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If you must start Richard Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey, it’s nice when they come through

Like most people, I was a bit surprised Rodney Stuckey and Richard Hamilton started against the Warriors tonight.

Unlike most people, I agreed with them starting.

The Pistons are in an unmanageable situation. They have too much invested in Stuckey and Hamilton to sit those players. They have a coach who may have lost the respect of the team but probably can’t be fired because the team is for sale.

I really doubt Kuester wanted to start Stuckey after the point guard disrespected him. It wouldn’t surprise me, either, if Kuester didn’t want to start Hamilton over Ben Gordon, who has been the better player. But he had to start Stuckey and Hamilton.

The only way for this to work is keep Stuckey and Hamilton happy and hope they play well.

It worked tonight. Stuckey (21 points, nine assists and six rebounds) and Hamilton (27 rebounds, five rebounds and two assists) shined in a 102-97 win.

Instead of playing two liabilities in the backcourt, the Pistons had two stars. Throw in tough team defense and a well-deserved double-double from Charlie Villanueva, and you can survive the sloppy start to the second half and earn an exciting victory. But it all starts with that backcourt.

They hit big shots down the stretch, moved the ball and played tough defense on Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry.

More importantly, their body language was great. At times this year, Hamilton has looked less than chipper. He needs to have a pep in his step to play this way, and he had it tonight. I wasn’t sure how Stuckey would react to his benching, but he came out focused and said the right things.

In his postgame interview with Ryan Field, Stuckey admitted he made a mistake and apologized to his coach and his teammates. I like that answer much more than the dismissive comment he offered earlier in the day about moving past the situation.

I don’t expect Stuckey and Hamilton to be so productive every night, but with the Pistons situation, it makes everything so much easier when they are.

Ben Wallace’s night ends early again

What’s up with Ben Wallace? He hasn’t played in the last four fourth quarters.

Is it possible, at his age, once he sits, he struggles to get loose again? Is Kuester overly worried about hack-a-Ben? Have strange matchups made this appear to be a trend, when it’s really not?

Pistons boosted by unlikely performance

Charlie Villanueva had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and he played good interior defense. The Warriors might just be a good matchup for him, but Villanueva used his strength to keep their bigs from getting comfortable looks near the basket.

Ben Gordon had six assists and no turnovers.

How often can you expect those two to play like that?

I think Villanueva’s performance is more sustainable. Gordon, although a gifted scorer, is not a point guard. If he can pass and take care of the basketball, that would be a new element of his game. Villanueva scores and rebounds – and defends this year – in spurts. If he has games like this consistently, that would be a big step for him. But it’s not unheard of for him to play this way once in a while.

On top of that, Ellis and Curry combined to miss all eight of their 3-point attempts. A few things just fell into place tonight.

Didn’t have to be so close

For most of the night, the Pistons were clearly the better team. But they lost focus for a few minutes early in the third quarter, and the Warriors pounced. (Again, what’s up with all these bad third quarters, especially when the Pistons hold a halftime lead?)

The Pistons went from missing good shot in the first half to missing bad shots in the second half. Against a team like Golden State, there’s a big difference.

Bad shots lead to long rebounds, and those long rebounds prevented the Pistons from slowing the tempo, like they did in the first half. Sprinting up and down the court like they wanted to, the Warriors opened the second half with an 18-5 run.

Prior to that, the Pistons played fantastic half-court defense, and give them credit for getting their offense and defense back on track. But a short lapse kept this game tight.

Free woes

The Pistons made just 19-of-28 free throws, including Greg Monroe’s 1-of-7 mark. The rank 25th in the league, shooting 72.1 percent.

This is probably just who the Pistons are – a poor free-throw shooting team.

4 Comments

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  • Nov 8, 20108:15 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    I expect Monroe to get better at the line. He actually has a decent stroke.
     
    and let me point out that Austin Daye hit key baskets at the start of the game and in the third quarter to prevent Golden State runs. Those baskets were clutch.

    i guess you cannot argue with Q after Rip plays like that but i still prefer the Stuckey/Gordon Will/Rip bakcourt pairings.

    But everybody moved the ball tonight. Nobody, except maybe Prince who is a little bit of a black hole, was selfish.

  • Nov 8, 20108:16 pm
    by Pratik Narula

    Reply

    I just don’t agree with Austin Daye starting at the 4…I can’t wait until JJ comes back..because all of our defensive problems will be solved. Starting Austin Daye..puts us at a disadvantage every single night..and allows teams to run..as we cannot get rebounds. Yes we are winning now, but this 4-game road trip will really determine how we stand for the rest of the season. You state why Ben Wallace is out during the fourth quarter every game. Because he is working his butt out there in the first quarter..bcuz he gets no help. Austin Daye is a good player..but I’m not convinced that he is a 4..he can definitely be a lot better at 2 or 3..taking advantage of his height.
    I’ve said this before..and will again..we need to start Greg Monroe at the 4 along Ben Wallace. Yes he’s young and only 20. But he’s been right behind Ben W. in terms of rebounds, and he can score. When he is starting…both ben and monroe can set screens for rip, in order to get open, stuckey can feed the ball to monroe in the post, who can finish..with a jumper.. or use his passing skills to find an open man. This will also allow Ben Wallace to get more free..and save up his energy for offensive rebounds..as was the case..when Rasheed Wallace took care of the offense in the post. With Daye..we have four outside shooters and a center who is the only one who crashes the paint for rebounds..and is too slow to get back on defense..so we get burned by every team we play..in the transition.
    Kuester wants Monroe to come off the bench and replace Ben W….where the hell has Jason Max been then..start him w/ Ben W. We use to start him with Rasheed when Ben left. But Monroe’s offensive game exceeds Maxiell’s. We could start Charlie, but then who scores for us off the bench with Gordon.
    As much as last year was a big disappointment with injuries. Injuries to Chris Wilcox and JJ has really messed up our defensive hopes. This Piston team can easily be winning the Central Division right now..with the Cavs leading at 3-3, just look at the way we lost to NJ, OKL, and Chicago. We can still do it..but not by playing small every single game. It has to be done DIFFERENTLy. I don’t know when Kuester will realize this. Maybe when we are out of the playoffs again. Really frustrating to be a Piston fan right now..I really wanted the Pistons to start strong and not have to chase back to .500 every two or three games..but again they have put themselves in that position. Stuckey and Gordon have been the scoring MVPs in late stretches right now..and should be the backcourt for the Pistons. And Rip should be traded for a good scoring rebounding center….but sadly that isn’t available right now. What did Utah do when they lost Carlos Boozer they added Al Jefferson. What did we do when we lost Rasheed..brought Ben Wallace back..and played bad enough to get a 7th draft pick..that we haven’t even developed in training camp or preseason..to make sure he is ready to start in the NBA like Favors in NJ. Really disappointing.

  • Nov 8, 20108:25 pm
    by Pratik Narula

    Reply

    This is how dynamic our line-up can be by making the simple move of Daye coming off the bench and Monroe starting alongside Ben Wallace.
    1. Rodney Stuckey 2. Richard Hamilton/Ben Gordon 3. Tayshaun Prince 4. Greg Monroe 5. Ben Wallace
    Bench
    1. Will Bynum 2. BG/Austin Daye 3. T-mac/A.Daye 4. Charlie V 5. J. Max/C. Wilcox (when back from injury)
    As a result we have 3 guys who can back Ben Wallace and Monroe..Charlie, Max, and Wilcox…and DAye can play the 4 if the coach wants on the second unit if they wanted to do: Bynum,BG,T-mac, Daye, Charlie. But not on the first unit. The first unit needs to set the defensive tone right from the beginning of the game. We are allowing teams to score almost 100 points a game on us..every night. Thats ridic.

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