Villanueva hit the game-winning layup to help the Pistons snap a 10-game losing streak.
“Charlie Villanueva was our spark,” said coach Lawrence Frank. “The energy he gave us was huge and the bench was into the game as well. I love how they all surrounded him at the end of the game. They have a kinship. Now we just want to make sure we finish off the season in a competitive way.”
Villanueva was 4-of-7 in threes, but he used basketball common sense in going for the layup to put his team in the lead for good.
“I was just reading what the defense was giving me,” he said. “They were overplaying me a lot and taking the three-pointer away, so I just drove it to the basket.”
Villanueva, who had four rebounds, has had a disappointing stretch with the Pistons after signing a four-year free agent contract. But he’s been trying to show his value in the final months of this season.
He’s been averaging 7.1 points and 3.6 rebounds a game. There have been a handful of games where he’s reached double figures, but his minutes have been limited. He’s averaging only 16.5 minutes per game compared to 23.9 in his career. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for Pistons coaches to increase his minutes in the final weeks of the season to see what kind of a future Villanueva might have with the franchise.