Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pistons 106 Hawks 95



There are a lot fewer notes to compile into sentences and paragraphs when the game fails to be competitive for even three full quarters. There are more things to get off one's chest, though.

Detroit's an improved offensive team under Flip Saunders (and absent Ben Wallace) but the Pistons are not the defensive marauders they were under Larry Brown (and with Ben Wallace). They did not, however, get stupid when either Brown or Wallace left. They can still guard very successfully when the other team is willing to play four-on-five. Through three quarters, either Anthony Johnson or Shelden Williams was on the floor for 27:01. Neither deserved nor received any attention from Pistons defenders. The Pistons didn't much bother with Josh Smith until he got a foot in the paint, either. He obliged them by attempting (and missing, natch) four jump shots despite missing a most of the first half due to committing three stupid fouls. There was never much room for Joe Johnson, Al Horford, or Marvin Williams to operate.

Not that Johnson helped matters much. He forced most of his ten shots, turned the ball over in situations when he never looked likely to create something, and, most disturbingly, threw some terrible passes out of double-teams. Once the ball got brought up the court, was passed to Johnson, Johnson dribbled for a few seconds, then threw a pass at Horford, Williams, or Smith's ankles, Atlanta would have the ball with under 10 seconds left on the shot clock and five stationary offensive players facing a reset Pistons defense. This was not a recipe for success.

Of course, Mike Woodson never put Salim Stoudamire on the court with the starters to (hypothetically) stretch Detroit's defense and make them guard all five Atlanta players for any length of time. Stoudamire replaced Johnson with 2:43 left in the third quarter and the game, for all intents and purposes, over. Stoudamire scored 15 points in just under 15 garbage time minutes.

Salim >>> Flip Murray.

It's dispiriting that these young players are learning that's better to roll over and take a beating than try something risky in an attempt to compete with a good, veteran team. This isn't just Woodson. I think we all know that he's not going to be fired this year. The owner(s) will simply allow his contract to run out following a(nother) partially wasted season and replace him with someone willing to coach under a lame-duck, hamstrung, and generally poor GM.

I have high hopes for Al Horford (though his defensive rebounding ability seems to serve as a disincentive for his teammates to give a strong effort on the defensive glass) and Acie Law IV (once healthy enough to get a good stretch of game experience). I'm skeptical today about the rest.

Perspective from the Pistons' point-of-view at Need4Sheed and Detroit Bad Boys.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Edwin said...

Wondering what your thoughts were on Woody removing Acie Law after he went on his own personal run? He starts heating up, getting us going, tying the game...and Woody immediately pulls him. WTF is he doing???

Bret LaGree said...

I cut Woodson some slack on that because I don't know how many consecutive minutes Law's ankle will allow him to play right now.

Replacing him with Anthony Johnson rather than a good player is typical Woodson, however.