Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pistons-Pacers thoughts


Now you see him, now you don't.

With Rasheed Wallace, you never know which persona will show up at any given time. Is he the sulking, moody Wallace who will badger refs instead of playing hard? Or is he the inside-outside threat that can change games with his shot-blocking ability and a variety of post moves?

Last night in the Pistons' 110-104 win over the Pacers, he was a little of both.

Against an Indiana lineup that boasted Troy Murphy and Jeff Foster as its only two viable post players (Jermaine O'Neal sat with an injury), Wallace exploded after a quiet first quarter. He put up 24 pts, 10 bds, and 3 blks, including a 5-5 showing in the 2nd quarter.

Defensively, however, Sheed, along with McDyess, still had problems guarding the Pacer big men. Murphy and Foster used their jump-shooting ability to score 29 points and created enough havoc to grab 21 rebounds.

This should never happen against a Detroit defense. Granted, the Pistons held Danny Granger to 5-15 shooting, but the 104 points were the 2nd-highest given up by the Pistons all season. Travis Diener poured in 18 points and Mike Dunleavy put up 25. I know Dunleavy is having his best year yet, but Tayshaun and Hayes should still be able to hold him under 20.

Speaking of Jarvis Hayes, welcome back to the offense. The former Georgia Bulldog scored 13 points, his best outing since New Year's Eve. Detroit needs Hayes off the bench, especially as younger guys like Maxiell and Stuckey are hitting the wall. Those two aren't quite used to this extended playing time and it's showing in their stats.

Maxiell only averaged 6.9 ppg in January, his worst month this season (7.8 Nov, 10.1 Dec). His rebounds are also down to 4.6 in the month, compared to 5.5 and 5.8 earlier in the year. Some of this could be due to Walter Herrmann and Primoz Brezec coming in, or Amir Johnson working his way into the rotation. But, really, Maxiell has stayed in his spot as the 1st big off the bench, those three aren't effecting Maxiell too much.

Though, I am impressed by Amir's recent surge. His increased PT may have come from Joe Dumars' orders, not natural progression, but I'm still glad to see it. In the last 3 games, all Pistons wins, Johnson has averaged about 12 mpg, 4 ppg, 5 rpg, and 2 bpg. This is what Pistons fans have been waiting for out of Johnson. He has the talent to contribute to a championship-caliber team, he just needs the playing time. With Nazr Mohammed gone, and Brezec behind Amir on the bench, Johnson is finally putting up some promising numbers.

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