Through some eerie reminiscences of the past Sunday, both their own and their opponents', the Detroit Pistons overcame everything except their lousy first half in a 98-97 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
There was Metta World Peace, who when he was named Ron Artest and played for the Indiana Pacers was the central figure in an infamous 2004 brawl at The Palace of Auburn Hills, drawing a Flagrant-One foul for grabbing Brandon Knight around the neck without provocation.
There was Steve Nash, a career 90-percent free-throw shooter, missing a pair with 2.7 seconds left and leaving the door open for defeat. Nash later said he remembered a handful of occasions when he missed two free throws on the same trip to the line, but only one other time with a game's outcome in the balance, nearly a decade ago.
In the end, the Pistons couldn't cash either of their final two scoring chances and came up one point short.
But those late misses weren't the real difference.
A 62-point first half in which the Lakers shot 57 percent was the real difference.
"It comes down to one shot," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "But to win it, it's all those possessions of not giving us the focused basketball that we needed to have because you're in a heck of a whole."
Detroit Pistons lose despite familiar instigator Metta World Peace at work and Steve Nash flailing at line
Michigan Live | Feb 4