Almost. For most of the game, the script looked to be playing out as expected. The Spurs were methodically beating the Pistons and imposing their veteran prowess on them. The Palace was quiet. But then, on a night where Ben Wallace broke the record for most games played by an undrafted player, he hit just his 7th career 3-pointer to spark a 20-5 Detroit run. In the end, the savvy Spurs executed better in crunch time and emerged victorious 99-95. But make no mistake; this was Ben Wallace’s night.
- In addition to the big 3-pointer, Ben played great defense and had a couple big offensive rebounds in the last few minutes.
- Rodney Stuckey finished with 23 points on 8-12 shooting. Greg Kelser made a great point that Stuckey’s points came within the flow of the offense tonight. He didn’t force things and was efficient because of it.
- Tayshaun shot the ball well, especially in the 1st half. Maxiell set some nice screens to free up Prince and Tay knocked down the open shots.
- Speaking of Maxiell, his box score doesn’t show much, but he did a nice job starting at power forward. He had 2 highlight worthy blocks and is definitely still capable of “baby-eating” when given the chance.
- Greg Monroe was off tonight. 4 points, (2 for 11 shooting), and 6 rebounds is not going to cut it for the Pistons best player. But he has taken a huge leap this year and one off night is certainly forgivable for the young forward.
- Manu Ginobili had just one point in 25 minutes. That one point came when he was intentionally fouled with less than 20 seconds left. In fact, he didn’t do much of anything all night except flop and flail when presented with any contact.
- Matt Bonner made his first three shots (all 3’s). I don’t understand why teams ever leave him open. I also don’t understand how Bonner is able to be such a great jump shooter with a jump shot uglier than mine.
- The Pistons had 22 assists and more importantly, just 13 turnovers, a low number for them.
For the fans that continue to stick with this team and invest free time and/or entertainment dollars, nights like tonight are rewarding. Sure, the final few minutes were a reminder of the long and difficult road ahead. But Ben Wallace had a few tricks up his sleeve and provided fans a reason to get off their seats and couches and cheer. And on this night, where he was honored for his consistency and longevity, Ben gave us all a reminder of why we love the Pistons, and why we love him. I’ll never forget watching Ben Wallace in a Pistons uniform this past decade. Tonight, he gave us all one more memory to enjoy.