NEW ORLEANS -- Detroit Pistons coach Lawrence Frank was right about one thing.
He took responsibility for the botched final attempt to tie Friday night's game against the New Orleans Hornets.
If you were watching from home, the Pistons were forced to watch Rodney Stuckey's contested triple from the top of the key with 4 seconds left, trailing 98-95.
Al-Farouq Aminu rebounded, and his two free throws accounted for the final score, 100-95.
Afterward, Frank, Stuckey and Greg Monroe said there was confusion that led to Stuckey's shot with time left.
And ultimately player confusion is on the coach.
"At the end of the day when something doesn't work, the coach has to take responsibility with it," Frank said in front of the visitor s locker room at New Orleans Arena. "When something doesn't go right at the end of the day, the responsibility lays on me, so I take full responsibility for it."
After Greivis Vasquez's running bank shot gave the Hornets (21-39) a 98-95 lead, the Pistons called time-out with 12.1 seconds left.
You can definitely quibble with the strategy, with Frank and Monroe saying the play was designed for Monroe to score quickly with no time-outs left. Frank wanted to get a quick score and then foul immediately.
But the play went astray when Stuckey found himself at the top of the key, heavily guarded. His shot barely touched iron.
Frank said: "We were looking to go direct into Greg. We weren't clean on the play."
Stuckey said: "I think some of us thought it was supposed to be on the other side, so it was just kind of a missed communication. We just got to have better focus in the time-outs."
Eyebrows are raised whenever a coach takes direct responsibility for a loss, and rightfully so.
But another culprit was the Pistons' inability to keep Vasquez out of the paint. He scored 25 points (13 in the fourth quarter) to go along with nine assists. Pistons guards were unable to get off screens and were stuck behind Vasquez all night.
"We were Velcro many times tonight," Frank said of the guard's inability to get off screens. "We running into chests and not fighting through.
"We were on his hip a lot throughout the evening."
And 18 offensive rebounds didn't help . Still, if they could have just executed that last play, they could have gotten a rare victory against a Western Conference opponent.
"We didn't execute it the way we wanted to, so that's disappointing because that's something we can control," Frank said.
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