer sounded, he dropped to his knees as he was walking off the court before being helped off by trainer Arnie Kander.
They got as far as the tunnel leading to the locker room before he leaned against the wall and eventually took a seat on a chair to gather himself. He eventually made his way all the way back to the trainer’s room, where he stayed for the rest of the game.”
- Stuckey played well in his only three quarters of play, notching eight points and ten assists, while Dick Bavetta missed a couple of blatant fouls as Rodney was hacked at the rim a few times tonight.
- Ben Wallace still out with a sore right knee he suffered in the Celtics’ game on Tuesday. His injury led to a small-ball lineup of Jonas at the five, Max at the four, Tayshaun at his natural three and Hamilton and Stuckey rounding out the backcourt.
- There was a reason the Pistons jumped out to such a nice lead in the first quarter… The Cavs’ defense and focus was about as loose as the sleeves on those Snuggies their fans were wearing en route to setting a record for the “largest gathering of people wearing fleece blankets” with 20,562. Glad to see our opponents still take us seriously…
- That lead got as big as 21 points, which is the largest deficit the Cavs had faced at the Q all season, but in the end, the Cavs pushed past a distraught Pistons squad, 99-92.
- Easy to get out to that 21 point lead when the Pistons shot 50% from the field in the first half, and the Cavs shot only 42% and 0 of 5 from deep in the first half, and couldn’t manage to knock down a three pointer until there was 6:40 left in the 3rd quarter.
- Pistons’ old timers showed up big tonight, especially in the first half. Tayshaun went 6-9 from the field in the first half, and finished the game with 23 points on 10-17 shooting. Rip added 20 on 7-14 shooting, but had 6 turnovers and three fouls (two offensive) in a minute span during the middle of the third quarter which coupled with the loss of Rodney, gave way to the unraveling of the Pistons’ lead.
- Anatomy of a comeback: Pistons’ had seven turnovers in the first half, but Cleveland forced them to cough up the ball seven times in the 3rd quarter alone. Pistons had 17 assists in the first half, but only had five assists after Rodney Stuckey left the game in the 3rd quarter. And of course, easy to mount a comeback when LeBron James is on your side and he has the home crowd to feed off of.
- I went to the Boston game on Tuesday and pointed out to a friend that Charlie V is looking to shoot every time he gets the ball, and it doesn’t matter where he gets it. Face up on the wing, on the block posting up, it doesn’t matter. Tonight in Cleveland? Chuck had ten touches in the front court and shot the ball nine times. There’s a reason I said ten front court touches. When he had to help out on an inbounds on the baseline in the backcourt, he got a hold of the ball, and I was wholeheartedly waiting/expecting for him to turn and heave it from our free-throw line.
- Jonas was held scoreless for the game, going 0 for 5, but his impact on the first half at the defensive end (as is the cast most often), was tremendous. Jerebko had 8 rebounds in the first quarter – ending up with 12 for the night – but his hands were constantly active in the passing lanes as he deflected passes while the Pistons were in the 2-3 zone and even blocked a couple of shots for good measure. SWEDEtastic! For the most part…
- Jonas must have felt he was watching his home country Sweden play hockey in the Olympics because LeBron put him on skates at the 9:24 mark in the 1st quarter as he blew past the Swede for a layup. If I had a gripe about Jonas at this point, he is playing pretty flat-footed in the paint, and he got caught doing a lot of this tonight as Varejao scored layup after layup on way to providing 16 points on 8 of 10 shooting off the bench for the Cavs.
- Speaking of the bench, Detroit’s pine players outscored Cleveland’s 32-28, but the combination of West and Varejao just flat outplayed Gordon and Villanueva.
- Maxiell did his best Ben impression again tonight, scoring 9 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, and a swat for good measure (while adding authenticity to the rendition by going 1-3 from the free throw line.)
- You can only hope Gordon will hit his stride (which he seemingly was in his first ten contests with the Pistons by averaging 21.9 PPG while shooting 49% from the floor) and find his niche soon after missing a good chunk of the season with that ankle injury.
- Anyone notice Tayshaun’s demeanor in his halftime interview when ESPN’s sideline reporter Heather Cox asked him to comment on a quote that Kuester made before the game? Heather asked Tayshaun, “… the last ten games, you’ve been playing as aggressive as he’s [Kuester] has ever seen, how’s your mentality changed over that span?”
- He cocked his eyebrow when she finished her question and the look on his face kind of said it all. Tayshaun answered after a slight pause and said:
“Well I would say that the last ten games is the first time I’ve been healthy all season, so, you know, it always plays a factor when you’re healthy because that’s when your confidence rises, when you’re not healthy, your confidence goes down low, so, it was an unfortunate situation earlier this year, but the past is behind me and I’m just trying to finish the season off strong.”
- He just seemed genuinely annoyed by Kuester’s remark as he walked to the locker room.
- Speaking of Kuester beef, why was he calling timeouts when the Pistons were down by eight with 14.8 seconds, knowing not only the game is over, but of the situation with Rodney Stuckey? Anyone notice that inbound play by the way?
- Player and human being of the night goes to LeBron James who had 40 points on 16 of 27 shooting, with 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.
- And by human being of the night, I mean the class act that LeBron exemplified tonight. To call his teammates back out and share a prayer at mid-court with the Pistons, you ultimately have to look past him for being ‘over competitive’ and not shaking hands in the Orlando series. Hey, as much as the guy has torn me apart as a fan and left me demoralized, no one can pass judgment on that gesture.
- Well, I didn’t expect my first article for N4S to have the words ‘Snuggie’ and ‘seizure’ in it, but I didn’t foresee something like this happening either.
- This game was just plain difficult to watch. Especially since just last night, ESPN was commemorating and celebrating the life of the late and great Hank Gathers, and the 20th anniversary of his far too premature passing. It just goes to show that the game of basketball, or any sport for that matter, is just a game.
- With that, I speak on behalf of Pistons’ fans everywhere who hope Rodney Stuckey makes a safe and speedy recovery.
Highlights of The Game
Video Courtesy of The NBA and The Detroit Pistons