Warriors 104 Pistons 96
Points - 23 - Greg Monroe
Rebounds - 11 - Josh Smith
Assists - 10 - Brandon Jennings
It looked like the Pistons would undermine their tanking efforts early and often, as they hung with the Warriors for the first three quarters of the game. However, true to form, the Pistons collapsed in the fourth quarter. Golden State outscored the Pistons 23-13 in the 4th, as Detroit settled for poor isolation offense and allowed second-chance after second-chance on the defensive end. In the end, much like Saturday night's loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the better team won the game over an opponent that only got one or two solid performances.
No one player really beat the Pistons for Golden State; the Warriors had five different players in double figures, and got at least four points from all ten players who saw the floor. Golden State is yet another perfect example of why Joe Dumars' job isn't as easy as he thinks it is. The Warriors are a well-assembled group of players with a strong, well-rounded starting five, and a bench that features four or five players who are all a threat to score, and most of which defend well. Teams like the Pistons are built on individual talent, whereas the Warriors are built on individual talent, cohesion and a system of play. Finding the talent isn't difficult, finding guys with talent who all mesh well is. The Warriors have a calling card on each end of the floor, as a unit. On offense, they space the floor and create open perimeter shots (13-31 3FG tonight); on defense they rebound the ball well and feature a blend of speed and size. Would you even know where to begin if somebody asked you what the Pistons' calling card was on defense?
Tonight's loss pushed the Pistons to four games back of a playoff spot, however, the Knicks loss to Dallas kept Detroit 2 games ahead of where they need to be to keep this year's draft pick. The Tank Watch is officially on again in Detroit. So, dust off Charlie Villanueva, hell, maybe he can play Point Guard? You'll never know unless you try. Let Peyton Siva and Tony Mitchell get enough run to know whether or not they're worth keeping around long term. What better way to learn than on-the-job experience? Even if the Pistons don't sabotage their efforts, I have a feeling that what they're doing now will be enough to keep their pick. The schedule is tough, Josh Smith continues to shoot and Andre Drummond finds foul trouble almost every night. The Pistons aren't making the 2013-14 playoffs; it's time to embrace the tank.