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Archive → January, 2009

Professional Game Coverage: Detroit 95, Toronto 76

Game Review: Detroit 95, Toronto 76

Well, all that fuss about a new, bigger lineup didn’t exactly pan out. The Pistons’ starting lineup lasted just 4:29 before a substitution had to be made.

They were outscored, 10-2.

They were outrebounded, 6-2.

Raptor power forward Chris Bosh, guarded by Amir Johnson instead of Tayshaun Prince, went 4-for-4.

Enter Jason Maxiell.

Maxiell replaced Johnson and provided the defense, hustle and inside game Detroit needs from its power forward. With the help of the fourth-year player from Cincinnati, the Pistons cruised to their biggest win of the year.

Maxiell went 7-of-10 for 16 points, grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds and had two blocks.

It’s just one game, but Detroit coach Michael Curry should give Maxiell a fair chance at starting over Johnson.

  • Richard Hamilton didn’t have his best performance in his first game coming off the bench in nearly seven years. He scored seven points on nine shots. And he played just 17 minutes, but a lot of that had to do with the game being out of hand late.
  • Unburdened with guarding power forwards, Prince was in the flow offensively. He made 11-of-16 shots and scored a game-high 25 points. 
  • Stuckey never seemed to take over the game, but he finished with 17 points, 7 assists and just one turnover. It’s amazing that this is now a quiet game from him.
  • Arron Afflalo didn’t make an appearance until the beginning of the fourth quarter. His minutes will definitely be down in this new rotation.

Live Blog: Detroit vs. Toronto

Game Preview: Detroit vs. Toronto

Date: Jan. 21, 2009

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Detroit record: 23-17

Toronto record: 16-27

Detroit probable starters:



Toronto probable starters:



Spread: Detroit -5.5

Outlook: Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.

Piston coach Michael Curry will start a larger lineup, and Richard Hamilton will come off the bench for the first time in nearly seven years.

It almost seems like an eternity since these teams met. With both holding 3-0 records, Detroit beat the Raptors earlier in the season.

The Pistons, who have three star-level guards, have struggled to find an identity. Toronto, which has lost six in a row, could be facing its own lineup controversy.

Jermaine O’Neal is set to return from injury tonight. But the Raptors already have Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani up front.

Anthony Parker has played well lately for Toronto, but Rodney Stucker is the bigger type of point guard that could slow him.

Curry appears to have the Pistons ready to match up with a big team, like the Raptors, just in time.

Also, be sure to check out Raptors Republic’s preview of the game.

Free Woes

After Ben Wallace left Detroit, the Pistons became one of the NBA’s better free-throw shooting teams. In the last two years, they’ve finished seventh and 13th in free-throw percentage – not spectacular, but solid.

But this year, Detroit has plummeted to 29th in the league. If all the Pistons were making their career average at the line, they’d be 12th.

So who’s to blame for the dropoff?

Allen Iverson is often painted as the scapegoat, but he’s shooting better than his career average.

In reality, there are two people to blame – Joe Dumars and Kwame Brown.


If Chauncey Billups’ season mark applied to the Pistons instead of Iverson’s percentage with Detroit, the Pistons’ percentage would 3.4 percentage points higher, and they’d be 17 spots higher in the rankings. So one of the downside’s of Dumars’s swap is big drop in free-throw shooting.

The other person to blame is Brown, and this one is much fairer.

Brown has shot a significant number of free throws – more than Rasheed Wallace (which says something about Wallace’s agressiveness).

If Brown had shot his career average at the line, just a lackluster 58.9 percent, Detroit’s percentage would be 1.2 percentage points higher, and the Pistons would be five spots higher in the rankings.

Now that Brown will return to the starting lineups on some nights, one of Detroit’s weaknesses will probably just get worse.

Check back for a preview of tonight’s game against the Raptors. There will also be a live blog for the game tonight, which begins at 7:30.

Hamilton to the bench

Richard Hamilton will come off the bench for the Pistons, according to Chris Lau of the Detroit Free Press.

Pistons coach Michael Curry announced today that Richard Hamilton will lose his place in the starting lineup as the team tries to overcome its recent struggles

Power forward Amir Johnson will replace him in the starting lineup most nights. Center Kwame will start against especially big teams.

Curry also said Will Bynum will see consistent minutes as the backup point guard, according to the Oakland Press’s Dana Gauruder. As Gauruder notes, with Tayshaun Prince’s move back to small forward, there won’t be many minutes left for Arron Afflalo.

Bynum has played in 24 games this year. He averages 3.8 points, 1.6 assists and 0.9 turnovers in 8.5 minutes per game.

Afflalo has played in all 40 of Detroit’s games. He averages 4.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game.

PistonPowered a part of ESPN TrueHoop’s blog network

We’re pleased to announce that PistonPowered is affiliated with ESPN’s TrueHoop Network.

This network offers an exciting way new way for fans to follow the NBA. The 17 other TrueHoop Network blogs can be found on the drop-down menu at the top of PistonPowered.

In addition to this new affiliation, we’ve redesigned the site. For those of you who have been here before, the layout is the only major change. If you’re new to PistonPowered, here’s a rundown of what type of posts can find:

Game Preview

Game previews offer the pertinent facts about the Pistons’ next game along with a brief outlook for the contest.

Live Blog

Looking for more when you’re watching a game? Head over to PistonPowered. During select games, you can join other fans in our live blogs. The live blogs feature PistonPowered’s commentary and reactions from readers.

Game Review

Game reviews detail the important and interesting information from the Pistons’ previous game.

Professional Game Coverage

These posts provide links to the professional coverage of the Pistons’ previous game – both from local newspapers and the outlets that cover Detroit’s opponent.


Besides posts that contain just links, all updates on PistonPowered updates provide some analysis. But the posts categorized under “analysis” give detailed takes on issues related to the Pistons.


Notes posts provide short, often timely, updates on the Pistons.

If you have any questions or comments, send us an e-mail at pistonpowered AT gmail DOT com. Thanks for reading.

-Dan Feldman and Graham Simmington

Professional Game Coverage: Detroit 87, Memphis 79

Living Large

It’s increasingly likely the Pistons will start their large lineup against Toronto on Wednesday, according to Keith Langlois of True Blue Pistons.

Michael Curry gave every indication before Monday’s win over Memphis to snap their five-game losing streak that the Pistons are returning to their big lineup,likely meaning either Rip Hamilton or Allen Iverson is headed to the bench.

Game Review: Detroit 87, Memphis 79

The Pistons couldn’t pull away from the Grizzlies, last place in the Southwest Division, until late in the fourth quarter.

But today’s game couldn’t have gone any better for Detroit.

Most importantly, the Pistons won their first game in six tries. Losing brings problems to the forefront, and it was important to end the skid.

But the win had second huge positive. The way Detroit won gives Piston coach Michael Curry the perfect opportunity to ditch starting the small ball lineup.

Allen Iverson went 5-of-6 for 12 points while playing the entire first quarter.

Richard Hamilton went 6-of-6 for 12 points and two assists while playing 10 minutes in the second quarter. Maybe playing the first six minutes of the game helped him get loose, but he sure lit it up when he came of the bench to start the second quarter. If he doesn’t need those first few minutes to warm up (he took just one shot in that span tonight), I might change my mind and think Hamilton, not Iverson, should come off the bench.

When not forced to defer to the other, Iverson and Hamilton both had excellent games.

Iverson  made most of his shots for the first time since Dec. 26 against Oklahoma City.

Hamilton finished 7-of-12 for 14 points. He also had six assists, his most since Nov. 23 against Minnesota. He was a great leader for the second unit, which TNT’s David Aldridge pointed out to him at halftime. Hamilton told him he’d be happy coming off the bench if necessary to win a title.

Iverson and Hamilton’s stellar play also allowed Rodney Stuckey to pick his spots. Stuckey didn’t have to control the offense as much as previous games. Stuckey went 7-of-12 for 14 points and had four assists and no turnovers.

The negative side effects of small ball still showed up, too.

Memphis, a poor rebounding team, beat the Pistons on the glass. Hakim Warrick came off the bench to score 12 points on Prince at power forward. And Rudy Gay scored 15 points on Hamilton at power forward.

Besides 40 seconds at the end of the game when the Grizzlies were obviously in foul mode, Stuckey, Iverson, Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince didn’t play together after the beginning of each half. This was the third straight game the quartet saw minutes just to begin halves.

So Curry is obviously coming closer to changing Detroit’s starting lineup. Will he finally get the guts to pull the trigger?

  • The balanced Pistons are starting to adjust to Iverson. He took 18 shots, and every other starter had 12.
  • Detroit had nice games from a pair of bigs off the bench. Antonio McDyess made all three of his shots, scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds. Jason Maxiell went 2-of-3 for seven points and had five rebounds.
  • The Pistons ended the game on a 10-2 run. The Pistons made all six of their free throws down the stretch after making just 8-of-16 from the line earlier in the game. Detroit is 28th in the league with a .741 free-throw percentage.
  • O.J. Mayo is going to be a star once he develops better shot selection. Mayo has all the physical tools, and he has a high basketball I.Q. for a rookie.