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Pistons wilt against Hornets, and they’re losing the few fans they have left

Ben Gordon was easily the Pistons’ best player tonight – scoring 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He had a couple pretty good passes and a steal. Of course, he scored 13 of his points with the Pistons down at least 14 late in the game, and he also turned the ball over twice.

If you’re thinking that sounds like a pretty low threshold for the best player on a team, that’s because it is.

The Pistons’ 93-74 loss tonight grinded away any last shreds of confidence in this team’s moxy. There were no moments of hope. There were no moments of extreme pain, either. The Pistons just slowly wilted away.

Besides Gordon, not a single Piston made an overall positive impact on the game.

No Piston had a positive plus-minus at halftime – and the Hornets were only up 10. It was incredible how every Piston did his small part to help the team fall behind.

More amazing: they did it again in the second half. All the Pistons who played in the first also posted negative plus-minuses in the second half.

That’s truly a remarkable stat. Each rotation player got beat all game. Everyone should take blame for this loss, but I doubt anyone will.

After the game, there was the expected talk about the second night of a back-to-back. Friday, we’ll hear about three games in four nights. Saturday, we’ll hear about another back-to-back and four games in five nights. Tuesday, we’ll hear about being rusty after two days off.

There’s always something.

This team is too busy making excuses – the refs call quick technicals, the team’s tempo is wrong, there aren’t enough minutes for shooters to get into rhythm, John Kuester plays too much small ball, roles aren’t defined.

Some of those complaints might be valid, but at this point I don’t care. This isn’t a team I can get behind. The Pistons don’t play hard. They show no heart. They don’t seem like they care.

And this complaint isn’t limited to the players. Part of Kuester’s job is to motivate them. I’ve seen no evidence that he has. All I’ve seen him do is brag about making adjustments. Great.

The Pistons are flawed. They can’t be great. Heck, they probably can’t even be good. But they could be likeable.

They had a long way to go toward that end – and tonight was a major step back.

More perspective

This is the opening of Ryan Schwan’s recap for Hornets247.com:

Detroit’s starters are kind of depressing.  While Maxiel and Wallace worked hard here and there and Hamilton ran around alot there wasn’t a feeling that they were a team – or that they cared much.  Most of their shots were of the sort where they let the defender square up on them, and then they took a fadeaway. All of them did that. Only Ben Gordon seemed to realize it’s easier to shoot when someone isn’t right on you.

The fadeaways dropped for a little while, but then they stopped, and the game was over – and Detroit seemed fine with it.  The showed no real push or desire to get back into it.  They did run a few plays to get open threes that had the potential to cut into the lead, but when those shots bricked, they seemed fine with that too.  Kind of a lame game.

11 Comments

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  • Dec 9, 20103:28 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    I blame all what is wrong with the pistons on Laser. Yes Laser you (jokes).

  • Dec 9, 20104:01 am
    by nuetes

    Reply

    That game was just pathetic. The front court did an excellent job holding West and Okafor to a combined 17-23 shooting night. bout on par for the season, for the Pistons defense that is. There isn’t much that can be done to correct that because there aren’t any options on the roster.
     
    I came away rather impressed with the Hornets though. It didn’t seem either team tried all that hard in the game, but NO shared the ball like I’ve hardly ever seen. All their passes were crisp and the Pistons defense didn’t have a chance even if they tried. Ariza plays some real good ball denial defense. Chris Paul is really patient, and he could definitely afford to be against us. He’d just dribble the ball and wait for someone to come open, and if nobody did he would easily get into the lane and make something happen. I really like the Hornets motion offense. They ran a ton of sets including a ton that took the ball out of Paul’s hands. They were constantly moving the ball, and when they stopped they’d go back to their West/Paul pick and roll. It was really efficient and entertaining, and probably a testament to their somewhat unexpected record. I think Monty Williams is doing wonders for them, and Chris Paul being healthy doesn’t hurt.
     
    Ok Hornets love fest over (somebody has to show them some love since they don’t have any fans of their own), time to get down to business. Bench everybody. I hate Kuester, and like Feldman I hate this team. It’s not any fun to watch, but man there are some changes that could be made to at least make it tolerable. Enough Maxiell already. Maybe as a reserve, but the Max/Wallace combo has to be changed. We’re not getting anything offensively from our front court. With Jerebko at least he was active and moved around, and even stretched the D with an occasional 3 here and there. On offense with the starters it’s all about the guard play because the front court is completely inept and not even worth paying attention to for the defense. The second unit has Monroe and CV which creates extra players for the defense to have to defend.
     
    This all goes back to Kuester. This thing is beyond messed up. Our reserve team is better than our starting team. We’re better off starting the reserves. I’m serious. It won’t ever happen, and at this point I find it unlikely that we won’t be starting the same starting five 2 months from now. This is painful. Needle to the eye painful.
     
    Good news is unless we completely fall apart, which could happen, the team will still probably win close to 30 games, wait that’s not good news. Anyways the schedule is pretty slack and we play a lot of bad teams coming up, and even close the season out with a pretty slack run of opponents. I don’t know where to go from here.
     
    my revised ideal starting 5 that will never ever happen:
     
    PG: Mcgrady SG: Gordon SF: Prince PF: Wallace C: Monroe

  • Dec 9, 20104:02 am
    by nuetes

    Reply

    whoa. i wrote a novel there sorry about that got a little carried away.

  • Dec 9, 20107:56 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    i broke my vow and watched the game last night.

    anybody else notice that Q is always at least one possession (and often two) late with his timeouts?

    Austin Daye is the best shooter on this flawed team full of one dimensional players. So could we get him some minutes and some shots????????

    the starting five is a joke. where is the offense supposed to come from?

    and there was a lineup that played real well in the second quarter – CV, Daye, Monroe, Ben Gordon, & Stuckey. Then Q brought prince in for Cv and the flow stopped. Prince is playing for his next contract (and generally playing well) but he is not playing for the team. He thinks of himself s the go-to player on this limited team and all ball movement stops once the ball is in his hands. And the only person he looks to pass it to is Rip. (ben gordon is not so great at moving the ball either – but the Hornets put on a clinic – Daye could be just like that italian player if the Pistons would only use him that way).

  • Dec 9, 201011:51 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    “After the game, there was the expected talk about the second night of a back-to-back. Friday, we’ll hear about three games in four nights. Saturday, we’ll hear about another back-to-back and four games in five nights. Tuesday, we’ll hear about being rusty after two days off.”

    heh. yeah there’s going to be a lot of this crap. my favorite thing was kuester’s postgame. he said something almost precisely like this: “when you plug one hole, another one pops up (aka the pistons are doing a great job but can’t catch a break). when you hold a team to 44 you would think you’re in a pretty good position to get a win, but we were behind.” only they were down by TEN. hard to pat the defense on the back even a little when the deficit is ten. again, this is yet another product of basketball’s nature, and if i’m perfectly honest it’s making me like basketball itself less.

    a brief history: i’m a two sport guy. a friend got me into the pistons around the time the pistons traded for sheed. (good timing i know, but it should be obvious i’m not a bandwagon type of guy… i’m a trailblazer!) before then i could care less about sports, believe it or not. but they were fun to watch (remember when we could say that about the pistons?) and a few months later they shocked the world; it was a great ride. later i got into baseball, which made my dad’s day, because he’s been a lifelong baseball fan who had two sons that never gave a damn about sports.

    at some point i realized that i like baseball more than basketball, even though the pistons have always been my favorite sports team (i have a hard time rooting for the tigers, or any baseball team), because i love the structure of the game and the matchups. pitching, defense, good hitting, the strategy. it’s not such an obviously “exciting” and fast-paced game. but the more i watch these pistons play close-ish games (and not-so-close ones), the less i like the structure of basketball. bad teams constantly hang around in games they could never win, officiating always bothers someone (in baseball it often gets in the way, but not EVERY call is cause for an argument), and maybe this is just the pistons, but there’s always some little thing to point to rather than just taking accountability for not being good enough.

    kuester also said, about why they lost, “they hit shots. we didn’t.” but like with most sports, and maybe more so than the others, you make your own luck in basketball. the only guy on the team that makes the game easier for ANYONE is tracy mcgrady, and for various reasons he is not even CLOSE to enough to have a significant impact. good teams have post players and point guards, or at least one TRUE impact player at some position. we have none of that.

    and this organization will never convince anyone with a brain that kuester is actually pushing any buttons as long as stuckey and hamilton continue to start and villa doesn’t. it’s not working. doesn’t depend on who the competition is (unless it’s cleveland, 3/4 of whose backcourt could sleep in a shoe box), we’re facing an uphill battle virtually every night. we have the worst “best player” on any team in the league, regardless of who you personally think is our best player (for my money i think it’s tayshaun by a pretty good margin, and i firmly believe he needs to be traded, even though i can’t imagine he’ll get us an equal return). so that’s where we are. GOOOOOO PISTONS!

  • Dec 9, 201012:10 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    @nuetes: you wrote a lot, but it was entertaining. i think as long as a post contributes to the discussion, it’s welcome. i tend to write a lot, but i generally keep it coherent, and believe it or not i actively edit my stuff. so i rarely feel bad and you shouldn’t either.
     
    you’re right about this starting five especially. it’s one of the worst units we could conceivably put out there. max wouldn’t be a reasonable starting PF even playing next to someone like sheed who stretched defenses and could score in the post (uh, when he felt like it). paired next to wallace, i don’t think there could be a worse option. i like the guy, but he provides no upside whatsoever; two undersized bigs without any offense or spacing. he’s the defensive option, but his defense just isn’t good enough to warrant this starting frontcourt. not even close actually. doesn’t work on paper or the floor. for the purposes of winning games, we’d be better off starting daye (though that would be our second-worst option and might win us one or three more games over the course of a season, so it’s not worth the wear-and-tear on a guy who has the physique i did when i was nine). villa’s the obvious choice, so of course he’ll never get his number called. it’s just an unforgivable situation.
     
    @pcb: will there ever come a point where you want to actually be taken seriously around here? this “austin daye is our best shooter” garbage won’t get it done. he’s shooting 38.8% on the season, which is somehow lower than the team average and is almost ten points lower than ben gordon, who is objectively the team’s best shooter. daye is shooting two points better from three, but that doesn’t give your argument legs by a long shot. gordon also has a TRACK RECORD. so please give it a rest. he’s your favorite, that’s fine. you want to talk to him and be close to him and know what he smells like and all that stuff. we get it. but if you want to be taken seriously, just leave it at “he’s my favorite piston” and be done with it.
     
    that said, i do think he needs minutes and shots. and i bet most piston fans would rather see our young players get thrown into the fire a little and develop so we don’t have to be this bad forever. but i doubt it’s happening.

  • Dec 9, 20102:23 pm
    by Travis

    Reply

    The pistons need to go through with the rebuilding process they don’t realize they are in. They are losing games right and left but continue to play the pieces of their past in the starting lineup. Hamilton is hurting us with both techs and poor shooting most nights yet he still has his starting spot. When Sheed got techs at least he had the talent and passion to back them up.(Most times). Hamilton lacks both talent and passion at this point. We need to start playing the younger guys and seeing if they are a real part of our future or if they aren’t a possible part of the pistons plans. Give Monroe some more minutes. These past few games haven’t been ROY material but it seems like he can rebound, is getting to the line more, and has averaged 1.0 block and  1.57 steals per game these last 7 games. Playing the newbies over the veterans isn’t gonna make us any worse. It really can only go up from here. I’m not saying pull Ben Wallace or anything, but start trying out out future pieces of this organization. In a trade suggestion, how about Maxiell and Prince for Randolph. He isn’t gonna resign in Memphis so hes on the block and if we don’t like him after a test run we can always say goodbye in the off season.

  • Dec 9, 20103:53 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    don’t think memphis goes for that one, trav. but you’ve got the right idea.

  • Dec 9, 20109:48 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    @laser

    i’m not a stat guy but i recall that Daye had a very slow start to the season shooting and after he got his confidence going he was shooting 54% from the floor over a stretch of 7 games. Then he got benched.

    as i recall, the same sort of thing happened to Gordon – he was shooting really well when playing with the first unit  and then his performance & shooting persentage suffered when he came off the bench.

    but if you are watching these games, you will realize that despite track records – Austin Daye has the potential to be a much better shooter than Gordon – both in overall percentage and definitely from the three point line. Gordon often forces high degree of difficulty shots over taller defenders. Daye’s shot cannot really be bothered by a defender (much like Sheed) unless the defender leaves his feet. Daye has already shown that he will respond by putting the ball on the floor for one dribble and rising for an uncontested two. He has also shown that he can make plays with the ball off the dribble.

    as you point out – he is the future and needs to play. you may believe what you like about Ben Gordon or Rip Hamilton being a better shooter than Daye but i don’t see it.

    Prince & Max for Randolph would be a great trade for both teams. Detroit gets the low post scorer and rebounder they need (but not the defender – though Monroe is progressing every game on that level) while Memphis gets the cap room to sign Gasol, a 3/4 season rental of Tay who is playing great and could back up Gay or play the four and a solid offensive rebounder, defender, and scorer in Max who can replace Randolph at a fraction of the cost (fraction of the production too).

  • Dec 9, 201011:56 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    not sure i’ll say daye necessarily has the potential to be a better shooter than gordon. time will tell. there’s no reason to make such bold claims so early in his career. he certainly has the potential to be a hell of a shooter. i like the guy, and i think he can be a very good player. he has to play. i’d just hold off on the hyperbole; he needs to develop some kind of track record before we can put him in the category of “elite” shooter, or whatever you’re getting at. don’t forget, rodney stuckey “has the potential” to be an all-star or a great point guard or an elite defender, according to some hopeful folks… yet four years into his career that’s all he has.
     
    tough for me to disagree more with this memphis business. until they figure they’ve got no hope of the playoffs, i don’t think they’re going to deal randolph. and when they do, i guarantee they can fetch a lot more than tayshaun and max. just being realistic here, as usual. sorry to continuously be the bearer of bad news.

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