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There were two big stories in Orlando Friday night. Richard Hamilton returned to the starting lineup for the Pistons and they won. It was a familiar and cohesive looking Pistons team that took the floor and didn’t back down until the job was done. The 93-85 victory over a strong Orlando team on the road could be just what the Pistons need to get them into gear and try to salvage what’s left of this season.

Key Points:

  • Tayshaun Prince started things off for Detroit from the tip. He looked to score in this one and he did, finishing with 17 points on 7-14 shooting in 41 minutes on the floor.  He played the role of scorer and defender last night, just 2 assists for a Tayshaun Prince who’s had to run this offense a lot this season.
  • Just three Pistons in double figures, while all five of Orlando’s starters scored 10 or more.
  • If you were watching the game you saw something quite familiar that we have come to know and love as Pistons fans. DEFENSE! Dwight Howard scored 21 but not many of them came easy.  And holding Lewis to 10 and Turkoglu to 13 was just what the Pistons needed to to to get the job done.
  • Rasheed, Maxiell, McDyess and, yes, Kwame Brown did a nice job defending Howard.
  • 15 Turnovers for Detroit really would have stuck out more had they lost this one. Ten of those came in the first half.
  • Richard Hamilton led all scorers with 31 points on 11-for-18 shooting in 41 minutes on the floor.  Rip was aggressive and looking for his shot all game long.  He added 6 assists and a board and him coming off screens and hitting his shot was a thing of beauty.  Richard Hamilton Highlights.

Rip Scores 31

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  • Hamilton again reiterated the comments he made the other day and said he wasn’t cool with coming off the bench unless his team was winning. Something had to change and it did, Rip made sure of it. I think he made it clear by his words and his actions that that’s not going to happen again anytime soon.
  • Allen Iverson returned to Detroit to get his back evaluated and wasn’t even in Orlando for the game. He will not be in Boston for tomorrow’s game against the Celtics either. This is just the way my mind works so bear with me. Anyone else think the “injury” (not saying he doesn’t have one) to his back may help him save a little pride going to the bench? Think it may be milked more to help AI make the transition? It was just the first thing that popped into my mind because AI seems to take a lickin’ and keep on ticking, so the fact that he wasn’t in Orlando and won’t be in Boston just made me wonder. I always used to say the only way to stop him from playing was a bullet hole, and my guess is if it was superficial he’d still take the court.
  • Chris McCosky – “Curry, who gave Iverson the news Thursday night, said Iverson wasn’t happy but that he expects him to handle it like a pro.” “He’s been trying to play hurt and he’s been frustrated with that,” Curry said. “He didn’t react any different than Rip did when I talked to him about coming off the bench earlier.” “It’s nothing on Allen,” Curry said. “He’s a guy that needs the ball, and because of that it reduces the time Rodney Stuckey has the ball in his hands. That has taken away some of Rodney’s aggressiveness.” Via The Detroit News
  • Will Bynum and Walter Herrmann saw extended time, but it was the hustle of Jason Maxiell that stood out most. He may not have filled the stat sheet, but Maxiell made his presence felt. Just ask Dwight.
  • Amir Joshnson – DNP
  • Rodney Stuckey looked like the he did the first half of the season.  Whether this game helps him get out of his rut remains to be seen but he looked great in the Pistons’ win.  Stuckey scored 22 on 9-15 shooting with 6 1 assist in 40 minutes.  Great game for Stuckey, besides his 4 turnovers. Rodney Stuckey Highlights.

Rodney Stuckey

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  • The Pistons outrebounded the Magic by 10, 38-28.
  • Haven t heard George Blaha this excited on a broadcast in quite some time. Boy was he animated down the stretch when it looked like the Pistons weren’t going to give this up in the final minutes.
  • The Pistons outscored the Magic 28-14 in a dominating third quarter that helped Detroit put the game away.
  • FSN Highlights of the Game by quarter.
  • All heart from Antionio McDyess who did the dirty work in the Pistons’ win. Dyess scored 8 with 13 boards and a blocked shot in 40 minutes.
  • Sheed, 10 boards, 8 points and 2 steals.
  • “One thing with Orlando is that if we continue to play Dwight straight up with Rasheed there, it allows us to stay on their 3-point shooters,” Prince said. “And if we can eliminate that, then we put ourselves in good position to get the game.’‘ Via
  • Friday Rasheed Wallace was fined $25,000 by the NBA for throwing a towel into the stands and another in the direction of referee Bill Kennedy.
  • Maybe this is a solid answer to who is really running the show. This is what Rodney Stuckey had to say. “My teammates were getting on me,” Stuckey said. “When the boss man’s getting on you (Joe Dumars, Detroit’s president of basketball operations), you know you have to change something.” Via MLive

If you didn’t know it, the Pistons are the hottest team in the NBA with the longest winning streak, now at six games after their 98-92 win against the Sacramento Kings. On a night when the Pistons were without three of their key pieces in Rip Hamilton (groin), Rasheed Wallace (foot) and Antonio McDyess (ribs), the rest of the big names picked up the slack. Stellar nights from Tayshaun Prince, Amir Johnson, Allen Iverson and Rodney Stuckey were just what the doctor, or Arnie Kander, ordered.

Key Points:

  • Stuck-y Stuck-y Stuck-y Stuck-y! Was the chant from the Palace crowd late in the fourth quarter when Rodney Stuckey decided to add to his already superb show. None louder than when he was at 38 and everyone in the building was willing his last shot in so he could get to 40 again.
  • Allen Iverson didn’t disappoint either. Iverson not only played minutes he’s used to but he put up 23 points on 10-for -24 shooting. He grabbed 6 boards with 4 assists and a steal. His jumper with 15 seconds on the clock sealed the deal for Detroit and had him skipping to the bench when the Kings called their last timeout.
Video Courtesy of The NBA, The Detroit Pistons and FSN
  • “Right now we are starting to feel real good as a team,” Iverson said. “We are starting to get that confidence and swagger. We didn’t have that feeling at first. Obviously, running off six straight wins helps you feel a lot better, but we are coming together.” Via The Detroit News
  • Mr. Stuckey led the Pistons with 38 points on 15 for 29 shooting while going 8-for-10 from the line. He added 7 assists, 4 boards and 3 steals in 42 minutes on the floor. Remember that poise that we all loved in late game situations that Chauncey Billups always brought to the game? Stuckey seems to have inherited it.
  • Dyess and Sheed out-War of the boards lost 49-45.
  • Kevin Martin put up 20 and Brad Miller burned the Pistons for 25.
  • Detroit held the Kings to 33% shooting on the night.
  • What did Rodney think about the fans chanting his name? Here is his FSN post game interview with Eli Zaret.
  • Stucktacular Highlights. As Greg Kelser stated, “If you didn’t know, now you know.”

Rodney Stuckey scores 38

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  • Afflalo had a surprisingly cold night going 0-for-4.
  • Walter Hermann 5 minutes, 2 boards and 2 quick personal fouls.
  • A quiet 22 minutes for Mr. Maxiell, probably because Amir Johnson was tearing things up.
  • 36 points in the paint for Detroit to 30 for the Kings.
  • The Kings made 33 of 34 free throws.
  • Amir Johnson has been truly impressive since he’s been added to the starting lineup. Last night was no different as he had a career night in rebounding (14) and minutes (38). A double-double on the night adding 10 points to his 14 boards and his hustle was a big part of why Detroit won this game. Did I mention his 3 blocks? The kid goes after everything.
  • Amirzing Highlights.

Amir Johnson Career Night

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  • FSN Highlights of the game. Make sure you check out the bullet pass in the fourth to an open Amir (from Stuckey). He got his double-double just in time.
  • Alarming – Detroit was 75% from the charity stripe.
  • Tayshaun Prince had a huge night too, 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting with 10 boards, an assist and 3 blocked shots. It’s nice to see Prince play at his true position, that’s when he’s at his best. This pass from AI to Prince for the dunk was The Play of The Game.

Tayshaun Prince

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  • Tough West Coast road trip ahead for Detroit, starting tomorrow (Sunday Afternoon) against the Clippers. Here is to hoping we have at least some of the injured back on court.
  • As I told you, it was Need4Sheed’s suite night at the Palace. That’s a separate post altogether but let me just say, thank you David, the Pistons are a great organization and George Blaha is a saint!