OKC Thunder spoil Pistons’ home opener

Posted · 9 Comments

44-20.

No, that wasn’t the final score.  That was the free throw difference on the night.  The Oklahoma City Thunder went to the free throw line 44 times compared to the Pistons 20.  The Thunder converted 21 more times from the line than the Pistons did.  Credit the Thunder for being aggressive on the offensive end when their jumpshots weren’t falling but let’s be honest… Isn’t Durant getting the LeBron treatment with the refs?

Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon had one of the best games in recent memory, and it wasn’t enough as the Thunder beat the Pistons 105-104 on a layup by Jeff Green with just over 2 seconds left in the game.  Unlike last night, where the Pistons were given the opportunity for the last shot, but couldn’t convert, tonight they were given a chance to run a play with under 10 seconds and actually achieve a positive outcome.

Ben Gordon agains the Thunder

Photo/AP

With the score 103-101 Thunder leading and 14 seconds left in the game, the Pistons inbounded the ball and passed off to Ben Gordon who drove his man to the basket.  As Gordon blew by his man, Thabo Sefolosha left his man (Charlie Villanueva) alone in the corner for the drive and kick corner 3 to put the Pistons up 104-103.  Then on the next inbound play, Jeff Green, who had shot poorly for the better part of the game, was able to take Jason Maxiell off the dribble for a layup to win the game for the Thunder.

  • Kevin Durant was held in check most of the night but was still able to pour in 30 points on 24 shots, while pulling down 8 rebounds.  The numbers tonight were right near his career averages of 24.8 ppg and 7.5 rebounds per game against the Pistons.
  • Charlie Villanueva has put up back to back solid games off the bench.  Tonight, he added 12 points and 7 rebounds and was a team high +8 in the plus/minus category.
  • Bless Jason Maxiell’s heart.  He’s willing to guard some of the toughest big men in the league.  He’ll guard whoever he’s asked to guard.  So the blame falls to Coach K for the matchup of Maxiell on Jeff Green which allowed for the game winning layup to happen.  Jeff Green, although listed as the starting PF for the Thunder, is more of a SF and it showed as he was able to use his quickness off the dribble to blow by Maxiell on the way to the basket for a nearly uncontested layup.
  • Rodney Stuckey scored 24 points on 10-18 shooting with 9 assists and 5 rebounds and added some pretty solid defense against Russell Westbrook, one of the better PG in the  Western Conference.
  • Ben Gordon had an efficient scoring night off the bench – 32 points on 16 field goal attempts.
  • Hurry back Will!  Will Bynum missed the game with a sore hamstring.

Tough loss for the home opener of the 2010-2011 season for the Pistons but, there’s reason to find some hope in this loss.  Although it’s clearly evident that the Pistons need front court help (Villanueva was the only “big” who had double figure points), the guards (Stuckey, Gordon and Hamilton) are making the most of their chances on the floor and converting at a high percentage.

Join me later on tonight for the Live Game Chat as the Pistons travel to Chicago to face the Bulls, in their home opener.

9 Responses to "OKC Thunder spoil Pistons’ home opener"
  1. Drew says:

    This may be loser talk, but I feel like last night was a win even though we lost. I’ll come back to reality when I look at the standings in a couple weeks. We worked so hard to finally retake the lead. Stuckey emerged as a confident leader, single-handedly keeping us in the game in the 3rd quarter, while Gordon kept us in the game in the 4th. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Stuckey’s points and assists so high in one game (it’s usually one or the other).

    Btw, I don’t think Maxiell was slated to guard Green on the last play. There was a traffic jam and I believe he had to switch onto Green, and you know the rest from there. Maxiell looks a little out of shape this early. Maybe he’ll be in shape by mid-season, like Rasheed always used to do. In the meantime, play Greg Monroe some of those minutes!

  2. Tycoon says:

    There were some missed calls on our end and bad calls against us. Noticed the foul called on Tay on Harden? No wonder why they had 44 free throws. But we played hard and kept it close. We deserved to win this one.
    BG did everything right except for the final 2.7 where he could threw up a shot. Imagine if he threw the ball on half court and got a foul, his defender was so near him.
    And yes Max defending Green was a bad match up clearly, he gave away the driving lane. Daye could have done better with his long arms.
    But hey we will not fall 0-5 right?

    • pistons 4 life says:

      Notice also how the officials did a make up call within 30 seconds of Tays bogus call by calling a cheap foul on Harden against Tay. Typical NBA officiating.

  3. Lori says:

    I think that the deciding factor in this game was the high turnover rate, not the final 2.5 second defensive gaffe. A lot of those turnovers were really inexcusable.

  4. pistons 4 life says:

    I’m not one to usually rag on the officials, but my goodness. This one seemed a little one sided. I know the Thunder were and are a very aggressive team, but I felt like they would get a call on their end, and then Gordon or Stuckey, or anyone for that matter would do the exact same thing 10 seconds later and not get the call. I don’t know how many times our guys got absolutely hammered in the paint and …..nothing, no call.

    The main thing I noticed though was when they did get to the line they didn’t even shoot that great of a percentage. If they would have made 2 or 3 more of their free throws, end of story, they win the game.

    I ragged on coach Kue after the Nets game, but I have to admit, a lot of the mistakes I saw them make in that game they didn’t make as much in this game so I have to give him credit for that.

    Over all, this was a good game. They played pretty good defense and they actually ran what looked like an offense for once. Hopefully they’ll just get better from here on out and they don’t have any major injuries.

    Oh, and what the heck is up with Monroe? I didn’t see him again last night. Is there something wrong with him that I don’t know about? I’m a little miffed as to why we haven’t seen our #7 pick in a real game yet.

  5. Ryan says:

    Just want to give everyone a heads up.
    Tonights game against Chicago is not televised unless you have League Pass, but League Pass broadband is free until November 2nd. And this is one of the only games that will not be blacked out on League Pass. It comes in with a clear picture as well unlike that other website you might be able to catch it on.

    Ill post the link to the league pass page below.
    http://www.nba.com/leaguepass/index.html

  6. PistonsFanFromMONTREAL says:

    It’s a little absurd Monroe hasn’t had any PT yet. This isn’t the case of Milicic on a contending team…

    We’re rebuilding! We need his low post presence…Give the guy a chance to at least gain some experience, as opposed to playing Daye (normally a SG/SF) at the 4!!!

    Frusterated….

  7. terry says:

    I made a pledge to myself that I wouldn’t use the refs as an excuse for Piston losses, but DAMN THAT WAS THE WORST LOPSIDED OFFICIATING I’VE SEEN IN SOME TIME! Nearly every time CV or any Piston went to the paint Thunders did everything except punch them in the face, and I don’t blame them if the refs aint calling it. But then on the other end Pistons could barely breath on ANY Thunder without the whistles flying, and I understand why they had the edge in free throws they were more aggressive early but 44? With that said, that wasn’t an ALMOST uncontested layup at the end, that was uncontested. I’m pretty sure Kue expected more effort from Maxiell than that, I mean he almost looked like he was trying to introduce Green to the basket. Play up, take the right side away, and force someone who was struggling most of the night and who was panicking to shoot over you or force him to the middle where you had help. Gah! Oh, and thanks for the heads up Ryan.

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