The season of strange starting lineups continued tonight, as the Raptors traveled to Detroit to face off against the Pistons who were in the middle of a 3 game losing streak. The Pistons 4 oldest players started (with Monroe), and used a 38 point 1st quarter to jump out to a huge lead to overtake the reeling Raptors ballclub.
3 players for the Pistons carried the scoring load – Hamilton with 24, Prince with 22 and Greg Monroe with 21 to go along with 10 rebounds. It was clear the Pistons were going to pull this one out from the jump, their cuts were sharp, and their jumpshots were falling.
Rodney Stuckey came off the bench and had 14 assists to go along with 3 points (all from the free throw line) and Ben Gordon scored 6 points in 13 minutes.
- These St. Patrick’s Day uniforms have got to go – the Raptors uniforms are hideous
- Former Piston great Amir Johnson missed the game with an ankle
- The Raptors do have a pretty impressive group of youngsters who have been playing well of late – Andrea Bargnani, the most recognizable name from the bunch lead the Raps in scoring with 20 points
- Ed Davis, who a lot of Pistons expert writers were saying the Pistons would draft in this past year’s draft, was outmatched by Greg Monroe in the paint and on the boards
- 2 DNPs tonight for Detroit – Will Bynum and Jason Maxiell
- Richard Hamilton with a Pistons team high +15 on the night
- Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva played 13 minutes each – lowest minute total of all players
- The “Brazilian Blur” Leandro Barbosa filled up the cup for 18 points in 26 minutes off the bench for the Raptors
- 15,166 reportedly in attendance – the arena looked emptier than that
- Toronto was able to narrow the lead to 6 – and Detroit lead by as many as 20
- Rodney Stuckey had a career low in shot attempts tonight with 1 to go along with 14 assists. This honestly looked to me like one of those Kobe Bryant games where he tries to prove he’s not a ballhog and can be a distributor the team needs
- Hamilton, who averages 17.6 points a night against the Raptors, scored 24 points
- Recap via Pistons.com
The good thing about this win: the Pistons won. The bad thing, if there is a bad thing about winning: they’re now 6 games up on the Raptors in the Eastern Conference and they’re lined up with 6th-7th pick slot in the lottery.
Up next for the Pistons, Landry Fields brings his pals Jared Jeffries and Ronny Turiaf to the Palace on Friday when the Knicks go up against the Pistons. Pistons fan favorite Chauncey Billups will make his first appearance in a Knicks uniform on the Palace floor, so that should be exciting. Since Billups will be back in Detroit Friday, I’m sure we’ll be able to continue discussing what things would be like if we hadn’t have traded Billups 2 years ago, so there’s that…
If you’re looking for some interesting reading between now and then, check out the riveting discussion going on at Piston Powered with several of your favorite Pistons writers – N4S favorite Dave Hogg, N4S creator Natalie Sitto, DetroitBadBoys Brian Packey and Kevin Sawyer, MLive’s Justin Rogers, PP writers Dan Feldman and Patrick Hayes, and 2 guys who don’t believe other sports exist during the NBA season, then you need to make your way over there. Today they discussed whether or not Rodney Stuckey should be re-signed and in previous days they discussed Joe Dumars’ future and whether or not the team was on a treadmill of mediocrity.
43 point 2nd quarters don’t happen often for any NBA team, and when they do they often lead to convincing wins.
When you’re ahead by 25 points mid-way through the 3rd quarter, you assume you’re going to win. The other team usually throws in the towel and plays their bench. It’s a time where Darko Milicic used to see playing time for this team, back in the 2004 championship season.
No lead is safe with this Pistons’ team. I can break out the thesaurus all I want to look for ways to describe last night’s 120-116 loss to the Raptors… but I’ll put it this way: I’ve never been more embarrassed to be a Piston fan in my life, until last night.
Now that that’s out of the way, how about some highlights?:
- Hey Coach Kuester, what’s the point of starting Jason Maxiell if he’s only going to play 9 minutes?
- Oh and while I have your attention Coach – why does Ben Gordon only play 18 minutes last night?
- Ben Wallace with a career night: 23 points (including a 3 pointer!!!) to go along with 14 rebounds.
- Rodney Stuckey is improving, albeit slower than we’d all like to see, he poured in 23 points on 8-17 shooting with a career high 12 assists.
- Jerryd Bayless wins the nightly “Guy you never heard of before, but the Pistons made him look good” award – 31 points on 10-12 shooting (nice defense Stuck).
- Why is Ben Wallace playing 39 minutes when Greg Monroe is available?
- Richard Hamilton – 32 minutes. Ben Gordon – 18 minutes. Something’s wrong with this picture.
- Question for Mr. Dumars: Are we rebuilding or trying to win now? Austin Daye – 4 minutes, Greg Monroe – 24 minutes, Charlie V – 22 minutes.
- Tracy McGrady, who has been playing good as the Pistons’ backup PG only played 9 minutes.
- Leandro Barbosa with 22 points in only 27 minutes.
- Does this Dunk from Will Bynum make you feel better? I didn’t for me after this one.
- 13,000+ fans saw this game live and in person – do they get refunds? That’s dedication if you ask me. Pistons v. Raptors on a Saturday date night?
- No surprise here: Richard Hamilton with a team worst -12 +/-
- I would bet one of my paychecks that Austin Daye would score more than 12 points in the 37 minutes that Tay got.
- Assistant Coach Brian Hill is a well respected coach in the league, and has coached a few successful NBA teams in his career. (hint hint)
Not much else I can say. There is absolutely no excuse for this to happen. It happened earlier this season when the Pistons lost a double digit lead to the Bulls in Chicago. These 2nd half collapses are becoming a habit for this team.