We are not Boston's level yet. Beating them twice in a row for the fourth consecutive victory would have been huge. We have a roster that is not fit to win. Rip is not going anywhere since the Nets owner Mikhal Prokorov will not further pursue Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets!
This is a delicate situation, because I believe Joe Dumars was fine with Rip sitting a few games before getting traded, I do not believe though he would want this player to sit for the remainder of the contract. Dumars either needs to move Rip right now for anything he can get, even if it is just an expiring contract OR *gulp* insert him back into the line-up.
This game showed perfectly what Detroit is missing and what Boston has. Cohesiveness, trust in teammates, execution. I love some of the pieces we have, the Cs have the best, that is most balanced, roster in the NBA in my opinion. Everything fits together perfectly, they are deep, they have been playing together for a few years now and they have veteran leadership. They are everything Detroit is not right now, but Detroit was for so many years. Maybe that is why Boston is my favorite team of all the contenders.
Late Game Execution
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop recently quoted a friend of his who told him the job of a coach is to put the team in a position to win. Well John Kuester did just that last night. The Pistons got great looks to score at the end of the game and just did not capitalize. Rodney Stuckey missed a floater to tie the game and Ben Gordon missed a lay-up to get within one. Instead he missed and Glen Davis sealed the deal. To be honest, putting Gordon for this play is kind of weird. He is cold ... Anyone who has ever played basketball knows how hard it is to make shots when still cold. Kuester might want to sub him in at the 2 min market if he intends to let him take a last second shot.
Ray Allen hit a late long-jumper and the game was over. The play shows how similar the Celtics run their plays compared to our circa '05 Pistons! Rondo holds the ball on top of the key (like Billups) and Allen curls around one or two screens for a knockdown jumpshot (like Rip). So here are the frames. Rondo dribbling the ball, Allen is curling around a Big Baby screen. Stuckey does a great job of staying with Allen through the screen!
But in the last picture you will see what separates an average defender (like Stuckey) from a great defender (like Bruce Bowen). When Allen goes up to shoot, Stuckey's hands are down. Heard the expression "To put a hand in the guys' face!"? Rodney does not do it. He needs to at least put the hand up when Allen goes up, of course not fouling Allen, but that is just what great defenders do! It can go wrong as you saw with Igoudala and J-Rich last night, in general the refs won't call a foul!
Stuckey's also on his heels. In case he did not put his hand up to stop the drive, being on his heels wouldn't help his cause either, because he would be too slow to hold Ray Ray! I'm not blaming Stuckey for the loss here. It is just one of those small things that CAN decide ball games. Even if he had played perfect defense, Allen might have hit the shot anyway.
One General Thought
The Pistons went to the Hack-a-Shack late in the game. I do not mind Kuester's call to do that. Shaq missed both free throws and Detroit could not stop the Celts. I just cannot believe the league has not fixed this rule!!! In Europe the rule is pretty clear:
Whenever a player is intentionally fouled without an attempt on the ball, it's a flagrant foul. The fouled player gets two free throws and his team remains in possession of the ball.
You think this would fix it?
I just don't like it, because it is unsportsmanlike behavior to me. Fouling should not be a reasonable way to get an advantage, there should be a punishment. While I realize Shaq does not get harmed, it is still not good for the league!