The NBA: Loud Pop

Lawrence Frank and the Pistons continue to struggle with
injuries and inconsistency.

*All images are by the Associated Press.

"Did somebody get shot? It's like I'm back in Jersey." – Detroit coach Lawrence Frank after a loud pop disrupted his pregame meeting against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Maybe he wishes he was in Jersey, though Frank’s Pistons are just 3.5 games behind the Nets for, err, 11th spot in the East.

New Jersey, however, has a guy named Deron Williams to make each game seem potentially interesting.

The Pistons have… Jonas Jerebko?

Jerebko actually isn’t too bad. And, at first glance, the Pistons shouldn’t be too bad, too.

But they are.

Despite having 5 guys average in double-figures, the Pistons are currently dead last in the league in terms of ppg, averaging just a shade over 86 a game. And because they allow their foes to score a mean of about 96 points on them, Detroit is 28th in the league in point-difference at around -10.

The Pistons have had it so bad this season that, with the exception of FT%, 3pt%, and offensive rebounds per game, they are bottom 10 in every category.
They should actually be a little happy that they’re 15th in 3pt%, what with Ben Gordon, their top shooter, hampered by a shoulder injury, big man shooter Charlie Villanueva playing just 2 games so far, and Austin Daye underachieving – his 3pt accuracy has dropped 16 percentage points from last year.

What’s worse is that they allow their opponents to shoot upwards of 37% from beyond the arc in every game. That’s fourth worst. In their 7 losses prior to this game, the Pistons allowed the opposing fives to hit 48% from deep, while they converted just 30% of their own.

Suffice to say that things just aren’t clicking for Lawrence Frank’s wards. That is until that loud pop during pregame.

Perhaps he’s wishing he could be back in Jersey, or that there’d be a loud pop every pregame to wake up the Pistons.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

MIA over PHI, 99-79 – D-Wade scored 26 points, LBJ played PG in the final period, and the Heat used 15-0 fourth quarter run to turn an otherwise close contest into a veritable rout. And the Sixers fans hoping for a huge upset? Upset.
TOR over WAS, 106-89 – For a team that has Javale McGee in its lineup, the Wiz shouldn’t really lose the battle of the boards that often, right? Well, they lost this one… big time. Even without Andrea Bargnani to hog some real estate down low, the lowly Raptors cleaned glass to the tune of 61-37 against Washington. Now Randy Wittman is seeing what Flip Saunders had to contend with all along.
ORL over CLE, 102-94 – Big D almost finished with a triple-double the unconventional way – 19 points, 16 rebounds and 8 blocks – as the Magic won their 2nd straight after their recent 4-game slide. J-Rich returned to action to score 19, but he’s still recovering from the sore knee that kept him sidelined for 2 games.
MIN over NJN, 108-105 – If anyone on the Nets should score 40+ in a night, it should be D-Will, right? Wrong. Here it was forward Anthony Morrow who hogged the spotlight, hitting 8 of his 11 trey attempts for 42 points. His 8 makes are also the most so far this season. The downside? The Nets still lost to the visiting T-Wolves, who have now passed last season’s road win total.
DET over MIL, 88-80 – The last time Brandon Knight played the Bucks, he failed to score a single point. This time, he made them pay, scoring 26 markers as the Pistons finally break their 7-game losing spell. The 2nd pick of the 2011 Draft also handed out 7 dimes and committed 0 turnovers, outplaying Brandon Jennings, who scored only 7 points for the rest of the game after bursting for 13 in the first frame.
BOS over NYK, 91-89 – All the stars showed up in this high-profile game, but the Knicks, again, found themselves with the short end of the stick. They watched KG surpass the 10,000 defensive rebound barrier, and Ray Allen score 9 of his 14 points in a big fourth quarter. The Cs came back after trailing by as many as 12 points mid-third frame.
HOU over PHX, 99-81 – Despite having guys like Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, and Kyle Lowry, Houston has had to rely on its bench for the past several games. The Rockets reserves have averaged almost 50 points in their last 5 outings, with Courtney Lee, Patrick Patterson, Chase Budinger, and Goran Dragic all scoring in double figures here.
OKC over MEM, 101-94 – KD scored the last 7 points for OKC to continue frustrating the Grizz. Memphis actually led by 10 late in the third, but the Thunder stormed back behind James Harden’s 10 fourth quarter points. Mike Conley tied things up with about a minute to go before Durant delivered the KO.
IND over DAL, 98-87 – Paul George continues to impress for the Pacers. The youngster from Fresno State hit 7 treys to finish with a career-high 30 markers, leading Indiana to its first win in Dallas since ’04. Dirk Nowitzki actually matched George with 30 of his own, but it still wasn’t enough as the Pacers tied the Bulls for 10 road wins this season.
LAL over DEN, 93-89 – Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum combined for 42 points as the Lakers beat the Nuggets for only the 2nd time in their last 7 meetings at the Pepsi Center. It was a tough loss for Denver as they seemed to be in control until both Timofey Mozgov and Danilo Gallinari left the game due to injuries. Mozgov didn’t return.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Anthony Morrow (NJN) – 42
Kevin Durant (OKC) – 36
Paul Pierce (BOS), Dirk Nowitzki (DAL), & Paul George (IND) – 30

Anthony Morrow's 42 failed to lift the
Nets past the T-Wolves.

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Pau Gasol (LAL) – 17
Dwight Howard (ORL) – 16
Anderson Varejao (CLE) – 15

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Jose Calderon (TOR) – 17
Deron Williams (NJN) – 14
Ricky Rubio (MIN) – 10

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Ricky Rubio (MIN) – 6
Paul George (IND) – 5
Tyson Chandler (NYK) – 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Dwight Howard (ORL) – 8
Javale McGee (WAS), Kevin Seraphin (WAS), Brendan Haywood (DAL), & Kris Humphries (NJN) – 4  

Dwight Howard is the East's All-Star starter at center,
but he could be moving elsewhere soon after.

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Anthony Morrow (NJN) – 8
Paul George (IND) – 7
James Harden (OKC) & Paul Pierce (BOS) – 4

Feb. 3, 2012 First Five
C – Nikola Pekovic (MIN) – 27pts, 11rebs, 1ast, 1stl
F – Kevin Durant (OKC) – 36pts, 10rebs, 3asts, 3blks, 2stls
F – Anthony Morrow (NJN) – 42pts, 8 treys, 4rebs, 2asts
G – Paul George (IND) – 30pts, 9rebs, 7 treys, 5asts, 5stls, 1blk
G – Paul Pierce (BOS) – 30pts, 7rebs, 5asts, 4 treys, 1stl, 1blk

Nikola Pekovic played a surprisingly solid
game against the Nets.

Honorable Mention:
Marc Gasol (MEM) – 24pts, 8rebs, 3asts, 2blks, 1stl
Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) – 30pts, 7rebs, 2asts
Dwight Howard (ORL) – 19pts, 16rebs, 8blks, 2asts

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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