Archive → March, 2009
Those calls came months after Hamilton, one of the Huskies’ all-time greats, had discovered alleged transgressions on an American Express card in his name but mailed to Nochimson’s address. Hamilton said he then found additional funds and 1.4 million Delta frequent flier miles missing before Nochimson admitted misappropriating the money. The total came to more than $1 million, according to multiple sources.
“He admitted to stealing,” Hamilton said. “He cried … I always remember my agent saying, ‘Rip, don’t put your hands on him because he’ll be able to sue you.
“[Nochimson] was doing everything off of me. He looks like a high roller. It’s hard for a kid because you may not have anything and you see this guy.”
“Pistons’ subs run out of gas,” by Chris McCosky
Detroit Free Press
“Pistons’ playoff hopes could be in danger after another loss,” by Vince Ellis
“Injury plague goes on,” by Vince Ellis
“Pistons’ slide continues with loss at Chicago,” by A. Sherrod Blakely
“Tayshaun Prince, Antonio McDyess logging big minutes for injury-depleted Pistons,” by A. Sherrod Blakely
“Chicago Bulls top Detroit Pistons 99-91,” by K.C. Johnson
“Derrick Rose misses first Chicago Bulls game with bruised right wrist,” by K.C. Johnson
“Kirk steps in and steps up,” by Brian Hanley
“Bulls notes,” by Brian Hanley
“Hinrich, Thomas lead Bulls over Pistons,” by Mike McGraw
So what if the Pistons entered last night’s game with Chicago losers in three of their last four games?
Detroit played all four without Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson — and one without Rodney Stuckey.
The Pistons beat the Clippers in the stretch. They played tough against the Mavericks, Rockets and Heat, too. All things considered the four games went almost as well as could be anticipated. A 2-2 record would have been a little nicer, but it’s hard to complain when the team is so decimated with injuries.
But without those three dynamic scorers, Detroit’s offense soared. In those four games, the Pistons’ offensive rating was 118.2. In the course of a complete season, that would be the best mark in NBA history.
Several players — Arron Afflalo, Kwame Brown, Will Bynum, Walter Herrmann, Antonio McDyess, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey — scored above their season averages. It seemed everyone stepped up, and that’s Detroit needed to overcome its injuries.
But the wheels fell off in a 99-91 loss to the Bulls last night. The Pistons offensive rating last night was 103.7. If they kept had that rating for the season, they’d be 28th in the league.
And if you remove Detroit’s 10-3 run in the final 1:20 of garbage time, the Pistons’ rating was 95.7 — which would be, far and away, worst in the league.
So went wrong?
Afflalo and Brown, who replaced Hamilton and Wallace in the starting lineup, had played extremely in the first four games without the usual starters. But they simply aren’t that good. Their inconsistencies on offense were bound to catch up with them, and they did last night.
Four-game stretch: 14.3
Last night: 2
Four-game stretch: 2.3
Last night: 0
Four-game stretch: 8.5
Last night: 5
Four-game stretch: 7.3
Last night: 11
Four-game stretch: 0.3
Last night: 4
The Pistons have four players who can create shots and hit jumpers with relative consistency — Hamilton, Wallace, Iverson and Tayshaun Prince. With three of them out, the Pistons’ offense becomes to simple to defend if the more one-dimensional players aren’t performing.
As noted by Count That Baby And A Foul in tonight’s live blog, Stuckey and Will Bynum can drive. Antonio McDyess and Arron Afflalo can shoot. But rarely can either pair do the other task efficiently.
Detroit leads Chicago by just one game for the seventh seed. The Bobcats loom two games behind that.
The Pistons need some combination of Hamilton, Wallace and Iverson back before Detroit shows how low reality could be for this group.
Date: March 24, 2009
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Las Vegas projection
Spread: Detroit +4.5
Score: Chicago wins 97-92
Detroit offensive rating: 107.2 (19th)
Detroit defensive rating: 107.7 (14th)
Detroit pace: 86.8 (29th)
Chicago offensive rating: 107.4 (18th)
Chicago defensive rating: 108.5 (17th)
Chicago pace: 93.2 (9th)
Score: Tie 95-95
Richard Hamilton is still out, and Derrick Rose might be, too, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Rose is a game-time decision with a right wrist contusion.
The Bulls have won seven of eight at home. They hold the East’s eighth seed and have a favorable schedule down the stretch. So there’s a chance they could catch Detroit, which is two games ahead of Chicago in the seventh spot.
John Salmons has scored 23.3 point per game since becoming a starter for the Bulls. But he’s the type of player Tayshaun Prince often excels at defending.
Rose’s health might be the difference maker tonight.
Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson will miss the Pistons game against the Bulls tomorrow, according to George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press. It doesn’t sound promising for Richard Hamilton, either.
Asked if there was any chance of Hamilton playing against the Bulls, Curry said: “I don’t know. I think Rip’s….it’s a matter of feel. I would say not likely, but I don’t want to rule him out.”
“Loss leaves Pistons fuming,” by Chris McCosky
“Iverson nears return to Pistons,” by Chris McCosky
Detroit Free Press
“Curry gets tossed as Pistons fall,” by Vince Ellis
“Wade’s defense notable,” by Vince Ellis
“Shorthanded Pistons lose it late to Dwyane Wade’s Heat, 101-96,” by A. Sherrod Blakely
“Iverson says coming off bench for Pistons not linked to missing games with back injury,” by A. Sherrod Blakely
The Miami Herald
“Dwyane Wade’s last-second shot block lifts Miami Heat over Detroit Pistons,” by Michael Wallace
“Miami Heat coach wants players to be more vocal,” by Michael Wallace
“Heat 101, Pistons 96 (Beyond the Box Score),” by Michael Wallace
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Dwyane Wade’s 39 points, team’s toughness down stretch key in Miami Heat’s win at Detroit,” by Michael Cunningham
“Ailing Dwyane Wade to avoid workouts the rest of the way,” by Michael Cunningham
“Heat 101, Pistons 96,” by Ira Winderman
In many ways, there isn’t a lot to take from the Pistons’ 101-96 loss to the Heat yesterday. Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson were still out. In a week, Detroit will be a much different team.
But there are three key lessons that can be taken from the final six seconds of the game. They won’t be learned, of course. But they should be.
Passing during the final possession actually helps
Henry Abbot of TrueHoop explains well how Detroit’s final possession was misguided. Isolation plays, which most teams resort to in crunch time, are too easy to defend.
Down by one with six seconds left, Rodney Stuckey drove right. Wade stayed with him, and Jamario Moon was ready to double team. Stuckey couldn’t get close enough to the rim to attempt more than a twisting jumper, which Wade blocked.
Everyone knew the Pistons would run an isolation play. That’s just what NBA teams turn to at the end of games, so it was easy to defend.
Detroit’s possession before that began the same way, with Stuckey driving right. But he kicked the ball to Walter Herrmann, who hit a 3-pointer from the corner.
The Heat thought Stuckey was going 1-on-1 then, too. And that’s how Herrmann got open.
A play like that (you know, one with at least one pass) would have been much better.
The last minute should be officiated like the rest of the game
On that final play, Rodney Stuckey got fouled by Wade. It wasn’t called, obviously.
Wade didn’t get the benefit of the doubt because he’s a superstar. He got it because refs routinely swallow their whistles at the end of games.
It’s a dumb practice, and I wish it would end.
Not calling fouls isn’t letting the players deciding the game. The refs not making calls they normally would is deciding it.
Michael Curry has to be better
After the no-call on Wade, Pistons coach Michael Curry lost it. He picked up two technicals and an ejection.
Passion is fine, but that tirade cost Detroit any chance at winning the game.
The Pistons trailed by one with .6 seconds left and fouled Udonis Haslem after Wade’s block. Even if he hit both free throws, Detroit would have had one shot at a tie.
But giving Miami four free throws basically ended the game.
Even Sheed probably would have kept his cool in that situation.
Shortly, Hamilton, Wallace and maybe even Iverson will be back. This game will be a blip on the radar, unless it means the difference for playoff seeding.
But it could be an opportunity for improvement. Unfortunately, it assuredly won’t be.
Teams will continue to call isolation plays at the ends of games.
Refs will continue to swallow their whistles at the ends of games.
Michael Curry will continue to show he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
At least there’s a chance that last one will change at some point.
Date: March 22, 2009
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Las Vegas projection
Detroit offensive rating: 107.1 (19th)
Detroit defensive rating: 107.5 (13th)
Detroit pace: 876.8 (29th)
Miami offensive rating: 107.5 (17th)
Miami defensive rating: 107.7 (14th)
Miami pace: 90.3 (21st)
Score: Tie 95-95
It was bound to happen — the statistics project a tie. But, obviously, that won’t happen.
Rodney Stuckey will be back, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson? Not so much, although there’s a small chance Hamilton plays.
The Pistons are two games behind the Heat for the fifth seed in the East. In addition to tomorrow’s game, the teams play in their final game of the regular season.
Also check out ESPN’s Sunday Dime, which looks at the Pistons and Heat from a variety of angles.