It was just one of those nights! At the beginning of the second half I thought the Pistons had a real shot at winning this. They started with an 11-2 run playing great defense and executing on offense. Ben Gordon was curling around screens, like, uhm, Rip in his better days and McGrady ran the offense smoothly near perfection.
The Pistons then decided to play less defense and play sluggish offense, considering the game was over with an 8-point lead in the third quarter. Surprisingly, the Bobcats hustled back with great defense and fast-breaks and within a minute the game was tied by a Stephen Jackson three-pointer.
Stephen Jackson had a stellar performance scoring 39 points on 14 of 26 shooting. Detroit did their part to make sure he did not cool off until later in the fourth. He first had to hit 8 of his first ten shots before things changed. Daye fouled Captain Jack on a three-point attempt, but at least he hustled and tried to compensate for his mistakte. Not so good that he tripped and fouled, well, it happens.
Jackson made 15 of his 17 first half points against McGrady. Kuester decided to switch Prince onto him which left McGrady guarding Gerald Wallace. The ice-cold Wallace (7 points per game over his last three games) scored six points in the third quarter. Prince did not guard Jackson a lot better either.
Speaking of Prince, the entire game he looked kind of moody to me. I know he usually looks a little bit irritated, but last night he appeared especially mad to me. He played a good game, going for 16 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists, yet I cannot shake the feeling something was wrong. Maybe it was the referees who did not call fouls on Wallace when Prince tried to score. Prince is a veteran though, he should not be all that bothered by a couple of calls not going his way. I hope he will regain his mental stability by the next game, maybe it was just a fluke.
I also did not understand why Kuester let so many plays get run through Prince in the third quarter when we desperately needed a score. Prince was covered by Wallace, one of the best and most athletic defenders on the forward position, and Prince did not get any clean look from the isos. I would have liked Ben Gordon get more shots, because he was stroking it well.
When Detroit was down by five, Kuester subbed T-Mac out and brought in Bynum. Bynum has the ability to get Detroit up again or increases the deficit with poor decision making and sloppy defense, last night it was the latter. Using Bynum often appears like a do or die decision to me. I was skeptical, to say the least, when Bynum came in. Charlotte is a good defensive squad with athletic guards and good team defense, a system in which even Kwame Brown is not a liability anymore (kudos to Paul Silas, making Brown a good NBA player should win him coach of the year honors). Bynum executed poorly, especially on passes, which were off by two to three feet at times, because he was either off-balance or off focus. He missed a wide open Daye who had to move away from his spot to catch a pass thrown by Will. The pass was not hard to make, just poorly thrown. Bynum finished a team-low -14 for the game in 19 minutes of action!!! According to 82games.com. the Pistons play 1.3 points better with Bynum on the court. Then again, Bynum usually plays in the second unit which is one of the best in the NBA. When he gets to play with the starters, he usually destroys the flow of the game. I love to watch him play, but he has got to get smarter and become less of a scorer and more of a playmaker.
Detroit is now 4-6 during their last ten games. I'm curious to see if letting Rip sit and winning more games was coincidental. I don't mean totally incidental, but the effect (5-3 at one point) was just too big. Detroit usually won 38% of their games without Rip and 31% of their games with him over the past two years. So going from a 30ish winning percentage to 60ish winning percentage appeared kind of big. I don't think it makes that much of a difference if Rip sits or if he plays. I would rather see him play or get traded.
Next game is on Friday against New Jersey. We should be very well rested. We don't have any must-win games this season so let's just hope we play well!
I will do video analysis again soon. Bare with me but I got a math and economics exam coming up next week and I don't have time for a lot of writing right now!