AUBURN HILLS, Mich (NBA.com exclusive) -- When Joe Dumars created the blueprint this summer to make the Detroit Pistons a contender into the next decade, he envisioned a game like this.
Dumars, the Pistons' president of basketball operations, saw Ben Gordon firing up high-arcing 3-pointers, making floaters in the lane and creating opportunities for his teammates. He also saw Charlie Villanueva going on explosive scoring runs with an array of 3-pointers, slashing moves into the lane, baseline runners and post ups.
Everyone at The Palace of Auburn Hills witnessed the same thing Wednesday night as the combination of Gordon and Villanueva led the Pistons to a 98-75 wipeout of the punchless Charlotte Bobcats.
Gordon racked up 22 points and a season-high eight assists while Villanueva poured in 30 points despite sitting out the fourth quarter of the blowout. Dumars invested $90 million in Gordon and Villanueva during a free-agent signing spree and they're paying early dividends.
"They did have it going," said Pistons coach John Kuester, who defeated his former Pistons boss and mentor, Larry Brown. "The nice thing about it was how they shared the basketball. Charlie has an uncanny ability to make very difficult shots at times. They complement each other."
The Pistons led by as much as 35, even though starters Tayshaun Prince (small disc rupture in lower back) and Richard Hamilton (right ankle sprain) remained sidelined. They played arguably their best game this season, collecting a season-best 26 assists on 40 field goals while shooting 55.6 percent.
They hadn't made more than 20 assists in their previous seven games and were last in the league in that category entering the game.
"I don't think our ranking in the league right now is indicative of the team we are," said Gordon, who was just one shy of his career high in assists. "We have a lot of unselfish guys but sometimes we rely on ourselves too much. Tonight, we did a good job of moving the ball and recognizing when guys had it going and we got everybody involved."
Charlotte, playing the second game of a back-to-back, also got everyone in the act. Unfortunately, the Bobcats were equally guilty of coughing up the ball. They made 20 turnovers, leading to 27 Pistons points. They had eight players with at least two giveaways.
Brown ripped his team in a postgame meeting.
"We just got out-coached tonight," he said. "They executed, they played great and they were much more organized and played much harder. I admired the way that they played and I was embarrassed by the way we played."
Ranked last in both scoring and field-goal percentage, the Bobcats had their pick-and-roll plays diffused by the Pistons' energetic defenders. That led to bad passes and low percentage jumpers. "I thought we were just being active," Gordon said. "Even when we made mistakes defensively in our coverages, guys were making second and third efforts. We were able to force turnovers and score off of them."
A 19-7 run at the end of the first half gave the Pistons a 52-41 halftime advantage. Pistons reserve guard Will Bynum ignited his club and the crowd by driving past Gerald Wallace and throwing down a one-handed dunk over 7-footer Tyson Chandler. The 6-foot Bynum, who also dunked on a fourth-quarter fast break, wound up with 16 points.
"That got us going a lot," Gordon said. "Will is one of those guys who's like a freak of nature. When he gets a lane to the basket, he's liable to end up on SportsCenter."
Detroit built on that momentum by outscoring Charlotte 29-12 in the third. Villanueva had 18 of those points, overwhelming counterpart Boris Diaw.
Gordon added six points and five assists in the third, four on Villanueva buckets.
Gordon stripped Flip Murray and fed Villanueva for a fast-break dunk, then executed a pick and roll that turned into a Villanueva 20-footer.
Moments later, Gordon dished the ball out to Villanueva for a 3-pointer, then fed his favorite target once again with a behind-the-back bounce pass, leading to a Villanueva baseline drive.
"I knew Ben Gordon was talented one-on-one and was going to score points for us," Kuester said. "I'm just so impressed with his unselfishness."
Rodney Stuckey chipped in 16 points and seven assists for the Pistons, while Nazr Mohammed's 13 points and eight rebounds topped Charlotte. Wallace was held to 12 points by Detroit rookies Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye. Diaw had just seven points for the Bobcats, who played without starting guard Raja Bell (calf strain).
"We were bad all over the place," Chandler said. "It was very disappointing tonight because I don't think that we should have lost to this team that way."