Prince, Stuckey lead Pistons past Kings
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The Detroit Pistons were thrilled to see one of their players block a shot to clinch a victory over the Sacramento Kings.
They were just astonished at which player it was.
Will Bynum, the team’s shortest player, swatted away Beno Udrih’s layup attempt in the final seconds as the Pistons beat the Kings 110-106 on Saturday night.
“They had been driving to the hoop all night, so I figured he was coming,” said Bynum, very generously listed at 6-feet. “Once he got a step on (Rodney) Stuckey, I was going for the block. I don’t know why everyone is so surprised – I’ve had game-winning blocks before. Maybe just not here.”
Bynum, who also scored 18 points, has blocked 11 shots in a four-season career.
“I saw the block, and I had to ask guys on the bench if that was really Will,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “That was a great play.”
Teammate Charlie Villanueva was equally impressed.
“Did you see that?” he asked, as Bynum looked on. “That was an incredible athletic play – it looked more like Tayshaun than someone Will’s size. I wish I could jump like that.”
Bynum’s 18 points and Villanueva’s 16 helped a balanced scoring attack that saw six Pistons finish in double figures. Prince led Detroit with 21 points and Stuckey added 19.
“Tayshaun just continues to play at a high level, and Stuck made a lot of plays at the end of the game,” Kuester said.
The Kings scored 70 points in the first half, but failed to break 40 in the final two quarters.
“That’s a hard one,” said Kings coach Paul Westphal. “We did so many good things, but we didn’t come away with a win, because we couldn’t ever guard them effectively.”
Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 25. Jason Thompson scored 22, but only two in the second half, and the Kings shot just 52 percent from the free throw line.
“We shot free throws like a junior high team tonight,” Westphal said. “We had as many field goals as they did, made four more 3s and had virtually the same number of free-throw attempts, but they killed us in the free-throw contest.”
Detroit lost starting point guard Tracy McGrady to a shin injury in the first quarter, but even with the Pistons down a guard, Richard Hamilton was benched for the third straight game.
“I was happy with the rotation we had,” Kuester said. “Will, Stuck and Ben Gordon did a great job for us.”
The Kings had their highest-scoring first half of the season, taking a 70-59 lead after shooting 70 percent from the floor. Thompson had 20 points for Sacramento in the half.
The Pistons, though, got back into the game in the third quarter. They held the Kings to 10 points in the period, and took an 82-80 lead into the fourth.
“That’s what five guys can do when they finally get on the same page,” Villanueva said. “We didn’t change anything we were doing, we just started playing ‘D’ with some intensity.”
Sacramento’s offense recovered in the fourth period, and Udrih’s follow shot gave the Kings a 91-90 lead midway through the quarter.
Detroit, though, scored the next six points. Sacramento had the ball down 108-104 with 33 seconds left, and DeMarcus Cousins hit two free throws to cut the margin in half.
Bynum, though, answered with a pair of free throws for Detroit, then pulled off the surprising block.
“We can’t let games get away from us like that,” Thompson said. “It was close, but we should have been up by more than 10 at the half, and then we had too many turnovers during their third-quarter run. Obviously, we weren’t effective when the game got close.”
Notes: Cousins was called for a technical foul early in the fourth quarter after protesting a non-call. … Sacramento missed 11 of its first 19 free throws. … Gordon played in his 500th career game. … Ben Wallace (ankle) missed his third straight game. … A Pistons spokesman said after the game that McGrady could have returned for the second half, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.