LaMarcus Aldridge is in a tough situation. He plays in the Western Conference that is full of young, talented big men who all deserve to be on the All Star team. LaMarcus hasn’t openly complained about being one of the bigger snubs out West but last night, he proved to the Piston faithful that he was indeed worth of All Star consideration in the tough Western Conference.
Aldridge killed the Pistons on the pick and roll, all night. Chris Wilcox got used and abused the final 2 minutes of the game – by committing 2 costly fouls to give the Blazers 4 points and also by turning the ball over with a 3 second violation. Coach Kuester is also partially to blame for reportedly drawing up the final play as an iso for Ben Gordon, but for not calling a 2nd option which caused Austin Daye to shoot an off balanced 3 point shot that would’ve tied up the game.
The player of the night has to be Will Bynum who ended up with a stat sheet filling night – 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Bynum singlehandedly brought the Pistons back from down 7 points at the start of the 4th quarter to within 1 with 1 minute left in the game. When Coach Kuester subbed out Bynum for Stuckey at the end of the game, you could feel all the momentum being sucked out of the arena. This is one of the tougher losses the Pistons have had in a season full of tough losses – let’s look at the highlights:
- LaMarcus Aldridge scored 36 points on 12-17 from the field and 12-13 from the free throw line. A knock on Aldridge has always been his toughness in the paint, as he is definitely a finesse big rather than a bruiser. While he did torch the Pistons in the paint with points, he lived up to his soft nature by only pulling down 4 rebounds.
- Coach Kuester has taken one of Richard Hamilton’s bad habits (poorly timed technical fouls) and started use it for himself. Coach Kuester got called for a technical foul with the score 86-84 about halfway through the 4th quarter.
- One of the craziest contracts signed this offseason was by Blazers guard Wesley Matthews – 5 yrs, $34m – who contributed 26 points and lead his team with 7 rebounds
- Detroit won the rebounding battle in a game where both teams shot above 50% – 32-25
- Ben Wallace is slowing down – Wallace only played 18 minutes last night and grabbed 8 rebounds.
- Portland was able to go with a smaller lineup because of the matchups in the post with Ben Wallace and Greg Monroe. Aldridge held Monroe to only 9 points in 34 minutes, which were a Pistons team high.
- Detroit’s bench outscored the starters 57-43
- I’m surprised no one on the Blazers hurt their knees in the game – Greg Oden, Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby all were out with knee injuries.
- Jason Maxiell and DaJuan Summers were DNP-CD, while Richard Hamilton was out with a sore groin.
- Detroit had only 1 starter play more than 30 minutes, Portland had 4.
- Were those boos I heard when Coach K pulled Bynum for Stuckey in the 4th quarter?
- Play of the night: Jumpball between 2 of the NBA’s shortest players in Will Bynum and Patty Mills.
I want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day – hopefully you get to spend it with a loved one or family. Tonight, the Pistons will face off against the Atlanta Hawks in the 2nd game of a 3 game homestand.