There were countless things that didn’t happen tonight, that lead to the Pistons getting the beatdown tonight from the Cavaliers. Poor rotation on defense, guys out of position, offensive sets that were out of sorts, guards firing bullet passes to big men not ready for them, etc. Tonight’s game was flat out hard to watch.
The lone bright spot for the Pistons was the emergence of 2011 lottery pick Brandon Knight. Knight enjoyed a bit of a coming out party against his lottery mate, Kyrie Irving, with 23 points on 10/13 shooting including a 3 pointer to close out the 2nd quarter and 10 points in the 3rd quarter. The kid proved why the Pistons decided to pick him with the #8 overall pick in this past year’s draft, and like George Blaha said, this is the first of many games like this for Knight.
- Vernon Macklin saw some garbage time minutes, and finished 1/2 from the field with his only basket coming off of a highlight worthy no-look pass from his draftmate, Knight.
- Jonas Jerebko got outplayed all night by the veteran Antawn Jamison and got outmuscled by Samardo Samuels and Tristan Thompson.
- Ben Gordon got in kind of a rhythm, finishing with 25 points on 9/19 shooting.
- Pistons were outrebounded 40-26 on the night.
- Paint defense is still an issue, and is even more of a concern against a team that doesn’t have much upfront offense like the Cavaliers. Samardo Samuels and Anderson Varejao got what they wanted by simply cutting to the basket.
- Cavaliers backup point guard tried to “tit for tat” with Brandon Knight in the game – he ended up with 16 points on 4/11 shooting with 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
- There were many possessions where the Pistons were taking perimeter shots, with only Greg Monroe near the basket. This is not how you improve your rebounding totals.
- Greg Monroe finishes with a better 2nd game – 10 points and 7 boards.
- Brandon Knight scored 23 of the Pistons 25 points off the bench (the other 2 being from the garbage time dunk, by Macklin).
- The Pistons lineup is missing Charlie Villanueva (LOL!).
- Tayshaun Prince ended up with a -15 for the night with Ben Gordon, Ben Wallace, and Jonas Jerebko with a -13.
- There were several plays that showed why Irving and Knight were so highly regarded out of college this past draft season. Knight definitely has a developed 3 point shot, while Irving has the ability to cut to the rim and finish with relative ease. Now if only both teams can build around their centerpiece point guards, the Pistons and Cavaliers could have quite a point guard rivalry for the next 12 seasons.
- Lawrence Frank is now 0-19 in his last 19 games as a head coach in the NBA.
Video Highlights via Pistons.com
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This was a tough game to watch, you guys. Aside from the awesome opening, with the new hype video and the gospel singers, the new cheerleading squad and improved dance team, and the halftime show with Taio Cruz.. this is going to be a long season for Pistons fans. There were some highlights tonight that I wasn’t expecting: Brandon Knight coming out, and Ben Gordon finding a rhythm. There is also a lot for this team to work on, but there is nowhere to go but up.
It should be exciting to get in on the ground floor now with a team that appears to finally be putting the right centerpieces in place for another long run. Lawrence Frank appears to be in full on “teacher” mode right now with guys like Brandon Knight, Austin Daye and Greg Monroe. So long as they’re willing to be open to the new system, there is no reason to think that this team won’t improve soon off of these 2 season opening losses.