Hawks 85 Pistons 78

Boxscore

Gameflow

Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
DET 80.1 0.97 48.7 6.7 20 12.5
ATL 80.1 1.06 47.3 20.3 29.5 15

I guess when you're the second-most dysfunctional team in the building and you play pretty good defense for most of the game you can survive a 33-point second half. Now, that point total is equal parts low-scoring and inefficient as the teams barely snuck past the 80 possession* mark. At that pace both coaches could lean on their starters; all ten played at least 34 minutes with six starters (three from each team) playing more than 40 minutes.

*Those in attendance Friday night got to see 20% more basketball than was played Sunday afternoon.

Two starters who didn't break the 40 minute barrier, Mike Bibby and Rodney Stuckey, carried the load offensively for their respective teams. Bibby achieved the relatively rare feat of posting a 100 eFG% on 13 shots. Stuckey played a key role in getting the Pistons back in the game with a perfect third quarter of his own (5-5 FGA, 1-1 3PTA, 1-1 FTA, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals). In a sneak peek at why, perhaps, Joe Dumars considered interviewing Mike Woodson for Detroit's head coaching vacancy last summer, in the fourth quarter Michael Curry played Stuckey in two separate, brief stints (one of 2:34 and one of 4:32) and Stuckey's only field goal attempt of the final quarter (an attempt he made) came with 1:03 left in the game, the Pistons down seven, Rip Hamilton ejected, and a previously benched and visibly disinterested Allen Iverson taking Hamilton's place on the floor. If you're a young point guard, your head coach need only sit in Larry Brown's old seat for your life to be difficult.

Now, some of Stuckey's offensive prowess was a direct result of Mike Bibby's defensive limitations but I think that was fair trade-off for Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, and Maurice Evans harassing Allen Iverson and Rip Hamilton into a combined 11-27 shooting night.

To Stuckey's further credit he spent more time leading the Pistons' effective defensive focus on Joe Johnson. It was Allen Iverson who most frequently lost Bibby, a point Michael Curry was willing to make after the game:

Curry said Allen Iverson lost Bibby on four of the 3s.

"It was just mental lapses. You can't ball-watch and Allen struggles ball-watching sometimes. Bibby made him pay.''

To his credit, Iverson owned up to his mistakes:

"He got into transition a couple times and I lost him three or four times, and he was able to hit 3s and they jumped out to a big lead. Just ball-watching. Once guys dropped it to the basket, I was looking at the ball. And when they would throw it back out, and he does a good job moving around, and I just got lost on a couple of them."

Back in the AP story, Rip Hamilton on his technical foul and ejection:

"I don't deserve to get kicked out of the game for that. There's a lot worse stuff being said out on the floor. I was in the wrong for saying what I said, but not by any means do you get kicked out of the game for that.''

Curry on Hamilton's ejection:

"(Mott) was being nice; if he'd given him two they'd have shot two (free throws). Whether a guy missed a foul or not, Rip can't lose it and get a technical in that situation. That's unfortunate how that happened right at the end.''

I like and relate to that first sentence's sarcastic pessimism masked as optimism.

In the other locker room, the head coach was still defining success as losing to the Celtics:

"We expect this team to beat good teams. If you can hold the Celtics to (a three-point win), you should be able to beat anybody.''

Sekou has a slightly different but equally infuriating version of that quote:

"I expect this team to beat good teams. We’ve shown that here as of late. And if you can take the Celtics to seven, you should be able to beat anybody in this league.”

Marvin Williams reveals his primary motivation technique, threatening the point guard's life:

"I’m not lying, I was [ticked off] at him. I told him that at halftime. ‘You haven’t missed yet and you stop shooting.’ And then he went back out there after halftime and hit his next one. I could’ve strangled that cat.”

Josh Smith:

"When he’s shooting it like that everybody wants to see him keep shooting it. He shot extremely well today and was confident in his shot. You go 5-for-5 in the first half, I don’t know why you don’t shoot that much in the second half."

Not going 5-for-5 in the first half has never stopped Josh Smith from shooting jump shots in the second half.

Drew has a good recap at Zaza's Playground. (WARNING: Do not click link if you do not wish to have Mike Bibby look into your soul.)

16 and 17

Ok maybe this is the same old Detroit Basketball. Because those are our numbers by quarter in the second half. Even more impressive the hawks opened the quarter with a quick six or so points. Unbeknown to me at the time, that was pretty much the games dagger. (Not sure if Nique said that in the time, but i know he thought it.)

Still, 16 and 17? I don't care if that is against 8 Detroit Pistons that is not good.

I am sure most of you were not worried. You know seeing that we went with the old tried and true give the ball to Joe Johnson for large stretches of these quarters. We didn't even post him up the whole time. A lot of it had him working to not double dribble or have the ball stolen about 35 feet from the basket. At one point, I really thought no one else was going to touch the ball. Which of course i was fine with, since Bibby was having an off night.

It's cool though, my head needed a good bang against the wall. I had almost forgotten what is was like to bleed...

Natalie Sitto sings the rotation blues at Need4Sheed:

DNP Jason Maxiell…..and Kwame and Walter Hermann. Amir Johnson got eight minutes of floor time but I would love it if someone can explain Curry’s rotation schemes. At what point do you just play the best guys you have rather than trying to match up (unsuccessfully it seems) with every lineup you face?

Posting may be light over the next few days due to holiday travel. Tuesday's game against Oklahoma City will have its game thread and recap though I make no promises on the timeliness of the latter.

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