It struck several Charlotte Bobcats Monday how much of Larry Brown's offense the Detroit Pistons still run.
That means this game came down to the same plays, but very different players.
The Bobcats managed a slim lead early in the second half, only to be swamped by the Pistons' superior execution. They shot 60percent in the second half and doubled the Bobcats' rebounds (20-10) in a 101-83 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena.
If the Pistons were the least bit disrupted by the trade that sent Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess to Denver on Monday, you'd never tell from the box score.
“There's a lot of pride in that locker room,” said Bobcats coach Brown, who coached the Pistons to the 2004 NBA championship. “They didn't look distracted at all – they looked like they're still competing for a conference title.”
It's called efficiency, and that separated these teams by miles. The bench got the Bobcats back in the game in the second quarter, with Shannon Brown scoring nine of his 16 points. But when Detroit made a second run midway through the third quarter, the Bobcats never figured out how to break up the Pistons' screen-and-roll.
That, combined with 5-of-20 shooting from Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace, did them in.
“Against a team like that, with such an incredibly high (basketball) IQ, you can't make any mistakes,” said forward Jared Dudley, who made his second straight start (eight points, four rebounds). “They just wore us down and we made some really bad turnovers (14, equaling 19 Detroit points).
“It all starts over there with Rasheed” Wallace.
Rasheed Wallace was one of Brown's favorites when he coached Detroit. Wallace had 15 points off 6-of-12 shooting. His 3-point range (3-of-5 from the arc) pulled Bobcats center Emeka Okafor far from the rim and that was a factor in Okafor totaling five rebounds in nearly 39 minutes.
The Bobcats got away with a small lineup vs. a similarly undersized Miami Heat team Saturday. But a group with the experience and length of the Pistons knew just how to exploit the tatters in Charlotte's roster.
“Right now we've got a lot of young kids who are being asked to play a lot,” Brown said in what sounded like a plea for help from the front office.
“I've known our problems since May. We've got to address them somehow.”
Percentages: FG .500, FT .818. Three-Point Goals: 8-16, .500 (R.Wallace 3-5, Prince 2-3, Stuckey 1-1, Herrmann 1-2, Hamilton 1-3, Afflalo 0-1, Bynum 0-1). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 8 (13 PTS). Blocked Shots: 5 (K.Brown 2, Maxiell, Prince, R.Wallace). Turnovers: 8 (Prince 2, Afflalo, Bynum, Stuckey, A.Johnson, Maxiell, R.Wallace). Steals: 4 (K.Brown 2, Afflalo, A.Johnson). Technical Foul: R.Wallace, 8:56 third.
Percentages: FG .441, FT .800. Three-Point Goals: 3-11, .273 (Morrison 2-2, S.Brown 1-2, Augustin 0-2, G.Wallace 0-2, Richardson 0-3). Team Rebounds: 4. Team Turnovers: 14 (19 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (S.Brown, Felton, Okafor, Richardson). Turnovers: 13 (A.Brown 3, Felton 3, G.Wallace 3, Morrison 2, Richardson 2). Steals: 6 (S.Brown 4, Dudley, G.Wallace).
Att.—11,023 (19,201). T—2:12. Officials—Bennett Salvatore, Derrick Stafford, Curtis Blair.