Any thoughts on the Pistons tanking this season for a better chance at the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft were squashed last night as the Pistons turned back the clock a bit, and beat the Lakers 88-85 in overtime at The Palace. Games like this are the reason why I believe Lawrence Frank was the right hire for the job. This game was a guaranteed loser on the schedule under former Coaches John Kuester and Michael Curry, because of the negative response from the veterans to coaches they didn’t respect.
Rodney Stuckey was by far the star of the night, and the main reason why the Pistons were in it to win it at the end. Stuckey hit a big 3 pointer with 9.8 seconds left in the game to put the Pistons up 2, before Kobe came back to hit a clutch jumper to tie it up and send it to overtime. In overtime, Tayshaun Prince nailed a key 20 footer to put the Pistons up 1 before Stuckey stepped to the charity stripe to knock down the final 2 free throws which put the Pistons ahead for good.
- Rodney SssssssssssssssssssssssssTUCKey finished the night with 34 points on an efficient 13-20 from the floor. He also finished 1-1 from the long line, and not only was it a key 3 pointer that I referenced earlier but if you’ll notice, Rodney has improved from the 3 point line this season. He still doesn’t take a lot of 3s, but when he does he’s making them at a 35% clip – his career average is 28%.
- Ben Gordon showed some flashes off the bench, and while he had a solid night off the bench, he was mostly playing off of Stuckey’s hot hand, as he finished 7-15 from the floor with a team high +24 +/- off the bench.
- Jonas Jerebko finished a healthy 3-8 from the field with 2 key 3s – and a +10 on the night.
- As usual, skilled low post scoring big men gave the Pistons front court trouble – Andrew Bynum finished with video game numbers (34 points/15 rebounds) and Pau Gasol finished with 20 and 10.
- Greg Monroe held his own on the glass – he finished with 15 rebounds (8 defensive and 7 offensive). The Lakers’ size gave him fits on the block – he had a tough night offensively.
- Super Rookie Brandon Knight wasn’t so good in this game – 0 points, -14 +/-. The good news is he only turned the ball over 1 time.
- What happened to
Ron Artest?Metta World Peace? He looks like a totally different player these days. He and Tayshaun Prince have not aged well in their roles as starting SF on their respective teams.
- Kobe, lose the black mask bro. Rip Hamilton wears a clear mask every game to protect his nose. It’s not about fashion, it’s about function.
- Former Michigan Wolverine standout guard Darius Morris received a DNP-Coaches’ Decision for the Lakers as he remains buried in the rotation.
- The Laker big men could not do anything to stop Stuckey from finishing in the lane. Stuckey, who has had his issues in the past finishing at the rack, settled in a nice groove by attacking both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
- Way to go
LakersPistons fans! Last night was the 3rd sellout of the season.
- The Lakers are now 6-13 on the road. The Pistons are 10-11 at home.
And let’s not forget this highlight of the night – Stuckey taking old man Kobe to school.
Rodney Stuckey breaks Kobe’s ankles
MAY THE GORES BE WITH YOU!!! (seriously, I didn’t think anyone wore shimmery shirts anymore?). Gores should be a happy man – not only did the Pistons win a thrilling game against a team they’ve competed against 3 times in the Finals, but they did it in front of a sellout crowd that was reportedly 60% Lakers fans. Way to go Pistons!
Next up for the Pistons is Jeff Teague and the Atlanta Hawks on Friday at 7:30 at the Palace. The Hawks are 7-8 in their last 15 games as they’ve fallen a bit on hard times as the injury to Al Horford has finally caught up with them. Meanwhile on the other side of the court, the Pistons are on a bit of roll having pulled together wins in 9 of their last 15 games. The Hawks are currently sitting in the 6th seed spot in the East, while the Pistons are 5 games back of the 8th spot. The Hawks aren’t looking up too high though, as their playoff opponent (if the season ended today) the Orlando Magic are the 3 seed and they’re only up 1 game.
The Hawks have a lot to play for, whereas the Pistons are scraping together win after win and building confidence in their young core for the future. With the way this rotation has settled in a bit lately, and the roll they’ve been on, I don’t see where Charlie Villanueva fits in when he comes back unless he takes Jason Maxiell’s minutes. Maxiell has been providing solid numbers as the starting power forward since taking over for Ben Wallace.