Rodney Stuckey indicated on Wednesday after his team lost 126-119 in overtime to the Atlanta Hawks that his Detroit Pistons were ready to take that impressive performance and do it again the next time.
He was right.
The Pistons netted only their 10th win of the season Friday night but made it a big one 109-99 over the defending NBA champion Miami Heat. He didn’t play vs. the Heat because of a bad ankle, but Stuckey was among the key bench players in an incredible effort against Atlanta when the Pistons overcame a 22-point deficit to send the game into overtime when they lost in the second OT.
The Pistons can’t afford an impressive loss. They need wins. They got one over Miami.
“It’s always tough to lose, but I’m proud of our guys and how we fought back,” Stuckey said after the Miami game. “Unfortunately we came up short. We had a couple of defensive slips in the second overtime that messed us up, but we fought back, and hopefully next time we’ll come out with the victory.”
That proved to be the case against the Heat. Will Bynum, who scored 31 against Atlanta, netted 25 against the Heat.
“We were just taking what they gave us and started hitting shots,” Stuckey said after the Atlanta game. “We have a lot of athletes on this team, so when we started pushing the pace and attacking the basket, things started working for us.”
Is it possible a double overtime loss might have turned the season around for the Pistons?
“We had a great opportunity to try to win the game, but couldn’t get the stop we needed, and we just had too many mental defensive errors,” said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank after the loss in Atlanta. “We just couldn’t finish things off tonight, but our second unit showed great effort in getting us back into the game.”
Apparently it gave the Pistons the momentum to pull off their biggest win of the season Friday night.