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Signs of quit fill Pistons’ loss to Knicks

The Pistons were outplayed and outhustled, and that was before they basically gave up.

Since March 12, the Pistons have played seven games in seven locations. I don’t know whether that cost them tonight’s game, but it certainly didn’t help in their 101-79 loss to the Knicks tonight.

Just look at the rebounding battle.

The Pistons rebounded 18 percent of their own misses, their fifth-lowest total of the season. Worse, they rebounded 55 percent of New Yorks misses, their second-lowest total of the season. Both marks, over a full year, would rank last in the NBA.

Or check out plus-minus.

All 11 Pistons who played finished with negative plus-minuses. At no point did the Pistons play well.

Or see the quarterly scoring.

Detroit was outscored in each quarter, which to me, is the mark of a game where one team quits. For the most part, its difficult to sustain enough energy and focus to outplay a team in each quarter – unless the opponent gives in. Tonight, the Pistons acquiesced.

As bad as this loss was, it gives a chance to appreciate how hard the Pistons have played this season, tonight notwithstanding. This is just the second time the Pistons have been outscored each quarter in 48 games this season (four percent). That’s way better than eight times in 82 games last season (10 percent).

More than anything, I think changing from John Kuester to Lawrence Frank facilitated the difference. The Pistons are much more willing to play hard for Frank than Kuester.

Hopefully, they get back to that Monday in Washington

Charlie Villanueva plays

Charlie Villanueva played for the first time since March 10 against the Raptors and just the fourth first time all season, and he was, um, involved.

Villanueva (six shots, a pair of free throws and a turnover) used nine of the Pistons’ 18 plays while he was in the game. Unfortunately he made just one shot – and three free throws for his first five points of the season. He also blocked a shot on the other end.

Villanueva wasn’t quite so involved in every face, though. He rebounded only one of the 19 misses, including nine by the Knicks, while he was in the game.

Building blocks defense better

Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight haven’t drawn much defensive praise around these parts, but they did some good things on that end tonight.

On the Knicks’ final possession of the first half, Monroe came out to help beautifully to stifle a Jeremy Lin drive. Monroe had the benefit of knowing Lin would have to shoot before the half ended, but that was one of the most confident and aggressive helps I’ve seen from the Piston center. That wasn’t his only impressive rotation of the night

Knight played the passing lanes well, nabbing two steals. Knight has the length to go for more steals than he does. With a few more calculated risks, he could go from a subpar to good defender in a hurry.

42 Comments

  • Mar 25, 20123:25 am
    by robertbayer

    Reply

    Good article .. integrity .. just because you were about the only Piston beat writer (see Goodwill and Keith Langois on this game) who didnt want to use the 3 out of 4 days of games reason for the Pistons being tired .. Obviously you knew that the Knicks had just played 4 out 5 games.

  • Mar 25, 20129:02 am
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    Pistons are 0-8 without Stuckey in the lineup this season…think they miss him much?

    • Mar 25, 201212:40 pm
      by DVS

      Reply

      Even though i thin Moose is our best player, Stuckey is probably the most important. I don’t know if that makes sense, but whatever. everything runs smoother with stuckey in the game
       

    • Mar 25, 201212:40 pm
      by Tiko

      Reply

      Great let him sit the rest of the year.

      • Mar 25, 20121:16 pm
        by rick77

        Reply

        Why? You really think tanking willmake them get a better draft position? Or how bout it breeds contempt. I dont like tanking because it sets a bad precendent. The true mark of a team is playing hard day in day out and learning as well as honing your craft. This is not some lame duck organization that loses just to pin their hopes on a unproven commodity. The hope is to get better not worse. The team is playing like they they are starting to gel and to take that away would be assanine in my opinion. If Stuck is hurt sit him, if not then play him. NBA is not like NFL. Player needs to fit your team and what you aretrying to do. Never could I fit a square peg in a round hole. Maybe we get lucky I just dont think tanking it will provide that avenue.

        • Mar 25, 20122:06 pm
          by Tiko

          Reply

          I’m all for tanking

        • Mar 25, 20125:34 pm
          by 49erspistons

          Reply

          Ask the Spurs how tanking to get TD helped them?…..Oh yah…3 championships!!1

          • Mar 25, 20128:50 pm
            by Chris H

            The Spurs benefitted from a David Robinson injury that tanked their season, or a large portion of it, for them.  I don’t think it was intentional.  They got lucky, had the best record of the lottery teams and won first pick. With this last skid Detroit is probably not going to make the playoffs.  So that could happen to them, however, detroit does not have a perennial all star coming off of an injury ridden season as well.

      • Mar 25, 20121:45 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        I’m all for playing young guys who have a chance to be part of the future instead of veterans who are technically better right now and taking a few extra losses for it. But yeah, you don’t bench your second best guy just to make yourself lose.

    • Mar 25, 20123:10 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      Earlier in the year, I tried making the argument about how the Pistons hadn’t won any games without Stuckey and how much better their record was when he starts but I think Patrick said something about causation and how there was no logical case to be made.   However, Daye and Knight, I am firmly of the opinion that there is a correlation to be drawn and that this team might have been historically bad, as in worse than the Bobcats, if not for the signing of Stuckey.

      • Mar 25, 20126:58 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Such a response totally made sense. Even now, the sample size is small. But the previous 5 game sample was miniscule. Also, bear in mind that their opponents sans Stuckey are a combined 72 games over .500 or an average of winning 9 more games than they’ve lost. Their opponents with Stuckey in the lineup are a combined 82 games under .500 or an average of losing over 2 games more than they’ve won. Basically like the difference between playing the Lakers or the Clippers every game without Stuckey and playing the Bucks or the Suns every game with him.

      • Mar 25, 20127:25 pm
        by Daye and Knight

        Reply

        Off the top of my head, Stuckey has won us a few games earlier this season against Orlando drawing fouls and taking Howard outmof the game, LA when he hit some big shots and went off for 34 and Portland when we knew for sure a Stuckey/Knight back court would be in our future plans, without those we would have only won 13 games up to this point and I’m sure his stellar play as of late has won us more games that I can’t think of at the top of my head so you have a very logical perception of the team if we didn’t have Stuckey. Idk if I could watch if we were much worst than we already are but Stuckey at least gives us a dying chance on some nights.

  • Mar 25, 20122:04 pm
    by rick77

    Reply

    Well said Tarsier. I know we all dont have same opinions but its always good to hear someone elses opinion and why they feel that way. I always feel I can learn something from another as long as it has some facts to support it. In this case its obvious that if Stuck is healthy he needs to play and build on his game as it progresses.

  • Mar 25, 20122:51 pm
    by Pistons87

    Reply

    Last night is what happens when you keep losing all those close games night after night. Guys lose intensity because their not seeing the results and then they look at the schedule and have an excuse.

    Do people know what tanking means. I don’t want to root for a team that tries to lose games. The NBA has a lottery specifically to make tanking at the end of the season of little value. You are what you are at this point.

  • Mar 25, 20124:00 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    if the pistons lose enough games to get lucky in the lottery and draft anthony davis, i seriously doubt that they will suffer from some sort of prior-season hangover/depression that will negatively impact their ability to compete, with davis.
    instead, they will play better because they have a better player.
    where is the evidence of the existence of any syndrome that supposedly results because teams might choose to emphasize and prioritize developing young players and therefore lose a few more games?  exactly what teams have suffered from this syndrome and exactly when has it happened
    i’ll gladly take a few more losses this year, anthony davis next year and take my chances on a losing environment carrying over to the next season.
    imho, that is nothing but a myth.

    • Mar 25, 20124:14 pm
      by Daye and Knight

      Reply

      Or they could lose on purpose and still not end up with the #1 pick, having the worst record isn’t a lock to get the #1 pick especially since Stern owns the Hornets…that being said, no point in risking it

      Besides, Cleveland tanked to get LeBron and how many rings did they end up with? Where is LeBron now?

      • Mar 25, 20127:02 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        The NBA owning the Hornets is irrelevant. That doesn’t affect the motion of ping pong balls. But much as I want to see Detroit lose every game to up their odds, I don’t want to see the players not trying to win. And a coach holding out a player who is a valued part of the future in order to lose more would be the equivalent of just that.

        • Mar 25, 20127:19 pm
          by Daye and Knight

          Reply

          David Stern is the shadiest guy I’ve never met, he’ll throw in a few extra ping pong balls to make the Hornets a more attractive team so he can sell the franchise. Either way it’s like I mentioned above, the Cav’s tanked and it got them 0 rings and they had LeBron so….it’s not worth it cause if we lose on purpose karma will bit us in the ass like they did with Cleveland

          • Mar 25, 20128:56 pm
            by Chris H

            Stern is smarter than that.  He’d probably give the NOH balls a little more weight, or less size, or something to skew the chances in his favor.  He also might find an “old rule” still on the books that lets him manipulate the system. Is there a regional draft pick that would help the hornets maybe?

          • Mar 25, 20129:19 pm
            by tarsier

            A) Do you seriously believe in karma?
            B) Stern is not a likable guy but he’s not an idiot. Cheating would be a move only for an idiot. It’s not like he even gains anything from New Orleans being better. It’s not like he is getting a cut of the Hornets’ sell price.

          • Mar 25, 20129:27 pm
            by Daye and Knight

            If Stern wasn’t an idiot we would have had a 82 game season…so yes

          • Mar 25, 20129:29 pm
            by Daye and Knight

            If Stern wasn’t an idiot he would have gotten more for CP3 than Gordon instead of saying no to the Laker deal…so again…yes

          • Mar 25, 20129:30 pm
            by Daye and Knight

            Honestly I could go on and on about how Stern will never be the brightest person in any room

          • Mar 25, 20129:33 pm
            by Daye and Knight

            And last thing…ask Cleveland if they believe in Karma.

            Tanking to get a high draft pick didn’t work too well for them.

            It’s never a sure thing you get the first pick and even if you do you could end up with Oden or a LeBron that will eventually leave…it’s not worth it

          • Mar 25, 201210:40 pm
            by tarsier

            I’m not saying that bad/good things never happen to those who deserve them. Incidentally, if I’m a Cleveland fan, though, I’m happy with the results of that tanked season, though. Lebron may have left but he gave Cleveland arguably the seven best years ever of being a Cavs fan. I’m also not saying that there is anything wrong with believing in karma. I’d just be surprised in most cases to discover that someone genuinely believes in it–it would be like believing in the force or that we are in the matrix. All also totally valid, but kinda crackpot.

            And Stern may not be the smartest person ever, but he is not an idiot either. You don’t get such a position as an idiot. And personally, I still think the deal he got from the Clips was better than what he got from the Lakers. The Lakers’ offer would have given them a Houston-esque team. Pretty decent and a team with a real perennial shot at the playoffs. But it would be an upset for them to ever make the second round.

            Also, if Stern wasn’t an idiot, there’d be an 82 game season? Really? You think he wanted a lock out at all? He had to get the owners willing to take a deal the players would also take. Could it have been done quicker? In theory, certainly. I highly doubt you or I or most others could have pulled it off though. So that means what? He should have put 82 games into a compressed season? Do you really want back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-backs? That’s seriously what ti would take. Times when teams play 5 nights in a row.

          • Mar 25, 201210:45 pm
            by tarsier

            I would say that some other GMs were foolish though to not offer more for Paul. OKC could have offered Westbrook. Atlanta could have offered Horford+Teague. New York could have offered Melo. Indiana could have offered Granger+Hansbrough+Collison+picks.

  • Mar 25, 20124:09 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    i’m really pleased with the Pistonsn actually. They improved a lot. They had an unfortunate injury, now they get rewarded with more ping pong balls. we have a team that has actually improved its play, from the coach on down. the better the picks, the better team we have next year. they’re not tanking on purpose, but it just works out

  • Mar 25, 20124:18 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    the only thing this proves is that we need a better backup pg in the 2nd round.  i’m glad Joe Dumars is experiencing this. Machado here we come!

  • Mar 25, 20124:46 pm
    by rick77

    Reply

    My point is tanking is dumb whether you choose tobelive it or not. The paying fan does not appreciate getting hosed because someone wants more ping pong balls. You say their is no eveidence but quite the contrary. When you look at NBA draft lottery all you have to do is look at the list and see how many teams have actually won while tanking. Im gonna guess and say maybe 4 or 5 teams may have won the lottery since its been in existence. In football tanking guarantees a better draft pick but in basketball all it gives you is extra ping pong balls. Their is no actual evidence to support that losing games gurantees the top choice. If the team respects the coach,organization,and fans it would be in the best interest to at least try to win.

    Oh yeah Frankie D its only a myth because thats your opinion and nothing more. I respectfully disagree when in fact you get better by practice and staying true to the coaches principles. Explain to me how teams go on 20 game losing streaks in college or in pro sports? Do they know automatically believe the next year they will get better? You dont lose for the sake of losing no matter what. The one thing I take from losing is the will to learn how to win no matter what player is on your team. Each individual player has to look at themselevs and ask themselself what do they need to do to get better and make my team better. The thing I will say is Detroit needs some bigmen period. I honestly dont care how they get them but they sure do need them.

    • Mar 25, 20125:12 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      proof?
      evidence?
      specific teams that have “tanked” and gotten the top pick ans suffered?
      anyone is welcome to their belief, or their opinion, but just because one believes a certain way, does not mean it is true. 
      “Detroit needs some bigmen period”
      one obvious and clear way is to get one of the top draft choices.
      duh….

    • Mar 25, 20127:04 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Tanking actually will up your draft pick. Besides giving you better odds at a top 3 pick, it also gives you a higher pick if you don’t get bumped up. On average, the more you lose, the better your pick. There are exceptions (usually one or two every year) but that still leaves about a dozen teams for whom it does hold true.

  • Mar 25, 20124:48 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    I’m against tanking when they have a chance at the playoffs. But now that its not possible, Tank Away!

    Sit Stuckey for as long as necessary. They do that anyways because no need to risk further inury in meanungless games, but in the process if it helps them lose and land a better player for next year its a winwin.

    • Mar 25, 20127:05 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Wait for him to be 100% for sure. But at that point, he might as well play.

  • Mar 25, 20125:54 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    detroit always makes dumb decisions of that sort.
    they could have sat stuckey last year, after he had his physical problem on the court.  they could have shut him down for the year and ended up with a better draft choice.  while i do like knight, getting biyombo would have given the team a player that is much harder to draft.  finding combo guards who can play the point is fairly easy.  gifted big guys like biyombo come along more seldom.
    they have the same kind of choice now…stuckey is hurt, they can let him sit, get a few more losses, more ping pong balls and at the very least, better draft position.
    will they do it?
    i’d doubt it…
    joe don’t do strategy.

    • Mar 25, 20129:04 pm
      by Chris H

      Reply

      I’m still not for tanking, well not really.  Finding out if we have anything, or could get anything for Charlie V, BG, Daye or Macklin.  These are things I think Detroit should be focusing on.  Maybe they have something, maybe they don’t, but it’d sure be nice to know.

    • Mar 26, 20121:48 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      @Frankie D   Since it’s so easy to draft point guards or even combo guards, who are the players available who meet that definition in the lottery this year?   By my count, there are zero while there are plenty of bigs.   Also, it seems like the Pistons can stand pat and still get Drummond which would be fine by me.

  • Mar 25, 20126:27 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    My fantasy team needs Stuckey back as bad as the Pistons do, I need his FT’s to get my FT% back up

    http://games.espn.go.com/fba/clubhouse?leagueId=4166&teamId=1&season=2012&scoringPeriodId=93

    I could probably win without him but I need him…just to be on the safe side lol

    Get well soon my friend

    • Mar 25, 20127:07 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      There is that too. But there is a decent chance I will be hoping for him to be out another week just to up my odds in the first round of the playoffs.

      :)

  • Mar 25, 20126:44 pm
    by Chris

    Reply

    I am not sure which team has the most lottery picks on its roster? Is it the Bobcats? Wahington, Minesota, Sacramento, GS…They have a lot of high draft picks.
     
    And the team with the least? The Spurs?
     
    I would rather watch adults play competitive basketball.

    • Mar 25, 20127:32 pm
      by rick77

      Reply

      Thank You Chris. Btw Frankie free agency works as well as trades but you conveniently leave that out to prove your point. You can have your point but my point is losing does nothing unless its simply in the cards. These players get paid to play not lose unless its all they can do and nothing less.

    • Mar 26, 20121:42 am
      by oats

      Reply

      @Chris. I really disagree with you, and you are totally misrepresenting the facts on this. Washington only has 4 lottery picks on roster, the same number as the Pistons (Knight, Monroe, BG, CV). Charlotte does have a lot, 7 in fact. Miami also has 7. Dallas has 8. Minnesota leads the league with 9. At 24-26, Minnesota isn’t exactly a powerhouse, but the 8th seed in the west is only 26-23, so they are totally in the hunt. A lot of their lottery picks aren’t their own though (Beasley, Ridnour, Randolph, Webster, and Darko), and out of theirs only Wes Johnson looks disappointing. By the way, Minnesota has a core of lottery picks Ricky Rubio (pick 5), Kevin Love (pick 5), and Derrick Williams (pick 2) that looks pretty solid. I’d take that top 3 over what Detroit has on roster right now, although if Detroit’s next lottery pick pans out that could easily go back in their favor. Still, it doesn’t look like having a bunch of lottery picks is bad for business. Oh, and can someone name a contender in the last 10 years that didn’t prominently feature (one of their top 3 players) a lottery pick? As far as I know that team doesn’t exist, and if they do then they are certainly outweighed by the contenders with a lottery pick.
       
      To be honest, I don’t even fully understand why you would bring up the Spurs. Yeah, San Antonio doesn’t have the fewest number of lottery picks, but Duncan is one of the best #1 overall draft picks ever. If anything they prove that you only need to get the right guy in the lottery once to make it big, which is kind of the argument for why people want teams to tank. Get Duncan and you don’t have to go back to being bad until he retires/declines/leaves.
       
      I can give a few examples of why lottery picks, especially high lottery picks are helpful, but it seems really unnecessary. I’ll concede that they don’t guarantee success, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are strong assets. The fact is, the higher the pick, the greater the pool of available talent you have in the draft. With that, your odds of getting a really good player goes up. Yes, teams screw it up all the time, but not as often as they miss on picks later in the draft. What’s more, they are useful in trades to help acquire talent. As for those teams that routinely have lottery picks and still stink, that is just proof that you need someone competent to make the decisions for you. I guess I could see an argument that Dumars has so completely lost it that he could turn the team into the Wizards, but I don’t buy that argument. I just don’t think he’s that thoroughly incompetent.
       
      By the way, I’m sort of on the fence about tanking. I root for the team to lose because I think it is in the best interest of the team. I feel like that is my right as a fan, and since my job isn’t on the line I have the luxury of sitting back and looking at the big picture. I also don’t think the coach or players should try to tank. This is their livelihood we’re talking about, and people at the pro level in sports are extremely competitive. I’m reasonably competitive myself, and if someone asked me to tank I’d not so kindly tell them what I think of that suggestion. Besides, a lot of people don’t have a switch that makes them go from competitive, not competitive, and back again. I think most people can do the first change but find the second one really tough. I’d rather the team not have to worry about getting the players to care again, it is just easier that way.

  • Mar 26, 201212:49 am
    by domnick

    Reply

    i’ll just wait for june and i think our hopes are going well..
    A draft is there….. we just need a Star Level

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