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Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey fuel crazy comeback to cap bad game

WASHINGTON – Rodney Stuckey made the shots, but Brandon Knight made the splash.

With three minutes left, Knight flew over Detroit’s bench trying to save the ball between his legs. On the other side, he crashed into a cooler with full cups on top.

“Guy took a shower during the game – that doesn’t happen a lot ,” Lawrence Frank said. “But I thought that pumped our guys up. He goes over the top. There was a great spark that I think triggered, just to see the fight he showed.”

Knight’s hustle, evident since the start of the second half, set the tone for a 13-point comeback that became complete on Stuckey’s 3-pointer with 55 seconds left and changed the game’s outcome with Stuckey’s stepback jumper with 0.2 seconds left.

If the hooting and hollering heard in the Pistons’ locker room after their 79-77 win over the Wizards on Monday was any indication, Detroit needed this after losing five straight. Increasing lottery odds is always helpful, but so is rewarding hustle. The Pistons learned a lesson tonight about how to win that will, hopefully, stick with them.

Knight, although he couldn’t remember a save attempt quite like this one, didn’t need a lesson how to do it.

“You just don’t want to clip nothing to make you fall on your face,” Knight said.

That wasn’t the only unrefined part of the contest for Knight, who shot 3-of-13. But before the game, Ben Wallace talked about playing hard even when the individual results aren’t there. Knight (seven assists, six rebounds, three steals and one turnover) definitely held up his end of the bargain.

So did Stuckey, who picked up three first-half charges, missed six of his first eight shots and didn’t get to the free-throw line early. But he kept battling through his toe injury, and before the night ended, his game caught up to his effort.

In the end, it’s neither lottery odds nor learning how to play in tight games that was most important. As Stuckey pointed out, more than inspiring his teammates, Knight’s dive had another positive outcome.

“Luckily, he’s OK,” Stuckey said. “He’s not hurt. A lot of water fell on him, but he’ll be good, though.”

That was … nearly lockout-ruined

The Wizards were in the third game of a back-to-back-to-back and fifth game in six days. The Pistons were playing their third in four days and eighth straight in a different city. It showed – until a spirited final few minutes.

“It was an ugly, grimy, grindy –  I mean, the first half, the NBA called and they were about to throw us both out of the building,” Frank said.

Ben Gordon injured

Ben Gordon played just six minutes with a strained groin, so Austin Daye and Will Bynum (switching on and off with Knight as point guard) saw increased backcourt minutes.

Daye missed all three of his shots, and Bynum went just 2-for-7. Neither had an assist. If Gordon is an out an extended period of time, it will be interesting to see how Frank spreads backup minutes going forward.

Most Valuable Player

Jordan Crawford (21 points on 9-of-16 shooting) shot well on a night nobody else did, and he opportunistically collected five assists and three steals.

Stuckey’s game winner

47 Comments

  • Mar 26, 201210:00 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    In Stuckey the Pistons trust!

    • Mar 26, 201210:23 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Don’t get too excited cause we only just beat the 2nd worst team in the league that was playing its 3rd game in three nights. Frankly I would say this would have to be the ugliest win by any team this year. We won a game where we didn’t even crack 80 but i suppose the good thing about it is we used to do that all the time in 2004…ahhh the memories. Oh and Knight’s Rodman hustle should net the kid a Gatorade commercial/deal.

      • Mar 26, 201211:09 pm
        by Daye and Knight

        Reply

        @gmehl you’re missing the BIG picture here…Stuckey’s game winning shot. Yes we should have won this game because they are a bad team, but we’re no world beaters ourselves so take this win with a grain of salt if you must but the growth of Stuckey’s game shouldn’t be ignored. He has elevated his game and that’s enough of a reason to get excited for a new season with a full summer league and training…not to mention a high draft pick likely in the 5-7 range. We have a pretty good future in Stuckey, Monroe and Knight and our pick in this years draft will likely be apart of our future plans in a BIG way as well and in a year or two we might have an exciting up and coming team. THAT is more than enough to get excited my friend

    • Mar 26, 201210:37 pm
      by Stuckey and whoever

      Reply

      Guess who’s BisACK!!

  • Mar 26, 201210:02 pm
    by Tiko

    Reply

    cant wait to draft Meyers Leonard with the 9th pick of the 2012 draft..  we are on our way!!!!

    • Mar 26, 201210:59 pm
      by Stuckey and whoever

      Reply

      Are you really disapointed we won one game?

      • Mar 26, 201211:50 pm
        by swish22

        Reply

        Great win for the Pistons, you Slappies and lovers of bad hoop everywhere!   Knight seems to be crashing the glass hard and we need BOTH guards to be hitting the boards to help our undersized and sometimes unmotivated(Prince) front line!  Maxiel seems to have hit the wall and I’m still disgusted we didn’t move him for a draft pick or a younger asset!  Prince-ditto!  Five rebounds from your starting forwards against the Wizards playing for the third consecutive night!!  Not good!   No reason not to get MAcklin up here now!!   He’s already proven he can dominate at the d league level.  Time for the young guys to play!  ZERO reasons to see Wilkins and Wallace now that the playoffs are officially a dead issue!  

  • Mar 26, 201210:14 pm
    by Mel Crosby

    Reply

    This may have been Stuckey’s first clutch game winner. I say it again , he’s playing like a grown man now. And that’s coming off injury too. Started slow but got into his groove. So Dan and Patrick, are you a believers yet ?

    • Mar 26, 201210:19 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Always been a believer in his talent. I’m really encouraged by how he’s played the second half of this season. He’s improved again and he’s been more consistent than at any point in his career. Plus, he truly is starting to look like he wants to be a first option on offense, something he never seemed comfortable with in the past. His challenge is still consistency, and that means he needs to not only finish this season strong, but continue this next season as well, but I’m much more confident he’s found the inner-drive to do that than I was to start the season.

      • Mar 26, 201210:36 pm
        by domnick

        Reply

        maybe because he really fits into off guard position… than being the PG all the time… and he has meshed well with Brandon Knight…

        i like Stuckey this season… and there is nowhere but UP for Stuckey next season

        • Mar 26, 201210:45 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          “there is nowhere but UP for Stuckey next season”

          That statement could be made about Stuckey in any season he’s been in the league. Like I said, he’s never put together an entire season close to this. Not saying he can’t, I’m just saying we should actually see him do it for an entire year first. I’m still really encouraged by how good he’s been the last 8 weeks or so though.

        • Mar 26, 201210:51 pm
          by Scout

          Reply

          Well that’s blatantly not true. Stuckey could always crash down again, even if this is starting to look like a permanent improvement.

          • Mar 26, 201210:52 pm
            by Scout

            hmm. looks like I’m responding to Hayes, when I’m talking to domnick

      • Mar 27, 20126:58 am
        by Guus

        Reply

        Dear Patrick (and Dan),

        This is a little of topic, but here goes anyway. I always really enjoyed reading the game previews you guys wrote. Usually, I can’t watch the games here in the Netherlands, so if I couldn’t, I would usually read your game preview, pointing out things to watch and other inside info about that particular game. I would then read the game REVIEW after the game, where you guys would evaluate all the earlier things to watch, among other things. Then I would watch the game recap on the Pistons website, paying attention to the things you talked about.

        Lately, instead of writing a preview, you link to opponent’s blog to read about them. Now, I know you guys must be very busy, but I really enjoyed your previews as they always pointed out things to watch in a game as a Pistons fan. Now, I usually don’t bother clicking the link, as most blogs are all about the other team (duh :P).
        Any chance the previews are coming back?

        regards,

        Guus Teeuwen, the Netherlands

        • Mar 27, 20129:40 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          I will talk to Dan about it.

          You’re right, the issue was time — they took a while to put together and on top of that, people weren’t reading them/commenting on them as much as other posts, so we scaled them back a bit. But maybe we can come up with some kind of happy medium between what we were doing and what we are doing now. Thanks for the feedback.

          • Mar 27, 201210:23 am
            by Guus

            Thanks Patrick, I appreciate it :)

            Ofcourse I understand the whole time issue, a happy medium would be great! Whatever the outcome, you guys are my go-to source on anything Pistons: I used to only read the Pistons website, but soon realized Keith Langlois (though a fine writer) is kind of a homer when it comes to opinions. I feel your opinions as fanporters (especially combined with all the discussion going on in the comments) give me a much more grounded, realistic picture of Pistons reality, and an opportunity to form my own opinion.
            So, great props for that!

  • Mar 26, 201210:19 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Thank you Ben Wallace for the free chicken sandwich

    • Mar 27, 201210:32 am
      by tom

      Reply

      When he got fouled was the most excited the crowd got all night. By far.

  • Mar 26, 201211:12 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    stuckey has really turned the corner, he’s a winner. Knight has rubbed off on him or put him in a better position or something…. but he’s just a better player now too. Thats the first time i’ve seen him close a game out too. swag, willpower, skill, whatever it is, it looks like he’s finally got it. hopefully he can keep it and we can keep him

  • Mar 26, 201211:26 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    So am i right to assume that Knight will now be referred to as Sticky! Stuckey’s back court partner due to the Gatorade shower he took.

    • Mar 26, 201211:26 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Ok that was bad…a daddy joke at best :-)

  • Mar 27, 201212:03 am
    by Mel Crosby

    Reply

    Hey Patrick, Besides a hand full of players and even them, who plays a whole season consistently at 24 points 4.5 assist and 4 rebounds, those are considered all star #s.
    Now he showed a glimpse of that at the end of last year. So I would say he’s learned to put it all together now, just like Chancey and a few other players I can’t name now that blossomed a little slower in there career. I always looked at him as a 18pt 5 assist player. He’s finally playing for a coach who knows how to utilize him, and with Knight complimenting him it’s skies the limit. He’s playing confident now even if he was playing pg he would be playing better, because Frank is a better coach.

    • Mar 27, 20121:21 am
      by frankie d

      Reply

      “He’s playing confident now even if he was playing pg he would be playing better, because Frank is a better coach.”
      nonsense.  imho.
      what is clear is that he is finally freed of being the primary facilitator on offense – the point guard – and he is free to do what he does best: score.
      i find it amazing that so many people, from journalists, to fans, to joe d, are so invested in the failed stuckey-as-PG experiment that they refuse to acknowledge what is as clear as clear can be: stuckey never was a PG, and now that he doesn’t have to play that position, he is playing the way joe d always envisioned he would play.
      yes, he is playing confidently, but that is primarily because he is no longer being asked to play out of position.
      how long will it take everyone to acknowledge it?
      oh, i know…once joe dumars officially states it as a fact, once he officially acknowledges it, then everyone will feel comfortable going along…but until then, only outliers, those outside of the “general consensus”, will entertain such a blasphemous thought.
      the compliant little sheep will go along with the official program.
      what a joke.

      • Mar 27, 20122:31 am
        by rick77

        Reply

        I think you are trumpeting your own horn. I remember him stating he was a combo guard when he came outta of college. He envisioned him in the same way as Chauncey , a shooting guard with point guard skills. Once he learned the game like Chauncey did (under Carlisle/Brown). The offense could then eventually flow through him the same way as it did through Chauncey when he was here, eventually learning how to get his, but get others opportunities as well. I always remember Joe saying the point guard of today changed and he was more of a scorer that got others involved. I think they(Pistons) just found someone who actually competes as hard as Stuckey, and can challenge him to be a better player. Ill even say that he(Joe) actually might have gotten lucky when Knight fell in his lap. I think the jury is still out on Stuckey until he shows from beginning til end consistency but as long as he has a competent counterpart at the other guard spot, the sky is the limit.

      • Mar 27, 20123:17 am
        by oats

        Reply

        @frankie. Sorry, I’ve argued it before, and I still disagree. I feel like I’m becoming a broken record, but this same argument keeps getting rehashed. Anyways, on to Stuckey. He is still the guy running the offense about half the time he is on the court. He does this because Knight is a bad point guard right now. There is a reason Stuckey leads the team in assists and assist percentage, which he does while having fewer turnovers than Knight. It seems really weird that people think Knight is the point guard and Stuckey is the shooting guard. They seem to both be switching on and off who handles which role. Knight and Stuckey are both combo guards. To steal a line from Dumars, they are just guards. So, if instead of Knight he was paired with a shooting guard who was a decent ball handler and passer, I just don’t think Stuckey would be all that different because he is playing the point. In fact, based on his stats by position on 82games.com, I can see arguments that he is better while playing the point this season. He’s actually taking more shots and getting to the line more frequently per 48 minutes at the point guard spot, so the notion that he is playing more freely and focusing on scoring because he isn’t the point guard seems a little strange.
         
        In case you are wondering, I actually agree that Stuckey is not a point guard. He is a combo guard who is best utilized by being allowed to play both on and off the ball at various times throughout the game. I think that the best use of him for your team is at the 2, but not because he is not a point guard. It’s because you are far more likely to find a PG who can score off the ball than a shooting guard who can do point guard duties for short stretches of a game, and those are the kind of players that complement his game. There are only so many James Harden type shooting guards out there. It’s about finding a fit next to him, not what position he is playing.
         
        Honestly, if Knight was paired with a more traditional shooting guard, I doubt he would cut it. Stuckey is allowing him to play the point. Without Stuckey on his team Knight would become a SG, probably in an off the bench microwave role similar to the one done by Jamaal Crawford or Jason Terry. This gets into the territory of how absurd position labels are. Knight has more in common with James Harden than he does with Chris Paul, but everyone thinks Knight is a PG and Harden is a SG. Similarly, Stuckey has more in common with Derek Rose than he does with Kevin Martin, and yet people are now saying Stuckey is a shooting guard while Rose is a point guard. Neither Stuckey nor Knight are accurately described by their position (or any position really), and to attribute Stuckey’s success to playing a position he isn’t really playing just feels bizarre.

        • Mar 27, 20128:23 am
          by Pistons87

          Reply

          This post is right on the money. Stuckey is not a SG or PG he is a combo guard. Which incidentally is what many guys we call PGs are these days. The Knight/Stuckey backcourt works because they are both combos and can share responsibilities.

        • Mar 27, 201212:30 pm
          by frankie d

          Reply

          you keep making my point for me.
          if you read what i always say about stuckey and his role, i say that he is no longer the PRIMARY facilitator. PRIMARY….PRIMARY….get it?
          that does not imply that he never acts as a point guard or that he doesn’t do point guard-ee type things.  it simply means that he is no longer primarily responsible for running the offense.
          i think the answer to that question is clear.  
          brandon knight, for better or worse, has assumed that role.
          tayshaun prince acts as a facilitator at times.  that does not mean he acts as the team’s point guard.
          greg monroes does the same thing.  that does not mean that he acts as the team’s point guard.
          stuckey, finally, has been freed of the responsibility of acting as the team’s point guard, so he can now do what he does best and focus on scoring.
          now, in the process of doing his scoring thing, and in the flow of the game, he will certainly function as a facilitator, a point guard, but that is not his PRIMARY role. 
          is stuckey a combo guard?  of course.  in the same way that vinnie johnson and zeke and joe d were combo guards.  but there was no question about the fact that the team had and needed a point guard.  and there is no question about the fact that any successful team needs a point guard.  
          now point guards come in all shapes, sizes and styles, but the common denominator is that they are primarily responsible for running a team’s offense.
          that is not stuckey’s job now.
          the player stuckey most resembles, imho, is dwayne wade. if one recalls, miami actually tried wade at the point for short periods during his first couple of years in the league, largely because he presents a lot of the same skills and talents that stuckey presents.
          fortunately, for wade and miami, they quickly saw the error of going in that direction.  joe d was a lot slower coming to the correct decision.
          like wade, stuckey plays with a point guard who is not a chris paul type maestro, and very often assumes the role of facilitator, even though that is not his PRIMARY role.
          it is somewhat ironic, actually, that what so many had envisioned when stuckey was drafted has actually come to pass: stuckey has become, in fact a poor man’s dwayne wade.  (their advanced stat line looks eerily similar, though wade’s numbers are generally better, all around.)   it’s just too bad it took joe so long to realize how to use him correctly and that he almost wasted 3 years of his career trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

          • Mar 27, 20126:18 pm
            by oats

            I guess if you ignore the fact that I said Knight isn’t the primary facilitator, then yes I am making your point. Stuckey leads the team in assists and percentage of teammate’s field goals that are assisted. How is Knight the primary facilitator exactly? Besides, when he is playing the point, his primary goal is not to facilitate, and never really has been. He’s a scoring point guard when he plays that position, not a facilitator. Claiming his position change changed his role seems strange when you are imagining his role was ever different. If he was playing the point he’d still be fine, he just was not a good fit next to Rip. If the team added someone like Eric Gordon he’d still be the point guard, and he’d still be the same player.

    • Mar 27, 20129:44 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      @Mel:

      “who plays a whole season consistently at 24 points 4.5 assist and 4 rebounds”

      I’m not expecting those numbers. I’m expecting his effort level to be consistently the same most games. Every player is going to have off games statistically or games where they take fewer shots because they are deferring to teammates who are playing better. That’s not the issue. The issue with Stuckey was simply that his effort level came and went virtually his entire career. That is what he needs to manage better over the course of an entire season. He seems to get that now, and hopefully he carries that over into future seasons

  • Mar 27, 201212:05 am
    by Tiko

    Reply

    Was Jordan Crawford the kid that dunked on Lebron?

    • Mar 27, 201212:07 am
      by Tiko

      Reply

      At that camp a few summers back? When Nike got all weird and wanted the tapes confiscated cuz Lebron cried about it?

    • Mar 27, 20129:45 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yep, that would be the guy. One of Detroit’s finest.

  • Mar 27, 20122:26 am
    by Mel Crosby

    Reply

    He was a point guard last year when he had that stretch of games averaging 25 pts and like 8 assist 5 rebounds. And even now he has moments playing the point. True playing shooting guard allows him more freedom to do his thing, but he has just improved as an overall player period. I don’t think it was a failed experiment, if he didn’t have those years learning the point trust me Knight wouldn’t be playing as good as he is now. There’s a reason why the Pistons have been winning when Stuck plays. I agree he’s best at shooting guard, but you make like he was terrible as a point guard. His pg averages are similar to Billips numbers first 5 to 6 years. It’s called developing your game. And thats what Stuck has been doing maybe not to the speed many  fans may want, but it takes time. Don’t get me wrong he frustrated me too during the years,but you still saw the potential. We as fans have to remember that sometimes it takes a little longer for some to get it. Looks like he has it, and if so the team is more better for it because not only do we have Knight as Pg but Stuckey as an option as well.

  • Mar 27, 20124:55 am
    by Vince

    Reply

    Didn’t watch the game but Jerebko looked like he had a solid night…? Loving the Knight and Stuckey tandem more and more, slightly dissapointed by Monroe’s stats – any reason why he shot less? I mean sure Nene is a solid unit but I’d think Moose could work his way around him. Either way I’m still deadpan on getting rid of Daye, if he’s willing to improve his game, become consistent and determined to be in the NBA then he’ll do it the hard way, maybe how Green did it. I know Dumars just won’t admit he was wrong by drafting him. At this point, injury, lack of minutes aside, Bynum is playing terribly, could there be any interest for a draft day trade for a pick? Pack in Maxiell? Singler’s draft rights? I dunno anything to shed Max’s and Bynum’s contracts. Any takers for Gordon and CV? Hahaha all jokes aside I cannot wait for the draft and get this season behind and forgotten…

  • Mar 27, 20129:44 am
    by sebastian

    Reply

    Knight brings that youthful exuberance that OUR Pistons have been missing for a long, long time.

  • Mar 27, 20129:45 am
    by vic

    Reply

    here’s some data that shows tanking is for losers, and doesn’t work.

    we should already know this, from looking at how our championship teams were put together, and our quality draft picks the past couple years

    http://www.freakonomics.com/2012/03/26/you-don%E2%80%99t-need-to-be-bad-to-be-good-in-the-nba-2/#

    • Mar 27, 201211:25 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      There are certainly valid points there, but it misses some serious stuff too. Most importantly, the fact that virtually every excellent team has at least one player that it obtained by being terrible and getting a high draft pick. And that is because it is irrelevant how many of the teams were bad one year ago or two years ago or whatever. What is relevant is how many total teams were bad enough to draft a player that really helped them within the last four or five years. So that would be the sum of those bad teams over that course of time (minus the repeats), not the number in any particular year. Also, it really skews players like Duncan, who only required his team to be bad one year and then carried them to being really good for over a decade. So yeah, they weren’t bad in the last five years. But that’s because they tanked 14 years ago or whatever. This would be a case for tanking (although hardly a complete argument) but with the data selected, it appears to make a case against tanking. The numbers used to make the case were simply poorly chosen.

      I’d agree on the overall premise that the Blazers’ move was perhaps not the greatest. That is for a number of reasons, but most notable that if you take their approach, you have to go all in. That would mean trying to move Aldridge and Batum for picks and prospects too. That way you get to be properly bad for a couple seasons, get your own high picks plus those collected from others, and then build up for a long run of contention because your core is all more or less the same age. As it is, they will just get one high draft pick. If he turns out to be a superstar, great. But if not, they hurt themselves.

      • Mar 27, 20128:24 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        He also misses the point that once you get those really good players your team becomes more desirable. Yep, the Heat didn’t draft Lebron, but they did draft Wade who attracted Lebron and Bosh. The Clippers had prospects from drafting high and moved them to trade for Chris Paul, who was more likely to stay because they had recently drafted Blake Griffin. Boston tanked and moved their draft pick for Ray Allen, making them a place KG would accept a trade to. None of these scenarios are being looked at in this piece either.

  • Mar 27, 20129:56 am
    by Casey

    Reply

    I really love what I saw with the team lately. Play hard, get close and lose while gaining lotto balls. I was rooting for them to lose for better draft spot cause we still have a long way to go to be champs. But I loved that we won and saw all the guys enjoying a win and knowning how to close out a win. Stuckey is Elite! It does remind me of the 2004 pistons, most of the season games were very close but we could grind out a win. This team is gelling and next year we will be in the playoffs.

    Dream off season

    #1 pick Davis
    Drop CV

    trade Max or Daye, prince and a first for Josh Smith

    grade a mid level big

    Knight / Will
    Stuckey / BG
    Josh Smith  / Singler
    Monroe / JJ
    Davis / FA

    • Mar 27, 201211:07 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      That would be a nice off season, but I don’t think I would have the rotation like that. I’d rather have Smoove at PF and JJ at SF.

  • Mar 27, 201211:05 am
    by tarsier

    Reply

    If you could now have your choice of Knight, Biyombo, Thompson, and Leonard, which would you take? I say those four because they seemed like the three most likely draft targets for the Pistons prior to the draft (well it may be wishful thinking to suggest Dumars would have taken Leonard over Vesely/Walker, but I was hoping he was higher on the draft board) plus the guy they actually got.

    • Mar 27, 20125:18 pm
      by Vince

      Reply

      Hmmm. Well on draft day I was really rooting for Biymobo or Leonard. Considering Biyombo went off the board at 7, I’d take Leonard over Knight. Maybe then Joe D wouldn’t have resigned Prince. I don’t know tough call but its either Leonard or Knight….

      • Mar 28, 20121:30 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Obviously I recognize that Dumars didn’t have his choice of those 4. But it was just a hypothetical anyway.

  • Mar 28, 20128:31 am
    by 2Tough

    Reply

    This wasn’t the FIRST game Stuckey’s closed out.  Come on, we haven’t forgotten that Lakers game from a few weeks ago have we?

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