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Will Bynum and Pistons’ bench propel team to comeback win over Phoenix

Will Bynum has been my favorite Piston for most of the last three seasons.

It’s not because I think he’s underrated or deserves a larger role than his current one. But he’s always extremely entertaining. Admit it … even when he makes horrible plays, he usually makes them spectacularly. Rather than just list the things I enjoy about watching him, I’ll just point to Saturday’s fourth quarter in the Pistons’ 75-74 win over Phoenix. It had a bit of everything that is great about Bynum.

First of all, through three quarters, describing the Pistons as listless would be generous. They honestly looked worse most of tonight than they did last night vs. New Jersey, and I thought that was their worst game of the season. Then, Bynum came in in the fourth quarter and scored all 12 of his points (and didn’t miss a shot in the quarter), he didn’t turn the ball over and, more importantly, his quickness keyed a strong defensive quarter that allowed Detroit to overcome a 15-point deficit.

Bynum had great ball denials on two consecutive Phoenix inbound attempts late in the game. The Suns clearly wanted to get the ball to Steve Nash down three with less than :10 seconds to play, and Bynum just wouldn’t let him get free (unfortunately, a boneheaded foul during a deadball by Rodney Stuckey on the second inbound attempt negated Bynum’s good defensive play).

Bynum was all over the court, even where he wasn’t supposed to be. He snuck into a Phoenix huddle during a deadball. He’s short, he can get away with that.

Even his postgame interviews are fun. Eli Zaret asked him if he was "feeling good" about his spot in the rotation after this recent solid production off the bench: "Nah man! I’m not feeling good!," Bynum said with a big smile, noting that he understands that he has to keep fighting for any minutes he gets.

The Pistons played as ugly as it gets, but the team defended well enough and Bynum, Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince hit enough shots in the fourth quarter to steal one from a Phoenix team that fell asleep.

Prince’s big play

With Bynum at the line and about :11 seconds to go, he missed the second free throw that would’ve put the Pistons up three. Prince snuck in between Grant Hill and Marcin Gortat to get the rebound and get fouled on the play by Gortat.

Now, Prince split at the line as well when he could’ve put the Pistons up four, but that extra point he earned at the line turned out to be a valuable one, since the Pistons gave up a three to Channing Frye on the final play that cut the deficit to one. If Prince didn’t make that play, there would’ve been a much better chance for Phoenix to tie or take the lead.

Stuckey the shooting guard hits a snag

Stuckey had three fantastic games shooting the ball shortly after moving over to the shooting guard spot for the Pistons, and many fans, including myself, were very encouraged and felt he finally found the natural position he’s most comfortable playing.

As it turns out, he might be just as inconsistent at shooting guard as he was at point guard. He’s followed up those three great games with three horrid ones. He shot 5-for-14 vs. Boston, 3-for-12 against New Jersey and 3-for-15 against Phoenix. Only three of those attempts against Phoenix came outside of 18 feet. There’s just no excuse for Stuckey to shoot that poorly over a prolonged stretch anymore.

The new defensive stoppers

Ben Wallace returned to the lineup, coming off the bench against the Suns. His stats weren’t overwhelming — 7 rebounds, a steal and a block in about 23 minutes — but Wallace unsurprisingly was a catalyst for that defensive effort. More surprising was who the other players on the court were when the Pistons put together that fantastic defensive fourth. Noted stoppers Bynum, Ben Gordon and Daye joined Prince and Wallace.

Gordon and Bynum did a nice job keeping the Phoenix guards in front of them and the length of Daye and Prince allowed the Pistons to quickly close out on shooters. The Suns were just 2-for-9 from 3-point range in the fourth and 5-for-19 overall in the quarter.

10 Comments

  • Jan 22, 201110:52 pm
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    Wow i couldn’t tune in to watch this game until the 9 minute mark of the 4th and we were down 66-51. Then all of a sudden the pistons just took over and locked the D down like it was 2004 again. All that was missing from this game was Ben Wallace’s afro!

  • Jan 22, 201111:24 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    That first unit is not playing well and while Stuckey was taken out of his game by both Boston & New Jersey because they had strong shot blockers inside there really was no excuse for his poor play tonight. But T-Mac has not been getting people easy looks for the last couple of games and the offense has been real stagnant
    @Patrick

    That whole write up on Bynum and barely a mention of Daye who was equally responsible for that fourth quarter run, both hitting big shots, getting to the line, and making some great defensive plays. He has active hands, did a nice job defending the high pick & roll, and his length bothered Phoenix on close outs. And when he was guarding Gorat inside, he held his own – i think he gave up two rebounds but he fought in there.

  • Jan 23, 20114:37 am
    by jack

    Reply

    Teams are playing Tmac with intelligence now. Everytime he makes move off the dribble, someone sags off their respective opponent and they take away his driving lane. That stops tmac from gettuing into the paint for the drive dish offs that he was doing very well about a couple of weeks ago. 

    He just dosent have that speed off the dribble anymore to beat that so what he is reduced to is a jumpshooter.Maybe need to post him up more like they do with Prince on the elbow so he can feed the cutters  or score on his man. 

    As for the offense, how many ISO’s are they going to run for prince? He was 6-17 in new jersey and 8-19 last night.Stuckies rescent struggles have been ultra ugly as well.On the playoffs front with both the Pacers and the Bobcats losing leaves the Pistons just 2 games out of the 7th seed. 

  • Jan 23, 20118:45 am
    by vic

    Reply

    I’ve been saying this since the beginning of the season: Stuckey is good, but he is not a closer!
    I’m so tired of taking dumb shots at the end of games when we’re down by 1.
    closers: bynum, gordon, taye, cv/daye, wallace/monroe

  • Jan 23, 20119:55 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @PCB:
    Come on man!
    Daye shot 36 percent in the game. Yes, he was part of the unit that got them back in the game. Yes, as I mentioned, his length on the perimeter (along with Prince’s) really bothered the Phoenix shooters.
    Daye shot 2-for-7 in the fourth quarter for crying out loud! To think that he was equally important in that run to Bynum is just pure fallacy.

  • Jan 23, 20113:09 pm
    by Jacob

    Reply

    Another ugly game….but at least a win this time. That comeback was HUGE considering the schedule. Up next is @Orlando, vs. Denver, @Miami I believe. If we can go 1-2 this week, that would be a success.

  • Jan 23, 20114:47 pm
    by Ryan

    Reply

    I love how Fry hit the 3 at the End to cover the +1.5 for Phoenix.

  • Jan 24, 20112:44 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    PCB, I think Detroit left Daye in for two reasons:

    1. He was in during the comeback, and Kuester didn’t want to mess with a good thing.

    2. His ability to make the two big shots he made.

    At times down the stretch, Daye was a liability. He had trouble defending and on the glass. But it was all worth it because of those two shots. When defenses clamp down, you need someone who can score like that. Daye was huge. But he was also a problem.

    In a strange way, and I know this sounds crazy, but I think the latter actually helped the Pistons. The other four players knew they had to focus more and play better to compensate for Daye.

    Two huge shots, but let’s not heap too much praise.

  • Jan 24, 20113:08 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Vic, I think that’s pretty overrated. Has Stuckey really failed in the clutch enough times to be sure it’s not random variation?

  • Jan 24, 20113:09 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Jacob, I’d be pretty happy with 1-for-3, too, but I’m expecting 0-for-3.

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