DeMar DeRozan had a monster game last night: 42 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds in Toronto’s overtime win at Detroit. But there was no finer moment in the game, or maybe in the Raptors season, than the final seconds of regulation. With 10.1 seconds on the clock, Blake Griffin hit a foul shot to give Detroit a one-point lead in a must-win game for the Pistons. And then this happened. And by “this happened” what I really mean is DeMar DeRozan happened.
Coast-to-coast for a dunk. And one. And again, this is not coast to coast off a rebound. Or a steal. Or a loose ball. But an inbounds pass. That means all five guys in Pistons gear had the chance to get back and take a stand, and they still never stood a chance.
Where was Blake Griffin going on that play? I know where he wasn’t going – to stop DeMar DeRozan. He’ll take on the equipment manager half his size, but no way he’s standing in front of DeMar DeRozan with a game on the line. Blake, do something. Somebody. Anybody do something.
Full praise and respect to Anthony Tolliver for at least being willing to try to stop DeMar, even though he knew how it was going to end – with him on a poster and DeMar on the line.
DeMar just sliced through the Pistons defense and cut himself on the rim, and still made the and-one.
How does Stan Van Gundy watch that play unfold and not immediately take a flame thrower to the place? He had to be screaming “UP UP UP” at every Pistons player who was running back, back, back.
And when he looks at it later, he’ll want to throw “UP UP UP”
Although, credit to SVG, he called a timeout and instead of punching every single player in the face, he drew up a play, got Griffin a look to tie it and they sent the game to overtime…. where they eventually lost it.
Credit for not completely folding after DeMar humiliated them like that, but that’s about it. And you could tell after the game, SVG wasn’t particularly pleased: “We didn’t do what we were supposed to do. I’m not going any further than that. I’m not going to throw someone under the bus, but we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”
That’s actually worse than having a coach like SVG breaking a clipboard or screaming at you. That’s like when you’re a kid and you screw up in a big way, you know you’re in huge trouble, and you’re expecting mom or dad to explode on you, but instead, they’re very calm. That’s when you know you aren’t just in trouble; you’re in serious, serious trouble.
And I know that SVG won’t be looking to hand out “attaboys” and pats on the back when he gets the team together for a film session. I’m guessing that Stan Van Gundy will sound something like the old Dwight Howard impression of Stan Van Gundy.
Smoke had to be coming out of Van Gundy’s ears after that play and after that game. That really has to grind his gears. And it was a horrible moment for the Pistons at a time when they could least afford it. And then it nearly happened again in overtime, except instead of DeRozan going to the rack, he kicked it out to Fred Van Vleet for the game winner. Raptors win and clinch a playoff spot. Pistons lose and clinch a miserable film session.