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Rodney Stuckey duels with Kobe Bryant and comes out victorious

Most Valuable Player

Andrew Bynum (30 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks) dominated the interior. Even when the Pistons successfully boxed him out, he used his superior length and bulk to reach over and get boards, anyway.

Defining moment

Kobe Bryant made a long 2-point jumper that was tightly contested by Tayshaun Prince to end regulation and force overtime. Even in a loss, that moment was bigger than any. Kobe just has that gravitas.

Rodney Stuckey carries Pistons

How did the Pistons win despite the above? Rodney Stuckey (17 points in first three quarters, 17 points in fourth quarter and overtime) took over and out-Kobed Kobe down the stretch.

Stuckey is a versatile player. He’s capable of scoring, passing, rebounding and defending well for his position. At his best, Stuckey contributes in a variety of ways.

But on some nights, when the Pistons needs fall to a single area, Stuckey should channel his energy to that facet of the game. Tonight was was one of those nights.

And, boy, did Stuckey answer the challenge. His big stretch started with this:

A drive for a layup on Detroit’s next possession, a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation and the Pistons’ first two baskets of overtime gave Stuckey 11 straight Detroit points. Talk about “inner bully.”

Why Stuckey needed to step up

The top three Pistons in field-goal attempts per game all played horribly.

Yes, Greg Monroe rebounded well (15). Yes, Tayshaun Prince defended Kobe Bryant well (holding the Laker star to 8-of-26 shooting). Yes, Brandon Knight passed decently (three assists and one turnover in 25 minutes).

But overall, those three played poorly – and they played especially poorly when it came to scoring. Neither Monroe (1-for-10), Prince (5-for-15) nor Knight (0-for-6) attempted a single free throw.

Aside from two offensive, possessions, Monroe didn’t play in the fourth quarter or overtime. I’m fine with that. Monroe gets plenty of minutes, and if he’s not producing during a game the Pistons have a chance to win, I’m OK with sitting him. That shows Lawrence Frank’s consistency in his message that playing time is earned, and there’s value in reinforcing that to a young player.

Ben Gordon heats up

Ben Gordon (15 points, five rebounds and five assists) has been more down that up lately, but he was smoothly making long 2-pointers tonight. Lawrence Frank rode with Gordon for the game’s final 21:46, cutting into Brandon Knight’s minutes.

At this point, we know Gordon is capable of games like this. He’s often a useful backup scoring guard – perhaps even more often than not. Tonight showed me nothing to upgrade that evaluation.

Jonas Jerebko does more good than bad

I wasn’t always happy with Jonas Jerebko’s shot selection (3-of-8), but he’s big and active, so I can live with it. Jerebko (10 points and five rebounds) should rarely be creating his own shot, something he tried to do more than once tonight.

If the Pistons had more reliable offensive options, it would bother me even more. But until they do, as long as Jerebko keeps hustling, he’s earned the bad shots he sprinkles throughout his game.

The Lakers’ problems

This was a great win for the Pistons. The Palace was rocking late in the fourth quarter and during overtime, a deserved treat for a hard-working group. As great as it would be for the young players to progress and for the Pistons to lose every game, those goals work against each other. We are dealing with humans, after all, and the team needs a few wins like this just to remain engaged and working hard.

The Lakers certainly complied.

As Patrick predicted, the Pistons used a variety of players to adequately defend Kobe Bryant (8-of-26). But that didn’t stop Kobe from shooting. He used 32 possessions – more than Andrew Bynum’s 23 possessions and Pau Gasol’s 21 possessions.

Jason Maxiell (10 points and 10 rebounds) did a decent job defending Gasol, which shows how much more athletic and physically fit Maxiell is than the last couple years. And Ben Wallace came off the bench to give Bynum a little trouble. But, on the whole, the Pistons’ couldn’t consistently defend the Lakers’ interior duo. Kobe and crew didn’t take advantage.

Also, the Lakers are 17-2 at home and 6-13 on the road – easily the NBA’s largest drop by location. With a spirited collection of fans in the building, Detroit had a true home-court advantage tonight.

40 Comments

  • Mar 6, 201210:21 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    The MJ crossover on Kobe down the stretch has to be the best highlight of Stuckey’s career so far.

    • Mar 6, 201210:41 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      I will have to download the game and see it. I was listening to an online LA radio station and the commentators were going crazy when he did it. Its good to see us start to win games ugly if we have to. Winning ugly games like this reminds me of when Joe first took over and we had a bunch of mismatched spare parts for our team. I will admit that i am wanting a good lottery pick but i can’t help but get caught up in a pistons win. Hopefully karma is good to us when those lottery balls drop and it is remember we didn’t tank our season. It would be great if we only had like a 2% chance of the 1st pick and we somehow get it. I would never get rid of the last 3-4 years of pain but it would certainly mask it. Davis manning the paint next to Monroe would be awesome.
       
      Stuckey seems to be finally living up to last seasons promise of becoming THAT team leader that he stated he would. His range is improving which in turn is opening up his driving lanes. Full props to the kid tonight putting the team on his back when Moose and Knight struggled.

      • Mar 6, 201210:48 pm
        by Kk

        Reply

        Yes this comment is spot on. It was nice to finally see bench players taking over when Knight and Moose were struggling.

        I like that Stuckey is being more aggressive, the most impressing thing was the low number of turnovers.

        Good to see the boys in blue get this win. I still don’t think tanking the season is a good move, look at Washington, Sacramento, Charolette for the past years

      • Mar 6, 201211:16 pm
        by rick77

        Reply

        While I cannot say the last 3-4 years have not been bad the fact still remains that less than 10 years ago we won a title. So when you say it like dont forget the good as well. Overall great to see team effort. This should be a blueprint for the team moving forward of how they should play. Stuck had some early moments in his career that I wont forget like dueling with Sessions a few years back scoring 40 against Milwaukee (dont quote me on the points) and like 38 on Rose and the Bulls. Tonight he impressed me because he came back from a poor game the other night and went balls out, which is good to see. Again something to hopefully build on.

  • Mar 6, 201210:51 pm
    by gordbrown

    Reply

    Please punch my Stuckey Slappie card again. That is all.

  • Mar 6, 201210:56 pm
    by Jacob

    Reply

    To Stuckey: “Forget about Kobe. You’ve out-Kobed him.” Seinfeld reference. And if you know the episode you know that Neil came out on top in the end so the analogy works on multiple levels.

    • Mar 6, 201211:31 pm
      by Mark

      Reply

      haha, that was the Mr Peanut episode I think. Nice reference.

  • Mar 6, 201210:59 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    Pistons beat Lakers behind Stu…Stu…STUCKEY?!?!
    Wait…let me get this straight…We beat LA, and STUCKEY is clutch??

    My night just got better! Lol

    #teamstuckeyslappie

  • Mar 6, 201211:11 pm
    by Steve K

    Reply

    This may be Stuckey’s best ever game.

    I know he’s scored more points, but he was truly awesome tonight. As one who didn’t want him back, I’m eating serious crow.

    • Mar 6, 201211:25 pm
      by Stuckey and whoever

      Reply

      I had to say some words on this night, its a given.  My uncle has had season tickets for around 20 years.  Recently last year stop getting them, told me a few months ago, can you believe how much money they gave Stuckey!?  A lot of people don’t understand how this guy can do it.  But sense RIP left it has been his time.  Keep at it, great game to add to the resume.  Question, how can you out duel Kobe and not get MVP?…Just saying lol

  • Mar 6, 201211:18 pm
    by jayg108

    Reply

    Haven’t seen this Stuckey since the playoffs when he came in for Billups.  What a sweet crossover on Kobe.
     
    Nothing better than beating the Lakers.  This even tops downing the C’s in Boston.

  • Mar 6, 201211:29 pm
    by Domnick

    Reply

    im just thinking about Stuckey’s game as his REVENGE against John Kuester and LAKERS :)

    Good Game Detroit!!! its good to see upsets like this once in a while.

    • Mar 6, 201211:32 pm
      by Mark

      Reply

      You have to think that was in Stuckeys mind. I think he wanted to stick it Kuester.

    • Mar 6, 201211:57 pm
      by Jacob

      Reply

      Great point. Anytime Stuckey feels like he has something to prove to somebody he brings it. If only he realized that he has something to prove to everybody all the time.

  • Mar 6, 201211:58 pm
    by Stuckey and whoever

    Reply

    Its already up!!
    http://youtu.be/biIx9afWpTY

    • Mar 7, 201212:15 am
      by Jacob

      Reply

      That was vicious. Thanks for posting glad to get to see it again and again and again.

  • Mar 6, 201211:58 pm
    by sebastian

    Reply

    Like a handful of US have always known: Stuckey is and will remain a key fixture to OUR rebuilding plans. The $8.5 over 3yrs, with this season at a prorated scale was a very reasonable contract offered by Gores/Joe.
    Stuckey pulled the wagon tonight, jack!

  • Mar 7, 201212:01 am
    by Fennis

    Reply

    Waiting to here from Laser.

  • Mar 7, 201212:01 am
    by Fennis

    Reply

    *hear

  • Mar 7, 201212:15 am
    by Stuckey and whoever

    Reply

    He does not say anything when the team wins… …. …..

  • Mar 7, 20123:20 am
    by Max

    Reply

    After that crossover and timeout, the Lakers came out like they were angry that Stuckey embarrassed Kobe and doubled him every time he touched it and half court pressed him as he crossed midcourt.  It was intense.   And on the other end, Kobe clearly wanted to vindicate himself every time down but the Pistons did a good job of forcing him to pass until he hit that regulation ending jumper.   What a stretch!

  • Mar 7, 20124:21 am
    by swish22

    Reply

    It was a great performance by STuckey!  I hope he can continue this type of effort!  I’d rather be wrong and see us winning than be right and see us losing!  I’m a Pistons fan!
    Drinks on me for all the slackies/slappies or whatever you call yourselves!   

    • Mar 7, 20128:48 am
      by Daye and Knight

      Reply

      We (me, Max and I think Stuckey and whoever) were called a bunch of Stuckey slappies a while back cause we kept defending him…feels pretty damn good to be an original lol

      • Mar 7, 20129:01 am
        by Steve K

        Reply

        Don’t get too crazy. He did just come off an 0-fer a few games ago. But, yes, it’s a good day to be a Stuckey fan. We’ll see what he does the rest of the way.

        • Mar 7, 20129:29 am
          by Daye and Knight

          Reply

          True,but since then he’s put up 20+ over his last 3 games, everyone has a bad game once in a while

  • Mar 7, 20127:02 am
    by Josh

    Reply

    While I love Brandon Knight, Bismack Biyombo had 10 points 15 rebounds and 7 BLOCKS against Dwight Frickin’ Howard and the Magic. Damn you Charlotte.

    • Mar 7, 20128:53 am
      by vic

      Reply

      yeah thats just the beginning too… thats his second near triple double that I know of… as a rookie. amazing.

      I loved the Stuckey signing mostly because I knew he was improving and because it wasn’t overpaying him, keeping him hungry. He had a couple 30 + nights last year too. The new style of play really fits him.

  • Mar 7, 20127:24 am
    by shawn brown

    Reply

    great win!!!!   unlike the past few seasons this team is showing progress despite the bad record.  great to see stuckey get going like that, hes in his fifth year and thats usually  the make or break year for a guard.  looks like he is finally hitting his stride.    

  • Mar 7, 20128:56 am
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    I haven’t been on here for a while cause this semester has been crazy and I’m covering our girls basketball team, add that to work and PTK and I barely have time to go on here but since it’s spring break, I think I can make time…especially since Stuckey rose to the occasion.

    This is what I visioned out of Stuckey after he closed out the season last year averaging 25ppg and 8 assist. He can play this good regularly when motivated enough and while our season is already all but over, its nice to see we’re another good draft piece away from competing for a playoff position next year.

    We almost beat Miami, beat Boston wince and now a win over LA…I’m starting to think our team is better than what our record says.

    Another thing I noticed is we have almost no supporters at the Palace, but whenever a lot of people show up we play really well. Hopefully as our team gets better the crowd shows up too.

    • Mar 7, 20128:57 am
      by Daye and Knight

      Reply

      *twice

      Stupid iPad lol

  • Mar 7, 201210:06 am
    by tim

    Reply

    great win.  Gotta say, JJs effort and hustle on the hard traps defensively were a big part of it.  One of the more exciting games of the year (only the 2nd overtime I think).  Great to see stuckey nail some big shots

  • Mar 7, 201212:01 pm
    by Al

    Reply

    Love the win, but he has to realize that he has to keep that same high energy level every night. I notice only when high caliber teams come to town he zones in and dominates, then he’s streaky. But boy last night was a great team effort and how cool was it to see Gores and his boys chillin looking bussed standing up rooting for his young squad! Lmao

  • Mar 7, 201212:24 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    i’ve been screaming for stuckey to make that pull up jumper a part of his arsenal for years.  if he adds that shot to his bag of tricks and starts to use it regularly he’ll be unstoppable.  he’ll immediately become a 20+ points a game scorer.
    every defender has to overplay him for his drive, and he could get that shot anytime he wanted.  i’d like to see him move a bit closer, maybe the middle of the paint, but that one shot, if he took it regularly, would set up every other part of his offense.  
    i hope he starts using it regularly.

  • Mar 7, 201212:32 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    the pistons should thank kobe for being so selfish and dumb.
    if he’d just stopped shooting and kept pounding the ball into bynum and gasol, the lakers would have won, going away.
    but he’s become fixated on his own offense and his selfishness killed the lakers last night.
    detroit had no answers for bynum.  he could have scored 50 points, if kobe had deferred to him.
    what is interesting is that the lakers look a lot like mike brown’s old cavaliers.
    kobe running around, tossing up “hero shots” while the other players stand around and watch.
    kobe assuming the lebron role in the show.
    it makes you appreciate how well the old triangle offense helped to stifle kobe’s selfish instincts and how those instincts are starting to come to the fore now that jackson and his triangle offense are gone. 
    i always thought kobe was smarter than this…

    • Mar 7, 201212:48 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Lebron actually was a willing passer in Brown’s offense though. Kobe only is when he feels like it.

  • Mar 7, 201212:38 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    will never understand why coaches still go “lenny wilkins” and let guys like kobe take last second shots against single coverage.
    wilkins put poor old craig ehlo out on an island against michael jordan plenty of times and jordan always plunged the stake in the cavs’ heart.
    no way,  no how i’d ever do what frank did and just let tay – or any single player – guard kobe on a last second shot.
    i don’t care if artest or gasol or anyone else – except for maybe fisher – gets a wide open 10 foot shot…i’m going to double or triple team kobe and make him pass the ball to someone else and let someone else take that shot.
    letting a guy like kobe take that shot is basically asking for the outcome that happened: a tie game and overtime instead of walking off with a win in regulation.

  • Mar 7, 20121:37 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Oh, Frankie.    Prince did everything but block the shot and Kobe simply nailed an extremely low percentage shot on a night where he wasn’t shooting the ball well.  Ehlo, by the way, never did as good a job and you could see him jumping right by MJ and leaving him wide open as he releases that famous shot.
    Chris Paul’s teams numbers in crunch time situations has been better than Kobe’s for years for precisely the reason that he passes to open teammates no matter who they are.  It’s very wrong to think Kobe will hit a higher pct of hero shots than his teammates will hit open shots and Kobe’s numbers more than bear it out.   He just takes so many of these shots and people only remember the ones he hits.  Are you complaining about his missed three pointer when he tried to tie the game in overtime?    Here’s a link on the issue.
    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/24200/the-truth-about-kobe-bryant-in-crunch-time
    BTW: I feel like you had similar issues with a Joe Johnson game winner earlier in the year but I don’t like to complain when a guy hits a shot that has to have less than a 40% chance of going in unless it is executed perfectly.

    • Mar 7, 20123:18 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      @max,
      on raymond felton…
      two things…
      felton came into the season in bad shape.  he’s apparently lost some of the excess weight, but he’s still not in great shape.
      i haven’t seen him live, but he apparently is still chubby, according to people who’ve seen him up close.  at my local sports bar, his knickname is “cheeseburger” because he’s one cheeseburger away from being fat.
      now that has always been a problem, but it’s even more of a problem for him this year.
      mcmillan’s offense is also a bad fit for felton.
      portland’s offense is heavy on isolations.
      so the point guard is often simply making entry passes and then spotting up for jumpers if a bailout pass is made.  or he is expected to penetrate and pass out to shooters.
      they run lots of isos and pick and pops, and very few pick and rolls, which is felton’s forte.
      andre miller was great for the offense because he could post up on his own and get his own offense and if he got a bailout pass, he’d usually snake in closer to get a 8-12 foot shot off the dribble.  and if aldridge slid over for a shot off the screen, miller would sneak under the boards, to try to rebound or pick up loose balls.
      that is not felton’s game at all.  he’s better in a pick and roll offense, like d’antoni’s.  portland doesn’t really have big guys who dive to the basket.  camby doesn’t expend that type of energy on offense anymore. aldridge has horrible footwork and is simply more comfortable spotting up for a 15 foot jumper off the screen.  he almost never rolls to the basket, which is  what felton is looking for his screener to do.
      all in all, the miller for felton trade was a bad move, one that should never have been made.  and now, felton has lost his confidence – he’s made public statements about that fact – and it’s hard imagining him turning his season around in portland.
      i’d be shocked if he was still in portland after the trade deadline.

  • Mar 7, 20122:46 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    we’re really talking about two different things.
    the question isn’t whether kobe – or any other player – is the best guy to take that kind of shot.  the issue is whether you let any player of that sort – a guy willing to repeatedly take that shot with the game on the line – take that sort of shot.
    that is a far different question as to whether he is more efficient than another player or whether his team is more or less efficient.  the linked article touches on that issue, and i’ll take a look at the charts and numbers later.
    the better issue is whether gasol or bynum or artest or the other players on the court have the will to take that shot.  and what is their shooting percentage on those types of shots?
    my guess is that it is far worse than kobe’s.
    and that overtime shot by kobe was shockingly bad.  not sure what he was thinking.  it almost appeared that he thought the shot clock was different than it was.  he shot it as though he thought the clock was near zero, not the several seconds he had left. 
    chuck daly was right.  you don’t let guys like jordan and kobe beat you.  daly’s philosophy worked very well.

    • Mar 8, 20123:17 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      No fair.  I can’t debate when you trump me with a Daly.

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