Pistons can't stand with Heat
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Based on the records and the players on each team, the Miami Heat's total domination of the Pistons Friday night was not even a little bit of a surprise.
After the 106-92 (need I say it was not that close?) blowout at The Palace, the Heat's record stood at 39-14, moving them a half-game ahead of the Boston Celtics for first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Pistons, meanwhile, are 20-34, 11th in the East. There has been talk about trying to catch Indiana (23-28), Charlotte (22-31) and Milwaukee (20-32) and getting into that eighth playoff spot.
That would generate a little more revenue, but it might not be the most helpful thing in the long run, especially with a possible lockout on the horizon this summer when the collective bargaining agreement expires.
The eighth seed would get to play either the Heat or the Celtics in the first round. Friday night's game told you everything you need to know about how well that would go.
The Heat shot 50.7 percent from the floor, 42.9 percent from three-point range and 82.8 percent from the free-throw line. The Pistons shot 42.5 percent, 33.3 percent (most of the makes were in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand) and 84.2 percent from the line.
For fun, let's look at the numbers for the Big Three -- LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James had 16 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists; Wade had 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists; and Bosh had 17 points, 10 rebounds and one assist.
The top three for the Pistons Friday were Austin Daye, Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince. Daye had 18 points, two rebounds and three assists; Gordon had 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists; and Prince had 11 points, two rebounds and two assists.
But Daye and Gordon both came off the bench. Prince was the only Pistons starter to score in double digits.
Really, it's not fair to compare these teams. Technically they're in the same league, but realistically they're not.
"The thing about it is, we all know if those guys, Boston, those two teams in the Eastern Conference right now, if they put their mind to it and really just put their foot on the gas game in and game out, they'll perform like they did tonight," Prince said. "That's what you saw.
"Ever since they got in that groove, they walk on the court with that swagger, that 'hey, we're going to go out here and get it done.'"
The Pistons can give all the effort they want and it won't be enough.
"I thought we gave good effort," Prince said. "I just think, as a team, we got frustrated when we were trying to make plays offensively, and it seemed like they were getting down the court in about two seconds every time.
"We kind of fueled their energy when we turned the ball over a little bit."
Ah, yes, the turnovers.
Actually, the Pistons are not a high-turnover team in general. But they had four in the first three minutes of the game, which had the Heat off and running. That is a team that doesn't need a head start.
In the first half, the Pistons had their chances but shot poorly.
"We definitely had a lot of good looks," Charlie Villanueva said. "I had some great looks as well. They just weren't falling in. It created points for them down in transition."
But it is the Pistons that are a team in transition. Owner Karen Davidson and prospective buyer Tom Gores extended their exclusive negotiating period another 14 days, which seems to indicate a deal could get done soon.
That would at least create some immediate stability.
"It's been a lot of say-so throughout the whole season, as far as the new owner and what's going to happen and things like that, if things are gonna get done because of the situation," Prince said. "Us as players, we've just got to go out there and play basketball and try to take care of it. We can't use that as an excuse, as far as the way we're playing and things like that.
"If it happens, it'll be great because, obviously, we can move on from it and things like that. It's, obviously, not a done deal."
But once the deal is done, it has to be approved by the league. After that, the real fun begins.
The new owner will no doubt want to put his own stamp on the team, but he might wait to see how the bargaining goes with the union. Or he could make changes right away. Who knows?
The one thing we do know is that the Pistons need a lot of help if they're going to compete with the Heat.