Detroit 87 (27–29) | New Orleans 90 (34–22)
Got the W. Sure, it was a little closer than I'd have liked to see, but we notched the victory all the same.
The Hornets jumped out to an early lead, winning the first quarter by 9. Unfortunately, Allen Iverson left the game late the first with a stiff back and never returned. I say "unfortunately" due to the fact that the Pistons (and most teams since the Sixers of the late 90s) are more efficient without Iverson on the court.
By halftime, the Pistons sliced the deficit to 1, thanks to hot hands from Rip, Wallace, and McDyess. Rip was especially problematic since he was able to outrun Butler on almost every screen the Pistons set. Poor Rasual was showing up as the ball was tickling the twine. Fortunately, Rip started acting more human, forcing the Pistons to run some different offensive sets.
An even third quarter didn't seem to advance the storyline; however, the fourth proved to be much more dramatic. The Hornets caught a break about five minutes in as Sheed picked up 2 techs in roughly 30 seconds, and his last foul had actually put the Pistons over the limit. The ejection would seem to have shifted the momentum to the Hornets, but credit the Pistons for making a strong showing to the bitter end.
The real difference tonight came on the boards. The Hornets put the Pistons to shame, outrebounding them 51 to 38 (not to mention a 17 to 8 advantage on the offensive glass). The catalyst? A healthy Tyson Chandler who played 37 minutes and pulled down 17 rebounds (7 of them offensive).
Chris chimed in with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 13 assists, and 3 steals, and DX added 30 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks. The last of the fabulous foursome (Peja) dropped 17 points, 5 rebounds, and an assist. It was the first time in a long time that our top four produced according to their respective abilities (or beyond).
And believe me: it was a pretty site to behold. See you guys Friday.
Couple of observations before I leave you:
- Tyson's return to the Hive almost prompted the fans to register on the Richter Scale during the player intros. Thanks to Ryan down at Hornets 24/7, we all know we're screwed this summer. But until then, it's nice to see the other half of the CCC on the court. I'll let Jeff Bower sweat over the cap stuff.
- Chris was a little sloppy with the ball tonight. Though he only had 2 turnovers, he seemed to lose control of the ball more frequently than usual. He was, however, able to recover most of these missteps (or turn them into passes). It wasn't ideal, but at the same time, it didn't hurt us as much as it could have.
- Hilton got a big fat DNP tonight. So did Devin.
- David and Chris each played 40+ minutes tonight. We need to be tempering that number a little more as the playoffs approach. At the same time, I appreciate Byron sticking to his starters in the second half after the bench pissed away a nine point lead in the first.
- Late in the fourth, we were 12 for 19 from the stripe. I was totally prepared to blame the possible loss on this poor performance. Luckily we finished strong, going 6 for 6 in the final minutes of the game.
- The Hornets have a pretty easy easy March/early April coming up. Starting with tonight's win, only 6 of their next 20 opponents have a record of .500 or better (at least according to today's standings).
- I'm sure that last bullet has been mentioned somewhere in the blogosphere, but since I've been AWOL on this whole internets thing for the last few days (thanks, Mardi Gras), I thought I chime in.
- After tonight, the Pistons are on an 8 game losing streak. It's their first since the 1994-95 season. Tough break.
Photos courtesy of espn.com
Composed to: Seu Jorge's The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions
The opponent's take: Piston Powered