Pistons put away Hornets in Overtime Thriller

Published: December 19, 2010

Despite the Hornets never having a lead bigger than ten, it felt like the Hornets were in control of this game throughout, but at the end of the day all the box score will say is that Detroit was victorious as they beat the Hornets 111-108 in overtime.

As the Detroit announcers claimed, the Pistons had “too many heroes to count” as Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon, and Will Bynum all played like All-Stars against the #1 defense in the league. The Pistons came into the game short-handed, as they were missing their two top scorers Rodney Stuckey and Rip Hamilton, along with a key rotation piece in Austin Daye. To make matters worse (or perhaps better), the Pistons lost T-Mac early in the third quarter and that opened the door for Will Bynum to burst through.

The Pistons shot 63% in the second half and were led by Ben Gordon’s 24 2nd half/OT points, including a three-pointer that tied the game with 15 seconds left and eventually sent the game to overtime. Once they got to overtime, Ben Gordon scored the first five points of the extra period. Tayshaun Prince was huge as well, scoring 28 points on 12-16 shooting, grabbing 12 rebounds, and coming up with 3 blocks. One of those blocks came at the end of regulation as Chris Paul got past Will Bynum and released a floater that could have been the game winner if not for Prince’s heroics.

And despite their magnificent play, the Pistons still trailed by one with 15 seconds left in overtime. After a chaotic sequence that saw the ball knocked back past half court, Will Bynum ended up with the rock, took it to the whole and got a bucket plus a foul with just over 7 seconds left. After missing his free throw, the Hornets called time out and for some reason drew up a play that involved David West getting the ball 30 feet from the basket, isolated against Jason Maxiell. How did the play work? Well, we will never know because the Hornets couldn’t even execute the inbounds play. Maxiell stole the ball and basically sealed the Hornets fate with a thunderous dunk.

To say it was a two-man show would be a nice way of saying that nobody else showed up for the Hornets on the offensive end tonight. Paul finished the game with 23 points and 10 assists while David West finished with a game high 32 points on 21 shots. For the Hornets, Okafor and Willie Green were the only other two to finish in double digits with 13 and 11, respectively.

In the final 12:40 seconds of the 4th quarter and overtime, it was all Chris Paul and David West. If you take away Willie Green’s free throws and his overtime layup, David West and Chris Paul accounted for every point and every shot taken in that span, save for two- an open jumper missed by Jason Smith and a contested Belinelli jumper that was off as well.

The offense was predictable and stagnant. Detroit knew they only had to defend two guys and adjusted appropriately. Compare that to Detroit’s offense, which had at least four guys on every possession that the Hornets had to account for. They had movement, quality passing, and guys who aggressively penetrated; we had David West backing down two defenders while everyone else stood around. Not hard to see why the Hornets lost.

After the first Thunder game we all wondered whether Monty would recognize that David West is not this team’s closer. Tonight we got our answer.

Other Notes and Observations:

– I will admit that I do not watch every NBA game for every team and I might be over-exaggerating, but I would bet a decent amount of money that we lead the league in defensive three seconds and Emeka is the league leader in offensive fouls that come off of setting screens. These aren’t things that have anything to do with skill, these are simple fundamentals. No excuse for either.

– This is the first time I will seriously question Monty’s rotations. It is something that fans love to do, but they have the benefit of hindsight, so I think it is usually unfair. Tonight, however, you did not need hindsight to see that Ariza was basically worthless out there and the Hornets needed a spark, not to mention spacing for D West once he started getting double teamed. Also, why not start Mbenga over J Smitty in overtime to make sure you get that opening tip and crucial first possession?

– Hornets are now 1-4 in Sunday games with their only win coming in that 75-71 stinker at Sacramento.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.