It's not how you start, it's how you finish.
That tells the story of the Detroit Pistons 100-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings, the first victory of the Allen Iverson era in Detroit.
After the first quarter, in which the Pistons were outscored 31-18, it seemed as if they decided to pickup exactly where they left off against the Boston Celtics. Out-of-sync, emotionless, and quite frankly, a team without an identity anymore.
Well, somewhere along the way the Pistons found their identity—maybe only for the night—the offense is far from fine-tuned, but from the second quarter on, the Pistons looked like a team out of limbo.
The ballers from Detroit outscored the Kings 32-19 in the second, and by the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the old shutdown defense of the Pistons showed up to seal the victory.
Allen Iverson had his best game as a Piston, scoring 30 points on nine of 19 shooting. He also contributed seven rebounds and nine assists.
Maybe more importantly however was Tayshaun Prince, who has taken the role as consistent veteran, a surprising go-to-guy when all else is failing for the Pistons. Prince finished with 26 points on 7 of 15 shooting.
Oh, and by the way, Prince played 43 minutes and Iverson 45. That says a lot about what Michael Curry, Pistons head coach, perceives to be his go-to-guys right now.
Reports today indicate that Rodney Stuckey, who did not make the trip to Sacramento, due to a dizzy spell he experienced against the Celtics, will rejoin the team shortly. Arron Affalo received extended time in his absence and contributed six points in 18 minutes, as did Will Bynum who played 16 minutes off the bench.
Richard Hamilton, possibly finding it increasingly difficult to find his role on this new AI stamped team, again shot terribly from the field, going 4 of 16. He did score 17 points however, after putting up a donut against the Celtics on Sunday.
So there you have it, the AI era is now 1-2. It still looks like it will take awhile for this team to gel and re-find itself, but tonight the Pistons saw what a superstar could do. Put up big numbers.
These new Pistons are definitely showing a faster paced offense. This can be directly attributed to Iverson. And that, for the small group of three that remain from the 2004 championship team, is an adjustment in itself.
Detroit Pistons next game: Thursday @ Golden State. Start time 10:30 pm. NOTE: This game has been picked up by TNT and will air following the Denver Nuggets and Cleveland Cavaliers game.
Detroit improves to 5-2, 1/2 game back of first placed Cleveland in the Central Division.
Sacramento falls to 3-5, and fourth place in the Pacific Division.