The drama from the Pistons’ camp this past week has tested head coach John Kuester’s status with the Pistons. The second year coach has not exactly won over the fans based on last year’s season record and the beginning of the 2010 campaign. After a home loss to the Celtics on Tuesday, Kuester suggested to the media that someone from the Pistons need to step up and become a vocal leader as the Pistons were seeking their first win. That invoked a response from long-time Pistons favorite F Tayshaun Prince that the coach staffing needs to step up their game plan as well. On Wednesday vs. the Atlanta Hawks, Pistons G Rodney Stuckey ignored Kuester’s instructions twice and was immediately benched. The Pistons had yet another fourth quarter collapse against Atlanta and lost to the Hawks to remain winless (0-5). On Thursday, the Pistons let it be known through the media that Kuester’s job status was safe despite the rift between players and starting out 0-5. The players held a players’ only meeting in which veterans Ben Wallace and Tracy McGrady did most of the talking. Kuester benched Stuckey for Friday’s home game against the Charlotte Bobcats for his insubordination. For the first time this season, they did not have a 4th quarter collapse against the Bobcats and won their first game.
Beside the 4th quarter collapse against the Hawks this season, the Pistons also have blown a seven-point lead in the final 100 seconds vs. Nets, a 21-point second-half lead vs. Bulls, and gave up a layup with 2.5 seconds left vs. Thunder - uncharacteristic for a Joe Dumars type team.
Things have now settled down for the Detroit Pistons. Instead of off field drama, the Pistons are learning how to finish games. Stuckey re-joined the team for Sunday’s game against the red hot Golden State Warriors (4-1). The Pistons again played a tight game to the end, but managed to pull out a 102-97 win as Stuckey had 21 points and 9 assists. The Pistons are now 2-5 and embraced their first West Coast trip of the season (4 games). Their journey will start at Portland and end eight days later at Golden State. Now with all the drama dying down, the headlines should now be coming from on the court, and not off the court.
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Written by Bob Ballard