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This was a tough loss for the Pistons.  Detroit was up by 4 going into the 4th quarter against one of the league’s best teams in Miami.  Austin Daye, Ben Gordon and Greg Monroe started in place of Chris Wilcox (LeBron started at the 4 with Chris Bosh out), Ben Wallace (out for personal reasons) and Rodney Stuckey (out with a shoulder injury).

Austin Daye held his own against LeBron James, about as much as a 210lb guy can expect to do.  Coach Kuester shortened up the rotation by not going to Jason Maxiell or DaJuan Summers even though he was without 2 key rotation guys.

Let’s look at some of the highlights:

  • Austin Daye got the first true test of his young NBA career, and didn’t do too bad.  He started matched up against LeBron James and stayed there the better part of the night and finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds.
  • Detroit lost this game because of their poor shooting – 38% from the field and by their ability to not get to the free throw line – 11 attempts.
  • Each team had a combined 15 turnovers.
  • Perpetual pest Eddie House took advantage of Detroit’s help D by scoring 15 points off the bench on mostly wide open looks.
  • Chris Wilcox finished the night with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes.  His value has certainly gone up in the last few weeks since he’s been seeing more time on the floor.
  • Tracy McGrady finished with 10 assists and 14 points – on top of a good defensive effort to keep the Heat’s Mike Miller from beating them on the perimeter.
  • CV was cold from the floor all night, shooting 2 of 10 from the field and scoring only 6 points on the night.
  • LeBron James took over in spurts and reminded us Pistons fans that he’s still capable of leading a team of no-names by scoring 39 points on 15 of 25 shooting.
  • Greg Monroe with a near double-double on the night – 9 points and 8 rebounds.
  • This road loss put Detroit at 5-20 on the season on the road.

The Pistons go up against the New York Knicks on Sunday, at Madison Square Garden.  Hopefully Ben Wallace will be back and able to start against Amare Stoudemire and the Knicks.

The latest incarnation of the Detroit Pistons’ rotation can be viewed as a bit of a “success” because of the success the team has had since the benching of former starting shooting guard, Richard Hamilton. Despite rumors saying he was benched to avoid injury for a trade, or for being benched for being a poor influence to a young group of players, it’s hard for one to argue that the team has not been better off without Hamilton in the lineup.

Tonight, however, the new lineup could not contain the defending Eastern Conference Champs in Boston. Detroit took a small lead at half after shooting 58% from the field in the 2nd quarter. It was an odd game all around for both teams: Tracy McGrady played 37 minutes for Detroit, Shaquille O’Neal was diving on the floor for loose balls, etc. At the end though, all the strange things that we saw resulted in a familiar sight for Pistons’ fans as Detroit lost to the Celtics in Boston, 86-82. Get to the highlights you’re saying? Sure thing:

  • Sometime during the 2nd quarter, Richard Hamilton got up off the bench and started stretching.  It was the most game action he’s seen in the last 4 games.
  • Stuckey has played well at the 2 since Hamilton’s benching – tonight he didn’t shoot well (5-14 from the field) in 28 minutes.
  • Mr. McGrady played 37 minutes and started at the point again for the Pistons.  Although he didn’t shoot too well from the field, he did provide 7 assists and has proven to be the most consistent backcourt player on the roster so far this season.
  • Ben Wallace was out with an ankle tonight which meant that Shaquille O’Neal basically had an open lane to the basket all night.  Shaq finished the game with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Boston outrebounded Detroit 47-32. … lol
  • Rajon Rondo played a game high 40 minutes and did not register double digits in points, rebounds, or assists but he nearly had a triple double.  Rondo also picked up a technical foul in the game.
  • Charlie V played 30 minutes off the bench for Detroit – it seems as if my wishes of Charlie becoming a starter for this team are fading by the game.
  • Highlights of the game via

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  • How about Chris Wilcox?  He’s getting close to 10 and 10 a night per 36, which isn’t bad for a $3m per year power forward.  Wilcox added 9 points with 7 rebounds to go with 1 blocked shot.
  • It looked like Detroit was going to pull out the win until they were unable to score a point in the final 2 minutes 43 seconds of the game.
  • This loss ended the longest winning streak of the season for the Pistons.  Think about that… 3 wins in a row
  • My how far we’ve fallen
  • Bynumite with 2 points in 10 minutes off the bench.
  • Nothing came of the KG – @CV31 battle.  I was sure KG would get one or two cheap shots in.
Charlie Villanueva and Kevin Garnett

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  • No playing time for Hamilton, Maxiell or DaJuan Summers tonight while Luke Harangody was the only Celtic healthy enough to play, but did not see action.
  • I really dislike the Boston Celtics and Tommy Heinsohn.

How fitting that the next game for the Pistons after the New Jersey Nets owner said “No deal” for Carmelo Anthony, is against the New Jersey Nets in New Jersey?

Hopefully Avery Johnson and Rip can share a good laugh during pre-game and maybe even a few pleasantries.  Detroit travels to New Jersey for a Friday night game against Kris Humphries and the New Jersey Nets.

If you follow my twitter feed (shameless plug here), you would see that I was counting down the minutes until Orlando started hitting their 3 point shots.  Orlando struggled with their 3 point shooting for the better part of the game, shooting 5-15 from 3 until early in the 4th quarter.  Orlando, behind the strong shooting of JJ Redick and Mickael Pietrus, finished the game by hitting 5 of their final 9 attempts from 3, to finish overall 10-24 from behind the long line.

I really have a deep dis-like for Dwight Howard, almost as deep as my dis-like for LeBron James, so when he gets a technical foul while playing against Detroit it makes my night.  I don’t know why I dis-like Howard, to be honest.  I think it’s because he’s begged and pleaded for respect from the officials, on top of stealing Shaquille O’Neal’s nickname and overall just being a clown.  My friend, Brian Spaeth, calls him “Sillycape” because of his antics at the NBA Dunk Contest the last 2 seasons.  Anyway, enough whining about superstars that aren’t on our roster:

  • Congratulations to Ben Wallace, who became the 3rd 4th active player in the NBA to grab 10,000 rebounds. We all know Ben’s story, so there’s no reason to re-hash here. Ben didn’t start off his career with the pomp and circumstance of Shaq or Tim Duncan (or Kevin Garnett) – so for him to finally get to 10,000 rebounds really shows the effort he has put into his game night in and night out. Well done, Mr. Wallace.
  • Doesn’t it seem like Jameer Nelson always struggles against the Pistons?  Tonight he scored 9 points on 4-12 shooting and 9 assists.  (He averages just over 12 points a game against Detroit in his career, on 45% shooting)
  • Jason Maxiell starts again, and plays 22 minutes but only has 1 rebound.. oh and, speaking of rebounds…
  • Detroit outrebounded again, 41-36.
  • Greg Monroe played about as well as you can expect a rookie that received his first extended playing time of his short career.  In 24 minutes on the floor, Monroe played Dwight Howard tough in the paint while scoring 4 points and pulling down 4 rebounds.  Monroe also blocked 2 shots, including a fast break block on a layup attempt by Jameer Nelson after he had just laid out on the floor for a loose ball the previous possession.
  • Redick and Pietrus were 5-11 from behind the long line.
  • The game was close for 3 and a half quarters.  Poor rotation on D killed the Pistons in the end.
  • No Austin Daye?
  • Tayshaun Prince continues his solid streak of play as of late – 16 points on 7-12 shooting and a couple of dagger 3′s after some good ball movement during the possessions.
Tayshaun Prince

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  • Dwight Howard was virtually invisible on the offensive end.  He put up 8 shots, and score 9 total points.  Monroe and Ben Wallace locked him down pretty good.
  • One of the best Pistons plays all season via

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Tough way to lose, if you ask me.  The ball movement was crisp, the defensive rotations were on point it’s just… it wasn’t enough to overcome the Magic and their ability to shoot the 3 ball tonight.  I think Austin Daye could’ve helped the team tonight, in a matchup against Rashard Lewis.  I believe Ben Gordon couldn’t get comfortable out on the court with the taller defenders leaning on him all night.  The screens weren’t real crisp, Hamilton and Gordon got hung up in their man while waiting for a screen to be set or their man jumped in front of the screener before they could curl.

The Pistons don’t have a chance to sit back and think about this loss though, because tomorrow night they’re going to go up against Joel Anthony and the Miami Heat.  Miami is coming off of some pretty bad losses recently and are no longer really on pace to be the best team in the history of the NBA (not to mention the players are pushing the coaches around now too). It’ll be a tough game for the Pistons but, with the Heat’s recent struggles and the much overhyped “Homecoming” for LeBrick LeTravel LeCrabDribble LeWhine LeJerk LeBron James, Detroit is in prime position to squeak one out.