Remember when the Detroit Pistons were a smoothly running, highly efficient machine? Sure you can. You may have to go back a few years, but you can do it. Now, the jalopy that showed up in Oklahoma City tonight — well, there’s a reason they call it a “rebuilding” year; it’s almost pointless to imagine them getting a new set of rings. At one point in the second quarter, the Pistons were down 32; they fought back, so to speak, to within 27 at the half, and lost it by 20, 99-79.
Which is not to belittle the Thunder’s accomplishment, but this is one of those games that they were supposed to win. (Then again, they were supposed to win against the Wizards last Wednesday, and we know how that worked out.) Still, the numbers were good: 53.2 percent shooting (7-16 on the long ball), 51-38 rebounding edge, and ten blocked shots (half by Serge Ibaka). That’s good enough to offset a startling 19 turnovers. (Detroit took better care of the ball, when they could get their hands on it.) Both Russell Westbrook and James Harden contributed 24 points to the cause, and Kevin Durant kicked in 20 more. I won’t even mention that Kendrick Perkins is on pace to record 1,329 technicals this season, for which he will be fined a sum equal to the sovereign debt of Greece.
Props must be given, though, to Pistons rookie guard Brandon Knight, who led all Detroit scorers with 13. He’s had better nights — his average was 12-ish coming in — but he managed to look a lot less confused than some of his teammates. (What happened to Rodney Stuckey? He rolled up six points in three minutes, and took twenty minutes to get six more. Blame Thabo.) Then again, the Pistons did beat the Trail Blazers this season, something the Thunder have yet to do.
Nick Collison may be out for a while, or he may not: all we know is that he exited after about nine minutes with an apparent ankle problem, and did not return. I hope he’s well for the arrival of the Hornets on Wednesday, since he normally makes life difficult for them.
Update: Collison is now listed as day-to-day.