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Merry Christmas!

Pistons acceptably defended Damian Lillard’s game-winner

SB Nation’s Coach Nick broke down Damian Lillard’s game-winner in the Pistons’ loss to the Trail Blazers last night (hat tip: Matt Watson of Detroit Bad Boys):

Excuse Nick saying Andre Drummond when it’s clearly Greg Monroe. You get the point.

Moral of the story: The Pistons, Josh Smith excepted, defended the play pretty well, and Smith’s error was far from egregious. Damian Lillard just made a play.

If anything, the Maurice Cheeks could have had Monroe trap and force the ball from Lillard, but leaving LaMarcus Aldridge space probably wouldn’t have been a great strategy.

Brooklyn Nets beat up Hooper, but Pistons mascot gets last laugh

(hat tip: Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game]

Josh Smith hits rim on 3-pointer at buzzer, Pistons beat Timberwolves

Josh Smith hitting the rim on a 3-pointer and the Pistons winning: two things I suspect you’ll see more often than not this season.

(hat tip: Ben Golliver of Point Forward)

This happened to poor, poor Brandon Knight tonight

The Pistons are not having a good night in L.A. (on the plus side, this should be an easy recap), but after this play from Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan, Brandon Knight is having a less good night than any of us. It was painful to watch that from my couch, I couldn’t imagine watching it from Knight’s view.

Also, I think we need to ask the question … has Knight had the worst year on the receiving end of highlights? The Jordan clip and the Kyrie clip … man, I don’t wish those on anyone. Also, ‘RIP Brandon Knight’ is trending on Twitter. So if you’re looking for the Pistons to give up the fight and increase their possible lottery combinations, well, this West Coast trip is off to a great start for that.

Video: Brandon Knight dunks on Pau Gasol

As Dan pointed out, the Pistons had great moments offensively yesterday against the Lakers, and this was one of the best. Brandon Knight hasn’t dunked often as a Piston, but this one was pretty nasty. And how about Andre Drummond leading that break? Sometimes it feels like Detroit’s bigs are better passers than their guards.

Isaiah Thomas on Charlie Villanueva, whom NBA fined for flagrant foul: ‘It was a dirty play, and he’s a dirty player’

NBA release:

Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva has been fined $25,000 for his Flagrant Foul Two on Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with four seconds remaining in the second quarter of the Pistons’ 103-97 win over the Kings at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Jan. 1.

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Kings:

The Kings said it wasn’t the first hard foul by Villanueva. Thomas said the fact he was airborne on the play wasn’t the worst part for him.

"No, it was just the fact that it was a dirty play and he’s a dirty player," Thomas said. "It is what it is. He got kicked out of the game, so it wasn’t nothing big. A lot of guys do stuff like that knowing you can’t really fight in this league, so it’s all right."

If you haven’t seen the play yet, here it is:

Maybe this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. After all, the Kings claim Villanueva had made hard fouls before, and perhaps some of those crossed into dirty territory. Plus, Villanueva has a history of getting into on the court, whether or not he appears to be at fault.

But in isolation, it certainly appears Thomas and the NBA overreacted to what appeared to be a run-of-the-mill hard foul.

Video: Andre Drummond, point guard?

Andre Drummond has been nothing if not versatile this season. He’s already shown off his stretch four skills and last night, he broke out his point guard abilities. Not really sure what that celebratory dance was afterwards, but the pass was certainly nice.

Video: Kyle Singler gets all the buckets

Between Andre Drummond‘s dunks, Kim English‘s general awesomeness and this video above from Kyle Singler, Detroit might have the most entertaining group of rookies in the NBA.

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Martin warned by NBA for flop against Pistons

We’ve all heard that the NBA plans to start taking serious actions against habitual floppers this season, and apparently one of the first warnings issued was for a play by Kevin Martin in a game between Oklahoma City and the Pistons on Nov. 9. Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated describes the play and what, precisely, the NBA didn’t like about it:

Martin’s violation occurred during a Monday game against the Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The violaton occurred with a little more than 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Oklahoma City’s 92-90 win. As he lined up a three-point attempt in front of Detroit’s bench, Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko contacted his right shooting hand.  Martin collapsed directly to the ground, simulating much stronger contact than actually occurred, and then writhed on the ground in pain. His shot missed but he was awarded three free throws and he made all three, cutting Detroit’s lead to 73-67.

That was a competitive game, but still one the Pistons probably wouldn’t have won even if that call had gone their way. It’s good to see the NBA better policing that leg-kick move that Reggie Miller made famous though. So far, three players have reportedly been warned about flopping.