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At least Greg Monroe did some things well

I suppose Greg Monroe’s play salvaged a part of last night’s clunker, a 103-83 loss to the Los Angles Lakers. It feels empty to write that, but in a late Tuesday-night game destined to be lost in the thick clouds of a stormy season, maybe we should just be thankful for a single semi-encouraging storyline.

In a game few Pistons fans saw considering its time and position opposite an exciting Sugar Bowl, Greg Monroe made a basket here and grabbed a rebound there on his way to 14 points and 11 rebounds – his first career double-double.

He also made two steals and did OK defending the post. Monroe’s interior defense has leveled off this season at mediocre, but that’s progress from its shaky start and a notch above what his teammates displayed tonight.

Monroe played hard all night, but never had a spurt of significantly impacting the game. It wasn’t his best game as a Piston, but it was a good one.

Otherwise, most of the rest of the Pistons exhibited their typically boringly bad play. Their energy wasn’t so lacking they embarrassed themselves, but it wasn’t near the level necessary to compete with a team like the Lakers.

The Pistons hung around in the first half because Kobe Bryant missed his first nine shots and the Pistons (mostly with Tracy McGrady on the floor) moved the ball pretty well. But there was never any doubt the Lakers would pull away.

The game wasn’t pretty for the Pistons, and this won’t be their last such game of the season. I just hope when these come around, there’s at least one positive. Tonight, we got that.

Some expectations this team has set, huh?

Tracy McGrady produces again

Maybe it’s time to stop marveling at each quality Tracy McGrady performance. They’ve become par for the course.

His knees still prevent him from being an every-night player, but he’s getting the job done more often than not. After scoring 14 points and dishing six assists tonight in his fifth straight start:

  • he’s scored at least 11 points in five of his last seven games.
  • he’s dished at least six assists in four of his last seven games.
  • he’s grabbed at least four rebounds in six of his last 11 games.

McGrady made six turnovers and didn’t produce much in the second half. But, unlike earlier in the season, I’m no longer surprised every time McGrady helps the Pistons.

Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom expose Pistons

Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom combined for 50 points (19-of-29 from the field) and 22 rebounds. The Pistons struggles defending opposing bigs have been well-documented, but the Lakers’ trio also drew attention to an offensive shortcoming on Detroit’s roster.

The Pistons have no low-post players with good hands. It was amazing watch the Lakers whip passes inside to Gasol, Bynum and Odom, who converted them into easy layups. Those three Lakers also scored on put-backs after easily collecting the ball.

The Pistons who might be most adept at establishing post position – Jason Maxiell and Ben Wallace – can’t match either of those things. They fumble entry passes and tip rebounds, allowing defenders time to position themselves.

Detroit needs an interior player with hands for its offense to begin approaching the Lakers’ level. I hope Greg Monroe can turn into that player.

Rodney Stuckey still slowed

Rodney Stuckey’s stomach virus appeared to hit him with lingering effects against the Lakers. He missed all three of his shots, turned the ball over twice and committed two fouls in 12 minutes. His jumper looked flatter than usual, and he didn’t contribute much of anything worthwhile.

Hopefully, his health shows signs of improvement against the 76ers on Saturday.

11 Comments

  • Jan 5, 20118:11 am
    by Glenn

    Reply

    Would that be his first career double-double?  Or did you forget another stat?

  • Jan 5, 20118:20 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    no mention of how Ben Gordon got punked last night by Derrick Fisher?

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Patrick Hayes. Patrick Hayes said: From @PistonPowered: At least Greg Monroe did some things well http://bit.ly/eiMFp4 [...]

  • Jan 5, 20119:04 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Glenn:

    It should’ve been double-double. Dan is preoccupied with Rich Rod on the brain. It’s fixed now.

  • Jan 5, 20119:08 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @pcb:

    Fisher has long been one of the best defensive guards in the game. Yeah, Gordon didn’t play well, but why is a strong defensive effort by Fisher that surprising, especially considering Gordon has been wildly inconsistent all season?

    A combined 34 points on 13-of-17 shooting by the Lakers’ starting frontcourt compared to 6 points on 3-of-9 shooting from the Wallace/Villanueva combo was really the story.

  • Jan 5, 20119:37 am
    by IsraeliPiston

    Reply

    IS JJ the big with good hands for the Pistons?

  • Jan 5, 201111:43 am
    by gordbrown

    Reply

    Stuckey’s season in a microcosm. Last minute of the first quarter, Stuckey in for McGrady. Stuckey penetrates and kicks ball to wide wide open Hamilton for the three. Shot bricked. Last shot of quarter. Stuckey holds ball for last shot (as per bench order), penetrates and draws triple team. Passes ball around defender to Maxiel. Maxiel tries to catch ball with one hand. Ball hits floor, 24 second clock expires as Maxiel never really corrals ball. Game story, McGrady loses wind, legs in last two minutes of first half. Pistons never recover from that. Season story, trade prospects evaporating with good (first half) but lost (second half) performances.

  • Jan 5, 201112:17 pm
    by jack

    Reply

    What about when an out of control stuckey runs into a lakers for an charge. Check the mintes stuckey is on and off you will see that the lakers lead went up once stuckey was on the floor instead of mcgrady.  

    You cant put a square peg in a round hole. Stuckey puts his head down on almost everytime he brings the ball and goes full bore towards the basket. 

  • Jan 5, 20116:41 pm
    by gordbrown

    Reply

    He did that once and got a quick hook. But my point remains being responsible didn’t really do him any good either. Also the worst stetches of the game were the end of the second and the first six minutes of the third, when in fact McGrady was in (but laboring in no small part to the fact that he had worked his tail off for three straight halves on back to back nights). McGrady is not entirely to blame. Charlie and Gordon jacking up bad outside shots were also a big factor.

  • Jan 6, 20115:13 am
    by Kaneda

    Reply

    Wouldn’t it be a good idea to try and trade with Dallas now that they are looking to pick a SF to replace Butler?
    Prince and maybe one more piece for Butler and Beaubois?!

  • Jan 6, 20118:50 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Kaneda:
    Everything out of Dallas suggests they arenot looking to trade just yet.
    In all honesty, Butler wasn’t playing that well for them in the first place. I’m sure they’ll look to add a wing at some point, but my guess is that if they pursue anyone it will be Stephen Jackson, who Rick Carlisle supposedly loved when they were in Indiana together.

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