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Rodney Stuckey injury mars pathetic Pistons performance

The Pistons were embarrassingly bad in their 119-89 loss to the Magic tonight – but, hey, that occasionally happens to bad teams .

Sometimes, you have to relax, laugh at how inept the Pistons look and dream about lottery odds.

But the stinker became no joking matter when Rodney Stuckey bumped knees with Jason Richardson just before halftime. Stuckey received enough attention while sprawled on the court as the intermission began that the injury looked fairly serous. He didn’t return in the second half, and it would be a shame if yet another injury derailed the home stretch of what has been Stuckey’s finest season.

I can take some solace that a Stuckey injury would help the Pistons’ lottery odds, but I’d rather he didn’t experience what looked to be serious pain for my selfish desires as a fan.

Speaking of, I don’t think I’ve asked much of the Pistons this year, but man, they didn’t even come close tonight.

Tayshaun Prince made his first five shots. Otherwise, his teammates didn’t appear to realize they were playing in an NBA game tonight. They looked dazed as Ish Smith got wherever he wanted off the dribble while setting up his teammates for wide open 3-pointers – especially Richardson, who made 6-of-7 from beyond the arc – and Glen Davis had his way inside. The Pistons’ offense was nearly as disastrous, with turnovers and bad shots dominating the night.

But this was just one game, and unlike early in the season, Detroit has mostly avoided blowout losses to non-elite teams. With Dwight Howard out, the Magic certainly aren’t an elite team. Plus, the Pistons were playing their fourth games in four cities in five nights.

This ridiculous lack of effort is never acceptable, but it was relatively understandable tonight.

Being outsmarted, though, is also never acceptable, and there were no excuses tonight for that.

Stan Van Gundy is a better coach than Lawrence Frank, and this game illustrated a key reason: Van Gundy’s players understand what’s a good shot much better than Frank’s do.

The numbers in a game like this can be a bit misleading, but thankfully, there’s a clear cutoff:

pp charlie villanueva enters

At that point, both teams were shooting a similar percentage on shots longer than 18 feet:

  • Pistons: .500 (7-of-14)
  • Magic: .522 (12-of-23)

But one team was scoring much more efficiently on those shots:

  • Pistons: 1.21 points per shot (17 points)
  • Magic: 1.57 points per shot (36 points)

That’s because a much larger percentage of Orlando’s long jumpers were 3-pointers compared to Detroit’s. From that distance, the expected value of a 3-point attempt is considerably higher than a 2-point attempt.

The Pistons repeatedly passed up decent looks at 3-pointers only to settle for similar looks at long 2-pointers. That’s bad basketball, and unless they fix it, that will lead to more bad losses.

Before Frank gets on his players for their effort tonight, he should look at that systematic flaw in his offense.

Awful skid

With a 98-75 loss to the Heat on Sunday, Detroit has lost its last two games by a combined 53 points. That’s the Pistons’ worst two-game stretch since they lost to the Trail Blazers by 31 points and the Lakers by 24 points – a combined 55 points – during the 2000-01 season.

The Pistons have also lost three in a row. Their 30-point loss tonight was their worst loss of the season and matched a 30-point loss to the Nuggets on March 12, 2011.

8 Comments

  • Apr 9, 201211:12 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    Goodbye Henson, hello Drummond!

    • Apr 10, 20126:09 am
      by Mark

      Reply

      There’s still a decent chance we could finish 6th worst. I think if we got the 6th pick, Drummond is real possibility. Please, please, please…..

      • Apr 10, 20128:11 am
        by Daye and Knight

        Reply

        If we can finish worst than the Raptors and Kings then Drummond will almost be a sure thing! (depending on pre draft workouts)

        • Apr 10, 20125:30 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          A sure thing? He still has a real shot at going as high as 2nd overall.

          Also, why 6th? It seems highly implausible that Charlotte, Washington, New Orleans, or Cleveland catch Detroit. But what is you fifth team that the Pistons couldn’t end up behind? Sacramento? I guess they are two games behind. But that hardly seems to qualify as out of reach.

  • Apr 10, 20128:52 am
    by Al

    Reply

    Horrible game to watch, in fact painful! It was refreshing to see CV in the game and hit a couple of shots right off the back and play with a little defense. Audition for trade perhaps?? The pistons looked bad as a unit last night but 4 cities in 5 nights is still no excuse my god man! lol. Gordon looked horrible and dribbles way to much, please just the open shot or lighty contested shot for godsake! BKnight is going to be good, but until he learns how to get his shot up more comfortable he will force up bricks like last night. When he’s open he is high per%. Maybe they were fatigued maybe they got fatigued when the game got out of hand early but they clearly are not the same team they had been a couple of weeks ago, this mirrored the 4-20 pistons of early. At this point in games like this i’d like to see the future line up of Knight, Daye, JJ, Monroe and Macklin, i mean what gives, its not tanking its evaluating our youngs in an NBA caliber game with real officiating and not PRACTICE and Frank as the ref! Time to look ahead in the late half of games when the L wont matter.

    • Apr 10, 201210:19 am
      by MrBlockedShot

      Reply

      Agreed on that. That was not even a watchable game, in fact it was the first game of the season I could not bear to watch completely and gave up in the third. We were so horrible and our effort was so pathetic I could not bear it. Did you realize what our body language was in the first quarter ? We were already  beaten just minutes after the tip-off. imho there’s no excuse for that. If you’re tired you most likely will be worn down halfway the third, but not in the begining of the first quarter. I’m very worried about Monroe. He has been so lazy and sloppy on deffense lately that it has reduced his minutes (only 22 last night !). He’s too hesitant in the offensive end and he doesn’t even dare to shoot the ball (7 shots per game in the last 3 games !!!). He’s now where he finished last year. Maybe one or two steps behind from his game at the begining of this season. I can’t understand why he’s not shooting the ball10-15 times per game yet. No post moves, no shots, not even barely tip-ins. Only drives or turnovers…barely involved in the offensive end.
      Well, we have 9 games ahead and 4 or 5 wins more. I don’t think we’re going to pick higher than the 8th possition unless we’re lucky and the lottery gives us the chance to pick among the first three picks. 
      Any news on Macklin?? Put Wilinks in the inactive list and play him pleaseee!!

  • Apr 10, 201210:06 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    9 games to go and i think we will have to lose all of them to get a decent shot at a top 3, 4 or 5 pick. Its time to start CV, Daye, Macklin, Walker, Wilkins for the rest of the year IMHO.

    • Apr 10, 20125:45 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      A decent shot at a top 3 pick will happen. Well, depending on what your definition of “a decent shot” is. The Pistons have at least a 10% chance at drafting top 3. But yeah, the more losses the better.

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