Just a week ago, Will Bynum played the entire fourth quarter against the 76ers. He was instrumental in helping the Pistons beat Philadelphia. But Detroit coach Michael Curry didn’t want Bynum’s head to get too big. Via the Detroit News:
“We don’t want Will thinking he’s going to be our go-to guy down the stretch now,” Curry said, laughing.
Thankfully for the Pistons, Bynum didn’t listen. He scored 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead Detroit to a 104-97 win over the Bobcats yesterday. The 26 points set a Piston record for points in a quarter.
The win gives Detroit considerable breathing room over ninth-place Charlotte in the playoff race. The Pistons have an 86.7 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to the Hollinger’s NBA Playoff Odds. Detroit is tied for seventh place with the Bulls and leads the Bobcats by three games.
The Pistons’ last five games are:
At New York.
Vs. New Jersey.
Chicago’s last five games:
Vs. New York.
And the Bobcats’ remaining schedule:
At Oklahoma City.
At New Jersey.
So, it’s most likely the Pistons will get the eighth seed and face Cleveland in the first round.
Richard Hamilton was ejected between the third and fourth quarters. He had a game-high 13 points at the time. So, someone obviously had to step up if Detroit was going to win.
Games like this might seem like small potatoes for many Pistons players. Detroit’s starters have played in 24 conference finals.
But this is Bynum’s grand stage. He has never been to the playoffs. He has played just 67 games in the NBA, starting only one.
Bynum, who finished with 32 points, seven assists and four rebounds, is having more fun than other Piston this season. Everyone else is concerned with Detroit’s fall from grace. Bynum is just happy to be here.
This isn’t life or death for him. That’s how he described the troubles of his South Side Chicago neighborhood in a 2004 Macon Telegraph article.
This is just basketball.It’s a sport he has always loved playing. And he’s playing for a team he grew up rooting for, even in the Windy City. From Pistons Nation:
To be honest I was a Pistons fan and in our household that almost always brought about many arguments..lol..growing up I never considered myself to be a tall player, so I tended to go for the team that related to my situation and Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars in my opinion were guards who dominated the game.
In his last 13 games, Bynum is averaging 14.8 points, 4.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds. He’s thriving in a role Allen Iverson didn’t want.
He has all the heart of Iverson, but almost none of the ego. After the game, he wouldn’t take any credit. He stood in front of his locker and said over and over how he couldn’t have scored without his teammates.
This isn’t the first time Bynum has been the go-to player late in a big game. When he was at Georgia Tech, he made a layup with 1.5 seconds left to break a tie against Oklahoma State and send the Yellowjackets to the NCAA title games. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
When Hewitt called timeout, he knew what Tech must do: find Bynum . “Because of his heart and competitiveness, we felt that was our best option,” Hewitt said. “In the huddle we asked the kids, ‘What do you want to run?’ Marvin spoke up and said, ‘Give it to Will .’ “
“He was going to take the shot,” said senior Marvin Lewis, who scored all 15 of his points on five first-half 3-pointers.
Curry final caught up with Marvin Lewis. Just in time to save a playoff berth.
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