Detroit Pistons

I Goof Up a Little

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I goofed. I messed up. I’ll explain why in a minute (the clue is in the picture above) but first, bring on the Pistons.

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Playoffs: Yes or No?

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The season’s over now, and I’ve got a chronicle of the trials that lead to game 82. Also, did we make the playoffs? Let’s find out.

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Trial, Error and Frustration

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A couple more games under my belt, and they were just a run of  frustration. First up, the Pistons at home.

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Piston Pounding

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We were off to Detroit last night, and I was determined to have a better game. I had to play better defense and stop turning the ball over! Did I succeed?

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My Big, Big Night

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You know how sometimes everything just goes your way? When you’re on top of your game, and you can do no wrong? This was my day. I owned our game against the Pistons. Pity Detroit, as they were victims of my offensive explosion.

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Running the Table

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I’ve run through the ‘winnable stretch’ of games I’ve mentioned before, so here’s a rapid low-down on the results.

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Back Up to Speed

019-Hobble

I apparently misjudged my recovery speed, because I took my limp to the court to play the Pacers. This was a frustrating game because we didn’t play real well, but neither did Indiana. The difference was Danny Granger, who lit us up for 29 points. I had 8 points, 6 boards, 4 assists and a turnover in the loss.

019-JPis

I was finally back to speed when we arrived in Detroit to face the Pistons. I hit all four jump shots I took in the first half for 10 points and was really feeling confident. I led us in scoring at the half, but apparently that pissed off the team’s Alpha Dogs, LeBron and Wade. I was frozen out of the offense almost the entire second half! I touched the ball only on short passes and was never given an opportunity to score. One of Those Two would bring the ball up and quickly shoot it, resulting in a score or the Pistons getting a rebound. I only got to handle the ball and take two more shots at the basket in last minute of the game, and that was just because Those Two  were on the bench, relaxing. Oh, and the two shots I did take? I hit ‘em both. I finished with 14 points but could have easily cleared 20 if I’d been allowed to just touch the ball in the 2nd half. I also had 4 rebounds and 2 assists with no turnovers. Those Two each took just one more shot then I did and scored 19 (Wade) and 17 (LeBron) to just beat me there, too. I hope their egos feel better now.

The big news, post-game was that I made the Rookie Team all-star squad as a reserve. That almost made up for having my possible career night short circuited by my own selfish teammates.

Actually, not really.

- Rick Daniel

Back in the Starting Five

017-Trey

Our recent win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden had me conflicted. I set a new career high in rebounds with 6 but shot like Hell. Here’s a three I hit, but that’s about my bright spot.  I finished with 8 points, 6 boards, three assists, a steal, a block and a turnover on 3-8 shooting (2-2 from deep).

017-Hmph

Bosh got hurt during the game, but we could likely have won if I’d been there or not. The above pic is summarizes how I felt after the game. Afterwards, you’ll never guess who came back to town. No, go ahead. Guess. It was Mario Chalmers, who the Heat recalled from the Skyforce of the NBADL. I figured the next game would be an indicator for the future of my career one way or another. I arrived at the arena to face the Pistons, got on to the court and… wait, what?

017-Start

Ok, now I’m confused. Bosh is hurt but not out, so that’s good. How am I starting though? Wade’s not hurt, Mike Miler’s not hurt, and neither is anyone else. We even  have an extra point guard now. Whatever. I’m going to take advantage of this!

017-Dime

I had only two points at halftime, but four assists and four rebounds. I finished the game with seven points, nine rebounds and six assists. Yay! I shot even worse then last game (3-11, 1-6 from deep) but I controlled the offense was a wall on defense, and we won the game. One interesting fact is that five of my nine boards were of offensive variety. I didn’t turn the ball over and my man – whoever I was on at the time – was a non-factor. Hopefully I can build on this and keep this job.

I only have one regret: not getting that 10th rebound. I had it, I HAD IT, with under a minute to go, and LeBron took it from me. Jerk.

I bet he takes candy from babies, too.

- Rick Daniel

Wait, Who’s Starting?!

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Do you see what I see? Yes, that’s me on the court for the opening tip-off. No, no-one was out injured, either. Well, Wade was hurt pretty bad (his bum knee affected his play allot) but he still started. I’m the starting point guard now? Oh my. I guess being rated 50 is enough to get me a starting job on a championship contender. So, how did I do in my first start?

007-HoopAndHarm

I didn’t hurt us for the first two and a half quarters, but halfway through the third all Hell broke lose. I committed two consecutive turnovers and a foul that helped let the Pistons back in the game. I went to the bench soon after that, and when I came back in in the 4th, we were down by four. This was to be my shining moment. I was on the court with Ilgauskas, Bosh, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslim so two of our big three were benched. Miller’s usually solid and Bosh is often our leading scorer but they were both cold at this time. I ended up scoring 9 points in the quarter to spark a comeback. When Wade and LeBron came back in they helped seal the deal, and we won by seven. I finished the night with 16 points, a rebound and two steals with three turnovers on 7-8 shooting. Not bad for my first start (if you ignore the turnovers).

007-PosterFodder

And then there’s this. lol I got dunked on by Richard Hamilton early in the game. At this point I was kind of overly fired up, and this brought me back to Earth a little. Thanks, Rip!

- Rick Daniel

Two Wins and a Wall

023-DunkDET

I just had two mediocre games and one horrible one. Game one was a win against Detroit. I scored 24 points with 3 rebounds, 5 assists and three steals on 50% shooting. The next game was also OK, and came with some great pics.

023-SpreadTOR

We beat the Raptors at home the next day. Here I scored 27 points with 7 assists and 2 steals on 63% shooting.

023-DunkTOR

Move it, Bosh, if you don’t want to be on Dunking on the Stars! Needless to say, he didn’t move fast enough. Overall it wasn’t a bad game, and I netted the Jordan Player of the Game award for my work. Here’s one more picture:

023-LayupTOR

I don’t have allot to add to this pic other then that I made that layup. Yes!

023-DriveMIA

I hit a massive wall against Miami. I shot under 50%, including a shocking 4-11 from deep. We needed me to score, and I shot well enough to keep us in the game but ultimately bad enough to cost us the win. I kept us in the game up to the last minute when I missed a go-ahead jumper from the free-throw line with 10 seconds to go. We fouled them to stop the clock and they only hit 1-2 from the stripe. We had a chance!

We had almost 4 seconds left so I caught the ball and ran hard to the basket. I laid it up in time but it rolled off the rim. Dammit!  I ended the game with 29 points, 4 boards, 4 dimes, 2 steals, a block and 4 turnovers. Yup, I cost us this game, big time. Cut down the turnovers and shoot a little better and we get the win against the best team in the East. Instead, we lose and show that we have a ways to go to be an elite team.

My biggest gripe is that this was the first time the announcers ever pointed me out as a “Key to the Game” at the start of the first quarter. I must have wanted to live up to that a little  too badly.

023-DamnWade

Of course, D-Wade was all but unstoppable, so that factors in, too. I guess this game and the one we played against the Cavs recently  shows that we aren’t as good as we think we are. We’ve been abusing under-achievers like Detroit, Toronto and Washington lately so that’s not exactly a real test. The amazing thing is that I’ve never seen as many tipped shots and passes as I did here. No pass or shot was uncontested on either side.

Now that’s playoff basketball. Only two games to go before the postseason!

- Rick Daniel

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