Hmmmm...so much for the big bounce back. Perhaps they're saving that for the Lakers on Friday?
Pistons 87, Blazers 75
--What is there to say about this game? We didn't do a ton of things wrong. We actually tried to execute on offense. We shared the ball. We got the shots we wanted on the perimeter (though there were too many of them) but we just didn't hit them. When we missed, Detroit sagged farther, which in turn forced more outside shots, and so on. It wasn't so much us being bad (other than shooting poorly). Detroit's just a good defensive team.
--One thing that was demonstrated clearly in this game is what an advantage you have when you double team because you want to, not because you have to. As Mike Rice pointed out we made seven passes on the first play of the game and they were GREAT passes. Detroit defended every single one and we ended up with a highly contested shot. We are forced to double team chronically ourselves so we never, ever get to do that to anyone else. This is why it helps to have at least adequate defenders at each position. That is really something to consider as we move forward.
--The bench needed to come up big tonight. They scored 14 points total. Lamarcus had that many on his own. This is the problem with young guys and guys who have to run to be effective. When you get up against a really good, solid team you're in trouble. I'm not saying it's bad we have them...in fact I like most of those players very much. But it's hardly time to anoint them as NBA-ready nor to advocate the team mold itself around them.
--With a couple individual exceptions our defense wasn't awful. The problem wasn't the 87 the Pistons scored, it was our 75.
--Once again Lamarcus just looked on another level out there energy-wise...and that's compared to players on both teams. 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals, and a lot of hustle. For a rookie this is EXCELLENT play.
--Zach...I don't know. This was a better game than last night. He passed well. He generally helped on defense. He had 11 rebounds, 21 points, drew fouls, and didn't turn the ball over. About the only things you can complain about tangibly are his 6-15 shooting clip and the handful of times he didn't run back on defense as he was arguing with the refs. Still, the winning spark just wasn't there tonight. Maybe he let the refs get to him again? We really need that spark, as it was missing from most of the team tonight as well.
--Brandon Roy got a beginning taste tonight of what next year is going to be like. The Pistons really focused on him. He only ended up with 8 shots. He had 15 points but only 4 rebounds and 2 assists and he also had 4 turnovers. They made it really hard for him to do what he wanted to do. Welcome to your future, R.O.Y. The next step in his evolution (likely starting next year) will be learning to deal with that.
--Jarrett Jack had a really rough night. He was 2-6 shooting, had only 5 assists, and had 3 turnovers. Worse he got beat all night on cuts, off the dribble...he was burned like a neglected steak. Granted those Detroit guards are really good at what they do, but this was a little beyond the pale.
--Sergio had a couple of assists and a couple steals in 8 minutes and looked really nice on the two fast breaks we ran when he was in there. But he was also 0-5 from the field in those 8 minutes. That and the inability to make a dent in the Pistons' halfcourt defense lost him his spot to Dickau late in the second half. Danger Dan didn't do much so I'm sure Sergio will be back.
--Fred Jones got some run and had 5 assists in 13 minutes. He was into it more than anyone outside of LMA.
--Nobody else was really worth a mention one way or the other.
--Rasheed gave owner Paul Allen a hug after the final horn sounded. Nice enough. Even before that I was thinking it's time for Portland fans to stop booing him. The relationship is over and more importantly that era is over. If we're really getting a fresh start let's make it a fresh start. (You can always boo Bonzi though. He transcends eras.)
--Another observation tonight: Detroit showed us it had another level or two after its initial play (even though that was pretty good in its own right). I look forward to the day when that applies to the Blazers as well. Right now we're pretty binary. Either what we're doing works or it doesn't. We don't have that extra level to kick it up to when needed. Sometimes we switch between "It doesn't work" and "It's working!" in the middle of a game but when "It's working!" isn't enough we're toast.
--A big time shout-out to YROK, a Pistons fan who joined our in-game chat. That is WAY cool and I think we should agree among ourselves that in the absence of cheap trolling and baiting, everybody from other teams is more than welcome here. Not only will it pump the site up and show the general classiness of Portland fans, those folks can also give us valuable perspective on our team and players. Often times we get so wrapped up in our inside view of the team that we can't see the bigger picture. This is especially typical of small-market teams like ours. Outside perspective helps balance that out. Listen to these folks and pick their brains if they're willing to come by.
--GREAT showing in the Gameday Chat again!