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The Detroit Pistons started the day like any normal day. They were focusing on division rival Indiana Pacers and looking to bounce back from a bad loss the night before against the Milwaukee Bucks. Then a big trade shook the team.
Before the game, the Pistons agreed to send franchise mainstay Tayshaun Prince and youngster Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies as part of a 3-team trade involving the Toronto Raptors. The Pistons received point guard Jose Calderon from Toronto. The young Pistons saw the business side of basketball and they couldn’t recover on the road in Indianapolis.
Rodney Stuckey took Prince’s spot in the starting lineup and played well in the first quarter. Stuckey scored 12 points in the first quarter and even knocked down a 3-pointer in the quarter. Greg Monroe also had eight points in the quarter and the Pistons only trailed 29-23 after one.
In the second quarter, the bench continued the nice play. Charlie Villanueva knocked down a 3 to bring the Pistons within 36-32 and Will Bynum hit a pullup to make it 36-34. Then Indiana went on a long, back-breaking run.
Lance Stephenson was the catalyst of an 18-2 run. He started it with a layup, after a Roy Hibbert free throw, Stephenson hit a 3 to make it 43-34 Indiana. Hibbert then made a pass to David West for a jumper and on the next possession, West returned the favor throwing a pass to Hibbert for the layup. George Hill had a dunk off a pass from Stephenson, then on the next possession Hill threw an alley-oop slam to Stephenson. Hibbert had a tip-in off a rare Stephenson miss before Stuckey threw up a wild 3 and the quarter ended with Detroit trailing 54-36.
In the third, the Pistons tried to fight back into it. Monroe had a turnaround banker over Hibbert, then Kyle Singler knocked down a 3, Monroe had another jumper, Jason Maxiell had a tip-in, Stuckey had a jumper, and then Brandon Knight knocked down a pull up jumper and the Pistons were only down 58-49 with 7:31 to go in the third. That would be the closest Detroit would get the rest of the game.
Hibbert had a layup, then Monroe answered with a lyup to get Detroit to within 60-51 and then the deficit would be between 16 and 12 points the rest of the third quarter. After Andre Drummond had a dunk off a Stuckey dime, Ian Mahinmi answered with a dunk of his own and the Pacers led the Pistons 70-56 after three.
The fourth quarter looked mostly like a D-League team for the Pistons. A lineup of Slava Kravtsov, Kim English, Jonas Jerebko, Singler, and Bynum. The Pistons fell 98-79 in Indiana and fell to 5-17 on the road. Due to this loss combined with the Boston Celtics’ win over the Sacramento Kings, the Pistons have fallen to 5.5 games behind 8th place Boston with 36 games to play.
Monroe led the Pistons with 18 points and nine rebounds and Drummond had 14 boards for Detroit. Stuckey had 12 in the first quarter and had two the rest of the way to finish with 14 points and he made only 1-of-6 3-point attempts. Detroit shot an anemic 36.4 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range.
For Pistons fans it’s been an emotional day.The last remaining member from the glory days is gone but this trade brings some good things to the Pistons. First of all, Knight isn’t a pass first point guard and niether is Bynum. You can’t start Knight at shootiung guard because the guy is only 6’3″ but he can play there for stretches of games with Calderon leading the way at point guard. Calderon averages 7.4 assists. Knight gets 4.3. Also Calderon legitimately pushes Knight to perform at the point guard position or he’ll take his starting spot.
Also this trade brings cap room. Calderon has $10.5 million expiring on his contract. This summer, if the Pistons finally amnesty Villanueva, Detroit will have $30,027,902 in cap room this summer. Even if they don’t amnesty Villanueva, they’ll have $22,018,082 in cap room. Those numbers are according to pistonpowered.com.
Another thing Pistons fans, Stuckey could still be traded. I’m hearing rumors of him heading to Boston. It’s just a rumor but it’s fun to listen to.