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John Kuester must be restrained from Tayshaun Prince in loss to Warriors, Villanueva and Ben Gordon nearly lead Pistons back from 32-point deficit

It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of a late comeback, but it rarely holds significance.

When teams get a big lead, they lose focus, play reserves and stifle  aggressiveness. There are several reasons they should see their lead dwindle, so I can’t get too excited when the trailing team makes a dent.

But the Pistons were down so much tonight (32 points) and played so hard for such a long period of time (eventually cutting the lead to two), this comeback actually meant something. If there were no other factors, even though the Pistons lost to the Warriors, 101-97, the comeback would have given me hope going forward.

But there are other factors.

During a second-quarter timeout, Pistons coach and John Kuester and Tayshaun Prince had another incident. I’ll let those at the game explain.

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

#Pistons Prince and Kuester going at it in the huddle…Prince throws down towel and barks at Kuester….Kuester walks his way and held back

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

Q giving it to Tay and Tay waves him off. Coach Walker separates the 2. #Pistons.

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

Prince and Kuester exchange more words. Looks like Kuester asked Tay to leave. Assistant coach Darrell Walker kept approaching Kuester back.

After the game, Kuester said the confrontation was only a result of basketball being an emotional and passionate game. I don’t buy it. But that’s a smart answer for Kuester to give and maintain some control of this team. Given the circumstances, Kuester’s answer is probably the most honest and reasonable one could have provided.*

*I could have gone without him praising Prince for his second-half intensity, though. To the surprise of Goodwill and Ellis, both of whom who saw Rodney Stuckey get benched, Prince started the second half. But Prince didn’t show much in the third quarter and returned late in the fourth quarter just in time to ignore a wide-open Stuckey cutting to the basket on an inbound pass and contribute nothing else.

Prince’s answers threw me for a bit of a loss, though.

He can be combative with the media at worst. At best, he appears annoyed to be taking questions. But tonight, he seemed at ease, more than I’d ever seen him when talking about something unpleasant.

I’m not sure what that means. Could it mean Prince no longer cares? Could he think, “let the media in, there’s nothing worth guarding anymore?” I don’t know.

Regardless of his motivation, Prince was pretty candid. He blamed frustration and said, “You can call me the bad guy,” and, “Maybe the way I handled it wasn’t the right way.” He set himself up perfectly to apologize.

But, besides the aforementioned statements, he was unapologetic, and it would be a stretch to consider them apologetic. Instead, he said he acted the same way with Flip Saunders and Larry Brown (and I assume Michael Curry, but I can see why he’d repress those memories). Prince’s basic message: This is how I am. Deal with it. Everyone else has.

Prince repeated the same phrase in his interview: “I felt I had something to say. He felt he had something to say.”

These are two men whose views differ too greatly. I’m not sure who’s right. I won’t pretend to know. But something has to give.

Don’t chalk this up to a blogger being angry. That’s just covering up the issue.

The Pistons have a real problem, and it’s not getting any better.

Like I thought after the Celtics game, Prince is still professional enough to do his job without complaint most nights. But that’s only a band-aid for the issue. Incidents like these will continue to occur.

If he’s the same person he’s been, Prince needs to go. I don’t see how he’ll handle the disappointments of playing for a losing team in productive matter. It’s one thing to hate losing. It’s another for losing to prevent him from helping the team.

But you might notice I said if he’s the same person he’s been. After the game, Prince didn’t sound like himself. He almost sound like someone who’s thrown caution to the wind. All the insecurities and protective instincts that overtook his previous interview were gone.

It’s almost like Prince doesn’t care anymore. He has no use for the charade. He can be who he wants to be. He’ll have the option to leave at the end of the season.

If that’s the case – well, I don’t know. I have no idea what to expect from Prince going forward.

Remember when he used to be the Pistons’ most consistent player? Strange times now.

The comeback

Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey keyed the Pistons’ comeback.

Villanueva (being active on both ends and hitting shots) and Gordon (hitting shots) did the same things they’d been doing all season.

But Stuckey contributed in ways he hadn’t yet before, at least not to this extent. He rebounded in traffic. He dove for loose balls. He looked to pass first.

You can’t expect Stuckey to play this way every night, and he probably shouldn’t. His strengths are elsewhere. But it’s nice to see he has those skills in the bag.

Anatomy of a run

The Warriors went on a 20-0 run in the first half that put the game out of reach. Disappointingly, it was an entire-team breakdown. Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Will Bynum, Ben Gordon, Tracy McGrady, Austin Daye, Charlie Villanueva and Jason Maxiell all played during the run.

Greg Monroe (+13) and Rodney Stuckey (+9) were the only rotation players not to see the court, so it’s no wonder they led Detroit in plus-minus.

Here’s a breakdown of the disaster:

  • Time: 5:18
  • Warriors offensive rating: 166.7
  • Pistons offensive rating: 0.0
  • Pistons turnovers: five
  • Bynum turnovers: two
  • Pistons shots inside 17 feet: one

Daye returns to starting lineup

I owe John Kuester an apology. Yesterday, I doubted whether Austin Daye really sat against the Kings because of a matchup problem.

That appears to be the case. In a more favorable matchup, Daye started and played well.

Unfortunately, his streak of consecutive 3-pointers made ended at 10 – three short of the record.

On the bright side, the legend of Terry Mills will live on.

8 Comments

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Detroit Pistons and Patrick Hayes, PistonPowered Feed. PistonPowered Feed said: John Kuester must be restrained from Tayshaun Prince in loss to Warriors, Villanueva and Ben Gordon nearly lead … http://bit.ly/9fisFO [...]

  • Nov 16, 20108:02 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    Would like to see a more specific analysis of what happened during that Golden State run in the first half. It came when Bynum came in the game for Stuckey and the Pistons offense stagnated. They stopped looking for the hot hand (which was Daye at the time) and Bynum turned the ball over on 3 occasions that led to GS scores.

    Both Prince and Rip need to go if this team is going to grow. Neither player is on board with what needs to take place. The Pistons play better at a faster tempo – give Stuckey credit for constantly pushing it – and his running mate needs to be Ben Gordon. The Pistons also play better when the ball moves and Tay holds the ball. Both Tay & Rip do not hit the younger players when they are open because they think getting their own shot is a better way to go.

    Daye was keeping them close while GS was making their run. When he went out, the Pistons stopped scoring and with Bynum turning the ball over and Ellis shooting the way he was -it was over.

    Great comeback though. But once again Q refuses to call his vets out. He should have benched Prince.

  • Nov 16, 20108:20 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @PCB:
    I get that Rip hasn’t played well. But what has he done to show that he’s “not on board?” He plays hard (though again, not well). If they can move his contract and give most of his minutes to Gordon, then great. But he hasn’t had public fights with the coach, he hasn’t made anti-team comments to the media and he’s playing with effort each night.
    If he needs to go, it’s because there are other players on the team capable of playing better than him, but it’s not because he’s had a poor attitude.

  • Nov 16, 201010:39 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    If Q put him on the bench were he belongs it might be a different story.

    I would also like to point out what went on defensively in that first half last night. Tay was getting beat in half court by his man. Then bynum came in and started turning the ball over and Prince was getting beat by his man downcourt. That is when Q went off on him. These days, when one of his young teammates makes a turnover or a mistake, Tay does not hustle back but grimaces in disgust and then lollygags back. Tay was pissed last night with the turnovers, the poor defensive scheme, and the fact that Q put Daye back in the starting lineup.

    sorry, but both Rip & Tay need to go if this team is to progress. Neither one will be on board with reduced minutes, reduced roles, or watching their young teammates go through the experiences it takes to learn how to win in the NBA on a nightly basis

  • Nov 16, 201011:15 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @PCB:

    I don’t think anyone is arguing “both Rip and Tay need to go.” But for the moment, they’re not going anywhere. So how do you handle it? Do you bench them, piss them off further and have an even more divided and toxic locker room for your young players to soak up, or do you try to do what you can to make it work with them, which means they are going to have to start and play primary roles?

    Yes, them playing takes away time from others who look like bigger parts of the team’s future. But if you sit them, they’re still going to be around, and they’re going to be bigger malcontents. It’s a bad spot for Kuester to be in, but if he’s stuck with them, he has to try and use them how they’re going to be most effective. Not that they’ve been that good as starters, but my guess is they’d be much worse and play with less effort off the bench.

  • [...] PistonPowered reports, during the second quarter, Tayshaun Prince and head coach John Kuester went at it in the huddle [...]

  • Nov 16, 20104:29 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    the writing’s on the wall for tayshaun. he’s sort of the reluctant, de facto leader of the team, and he’s publicly butting heads with the coach. your analysis of him is right, and i have a hard time blaming the guy. everything that’s wrong with this team is joe dumars’s fault. sure he can’t make any moves until the sale is finalized, but he never should have put the team in a position of such weakness. you can’t get stuck in a spot like this if you don’t put yourself in this spot.
     
    here’s the perfect solution to rip: decide if you can trade him or not. if you CAN trade him, you do so as fast as you can. maybe the day after the sale. dump him immediately and take nothing in return. if you CAN’T trade him, sit his skinny ass on the bench. he’ll probably tear up opposing benches, and he’ll be paired with bynum who is a better fit. the big problem with rip is that he’s a painfully bad fit in this system, so he’s not going to establish value with a consistently high level of play and production.

  • [...] be contributing to that sense of inevitability at this point. He and coach John Kuester got into another public disagreement in Golden State on Monday, only a couple of weeks after the two sniped at each other through the [...]

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