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Pistons beat red-hot Deron Williams for first time

Most Valuable Player

Deron Williams. Williams entered the game 11-0 against the Pistons, and his first loss to Detroit was no fault of his own. He had 34 points, including a four-point play, and seven assists.

Least Valuable Player

Shawne Williams. Despite a decent number of open looks, the Nets forward shots just 2-of-12 and missed all six of his 3-pointers. No New Jersey small forward helped tonight, but Williams played worst.

X-Factor

The Pistons got the ball to Greg Monroe frequently, which they’ve too often failed to do. When the ball is in his hands, good things happen.

Monroe finished 15 plays tonight and scored 20 points on them. He missed just 6-of-16 shots, but tipped in two of those misses. He also turned the ball over only once in 35 minutes and assisted four baskets.

He was an eager defender, collecting nine defensive rebounds, two steals and a block.

Deron Williams, one of the NBA’s true stars, was the only player better on the court tonight.

Brandon Knight scatters good and bad plays

Brandon Knight, who wore a mask to cover his face, is playing over his head. He certainly had flashes of brilliance – and encouragingly, he’s looking more athletic than he has all season – but the game is still coming too fast at him.

He had 13 points and four assists in 37 minutes, but he often rushed shots (4-of-10 shooting, including 1-of-4 on 3-pointers) and passes (four turnovers). I’ll take the flashes for now, but eventually, he’ll have to settle down.

Walker Russell outplays Brandon Knight

Walker Russell not only played more under control than Brandon Knight, Russell played better. He made both his shots and dished three assists.

But Russell played just 10 minutes to Knight’s 37 minutes. Chalk it up as evidence that the Pistons have shifted gears toward developing their young players rather than playing their best players at all costs.

Jonas Jerebko makes mark

Jonas Jerebko (16 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks) displayed great energy. He was active offensively and defensively, and on a positive note, he didn’t really stand out for doing that, because his teammates came closer than usual to matching his intensity.

Jerebko got a little shot happy at times (5-of-12 in 35 minutes), but I can live with that as long as that’s secondary to his hustle plays.

Ben Gordon returns

Ben Gordon played for the first time since Jan. 20, and he shot well in his return from a shoulder injury. Gordon made 6-of-7 shots, all 2-pointers, and scored 14 points.

But his dribbling was train wreck. He turned the ball over four times in 21 minutes.

And despite two steals, his defense was pretty loose, too.

For Gordon to really help the Pistons going forward, he’ll have to play better than he did tonight – despite his solid scoring line.

37 Comments

  • Feb 8, 201210:15 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    I remember the losing streak to the Jazz, but wow, didn’t realize we had never beaten Deron Williams. The guy always plays us like its game 7 of the Finals though. I wonder if he;s aware of that streak.

    Moose just continues to impress. I remember reading yesterday in pistons.com how the latest thing Monroe is working on is being stronger with the ball. Well, that dunk was the definition of being strong with the ball. Amazing how he can recognize a weakness and the next game its corrected already. He’s like a machine that you just have to program once beforehand and then he gets the job done every time there after.

    • Feb 8, 201210:31 pm
      by jayg108

      Reply

      Perfect analogy about Monroe correcting himself.  Says a lot about his quality.
       
      I didn’t see the game, but I saw in the box score they had 50 points in the paint to Jersey’s 24.  That’s the way to win.
       
      Can they still turn around the season?  Or should they be tanking?

  • Feb 8, 201210:17 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    If this newfound upper body strength of Monroe is going to continue and he becomes a physical beast to go with his elite skills, look out.

  • Feb 8, 201210:20 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Roy Rogers is looking like an excellent pick up. The bigs on Boston were always great fundamentally, and looks like we are getting the same development here now. All of our bigs have shown big improvement this year under Rogers.

  • Feb 8, 201210:23 pm
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    For those of you wondering about the new format, Patrick and I will occasionally write pieces like this for ESPN’s Daily Dime Live immediately after the game. We’ll post them here and then update accordingly.

    • Feb 8, 201211:32 pm
      by Jacob

      Reply

      You must have confused Walker Russell with Damien Wilkins. Wilkins got a DNP-CD.

      • Feb 8, 201211:36 pm
        by Dan Feldman

        Reply

        You’re absolutely right, Jacob. Thanks. Fixed now.

        • Feb 9, 201212:37 am
          by gordbrown

          Reply

          Just to get this straight, the Walker D Russell you are referring to. That’s the one who fouled Deron Williams leading to a four point play and then getting yanked never to see the floor again. That’s that player? Also the best point guard was clearly Rodney Stuckey, who shot over 50% and led the team in assists. Seems kind of perverse not to mention him at all, doesn’t it?

          • Feb 9, 20126:48 am
            by Daye and Knight

            They’re Stuckey haters…don’t really see that changing no matter what but it’s people like them that Stuckey should feed off of..straight up hatin lol

          • Feb 9, 20128:55 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            He was clearly highlighting a point that, contrary to the beliefs of many that veterans are getting minutes at the expense of young players, Knight actually played worse than Russell but still got the bulk of the minutes.

            Daye and Knight: ‘yer haterz’ is about the weakest comment anyone can possibly make. If Stuckey is reading sports websites that aren’t even that critical of him to motivate himself, he has serious issues.

          • Feb 9, 201212:13 pm
            by Daye and Knight

            @ Patrick “yer haters”

            Hahaha really? Seriously?

            First it’s “Stuckey Scappies” or whatever made up word you used

            Now it’s “yer haterz”

            Hahahahahahahahahahaha Oooooook

          • Feb 9, 201212:21 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Listen, if you don’t like the content here, you can comment elsewhere. You are trolling right now. Don’t do that.

          • Feb 9, 201212:31 pm
            by Daye and Knight

            If I had a serious problem with the site I would just leave. The only thing I don’t agree on is your opinion on Stuckey.

            Saying my comment was the “weakest” is one thing I can get over that but if you say anything about what I write and my opinion I will definitely have a comeback

            If you correct what I say on here, I’ll do the same

            Regardless it’s no hard feelings on my part

          • Feb 9, 201212:43 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            You don’t agree with my opinion that Stuckey is a decent but not great player?

          • Feb 9, 20121:32 pm
            by Daye and Knight

            I agree with that Patrick. But you say he’s decent one minute and the next minute he’s not.

          • Feb 9, 20121:39 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            He’s decent, but he has flaws that can be pretty costly at times. He’s also never had the greatest attitude, which is partially the fault of the organization for hiring really weak coaches early in his career when he was developing.

            I can be critical of the flaws he does have when they do prove to cost the team and still overall think he’s a solid player.

          • Feb 9, 20123:20 pm
            by Daye and Knight

            I agree with everything you just said above. His attitude needs to be in check sometimes and he can make some knuckleheaded plays every now and then. The fact he hasn’t had a stable coach didn’t help much neither. If Frank shows consistency, then I expect Stuckey to be pretty good but not perfect. We finally agree lol.

            And I guess if Stuckey does something stupid then call him out but if he does something good like lead the team in assist and shoot over 50% from the floor (like yesterday) it shouldn’t be ignored especially since we got the win lol

          • Feb 9, 20128:04 pm
            by Max

            I think there’s enough negativity on this site in regards to himself to motivate Stuckey if that’s how he gets his inspiration.   The bad things sticks out more to most people when they are taking in criticism for one thing.

  • Feb 8, 201210:34 pm
    by apa8ren9

    Reply

    That was a good win.  They battled. When NJ got even they just got stops and put the lead back up to 7+.  That looked like a team that did some homework and was prepared.  When D Williams got hot I was worried because the Pistons normally wilt during those runs but they rode Moose and Knight showed some fortitude despite getting torched by D Will.  THROW IT DOWN BIG FELLA!

  • Feb 8, 201210:43 pm
    by Patrick Ryan

    Reply

    Yeah, I like to see the younger players getting minutes, particularly Knight.  Even when he’s not immediately effective, he plays hard and getting those minutes should pay off in the long run.  He’s learning, which will put him in a much better long-term position than sitting and watching.

  • Feb 8, 201210:48 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    Soo…..is our 1st round pick for Cousins still a bad idea?

    Our team is starting to look like…a team.

    Knight had swagger to him driving to the hoop, Stuckey dished out 6 assist and shot over 50% from the floor, Jonas and Gordon were great off the bench and Moose just keeps getting better and better…dude’s a STUD

    I’m not saying we are gonna shock the world and turn into a play off team but the likely hood of getting a top 3 pick in the draft is slipping away and honestly I don’t see it coming back anytime soon.

    So who would you all rather have…Cousins or Sullinger?

    • Feb 9, 201212:05 am
      by Joe Dumars

      Reply

      The Kings aren’t looking to trade Cousins and Sullinger is a bad fit with Monroe, so neither.

      The Pistons need a big that can add more athletism to the front court than they already have and can play defense.

      • Feb 9, 20126:32 am
        by Daye and Knight

        Reply

        Kings may say that now but I don’t put too much stock into what goes on upstairs so you never know. Sullinger is just a player I project as best available. By the time we draft, if we continue to play the way we are we’ll be drafting in the 7-10 range and that likely means no Davis, Barnes, Thomas, Jones III and Drummond to my knowledge is staying put for another year.

        If the Kings back their word up by not trading Cousins then fine, but it’s not like they’re winning with him so it’s not impossible to think they would consider it

        That being said, I wouldn’t want Cousins messing up the development of Monroe neither, but if he plays the way he should he would be a nice piece to rebuild around along with Knight and Monroe

        • Feb 9, 20122:00 pm
          by Joe Dumars

          Reply

          If Kings really had strong feelings about trading Cousins, he would have been traded by now. Cousins has been playing great since Westphal got fired

          If Sullinger is the BPA so be it, but I would rather see them trade up if they’re in that 7-10 range than take him.

          • Feb 9, 20123:23 pm
            by Daye and Knight

            Maybe they haven’t had a good enough offer, Chris Kamen was all of a sudden off the table and clearly he was set to go…but no point in saying what if cause we don’t know what’s going on in their office and what’s being offered. Certainly outside of maybe 10-15 players everyone could be dealt for the right price.

  • Feb 8, 201211:00 pm
    by Ryi

    Reply

    Stat of the Night: 29 assists!  The Pistons looking like a team?!!?  With all the I need the ball to be productive players they turned a corner tonight, even though it was against NJ.  Good to see that, keep up the good work.

    • Feb 8, 201211:26 pm
      by Mark

      Reply

      Finally got everyone in their correct roles. Gordon CAN be great – off the bench, in limited spurts. Where he can score, but not long enough to screw up the game.

      Jonas is a backup PF, not a starter too. And Maxiell has always been at his best when starting. Tay has dropped back into being the 3rd-4th option and is playing within the flow instead of stopping the ball. Monroe is the clear #1 go-to guy which he should be. And everythings clicking because of it. Fun to see.

      • Feb 9, 20121:39 am
        by frankie d

        Reply

        @mark,
        i think you are exactly right.  especially about tay.  when he gets into his head that he is THE MAN who has to control the ball and dominate the offense, it is like throwing sand in the gears of heavy machinery.  everything just slows down.  but as long as he acts as one facet, one part of the offense, and a relatively minor one at that, everything works a lot better.
        for whatever reason, he took a step back tonight and let the other guys step up.
        it would be nice to see that happen every game.
        monroe is the team’s best player, even now, and the sooner everyone proceeded on that understanding, the better the team will be.
        i have to say that dunk, the one where the NJ player injured his ankle, was just downright nasty and came out of nowhere.  
        talk about not seeing that coming!
        i had no idea he had that kind of explosiveness.
        whew!!!

  • Feb 8, 201211:42 pm
    by Jacob

    Reply

    Well balanced team game tonight. Monroe’s emphatic dunk late over 2 Nets was nice! But I gotta give a lot of credit to the bench. They were a combined +36 while Brandon Knight was the only starter with a positive +/- at +4. Getting that 2nd quarter lead made a huge difference. I thought they showed some mental toughness when the 18 point lead got down to 1 late and Deron Williams was killing them. But they responded and took care of the win. I know it hurts our lottery chances, but winning games like this is important. Or rather, not blowing games like this is important. Especially for guys like Monroe and Knight going forward.

  • Feb 9, 20121:02 am
    by Mike Coop

    Reply

    Pistons played great today. Again we showed well after a day off ( in this case couple) and played like a team. I think Frank is doing a good job and the team has adequate pieces therefore having practice to prepare helps, but we only beat a lower teir team. I am happy with the outcome and wins like this are important but the Nets are a weaker opponent so hope should not be raised too high but we showed that we have the potential to compete with lesser teams and that is what we are a lesser team, definately in the bottom third. Wins like this are good and when it comes to the lottery it is better to be lucky than completely horrible so wins are nice and luck is better.

  • Feb 9, 20122:56 am
    by Pratik

    Reply

    I loved the rotation that Frank played today. It was fun to watch. JJ and BG really changed the game for me. Every time the Nets made a run. Both JJ and BG had an answer. Hope the Pistons can continue to protect their home court now, since the next 5 out of 6 games are at home.

  • Feb 9, 20126:37 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Great win but what am i going to do with the Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond Pistons guernseys i have ordered? They will be no use to me when either guy is playing for the Wizards or Bobcats.

  • Feb 9, 20128:52 am
    by vic

    Reply

    good news. walker russell had a major impact on this team with his pass first mentality.        good news x monroe is a beast, good enough to win games.        bad news x we are winning enough to get out of the Double AD sweepstakes

  • Feb 9, 20129:07 am
    by vic

    Reply

    Solution – hope Sullinger falls to us and get Fab Melo in round 2 . or go Meyers Leonard

  • Feb 9, 201212:00 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    Well, on the plus side, simply being able to beat other terrible teams is the first step towards respectability. On the down side, that only means we’re good for around 30 wins. And losing lottery balls is VERY BAD NEWS.

    It’s difficult to advocate throwing games to get more lottery balls, but the notion of missing out on a top three pick this season is absolutely GALLING. The lottery is the only way this team is going to get any better, and these middling picks aren’t going to turn the team around until we’ve collected five more of them. After the misery we’ve been forced to endure season after season, having the worst record in the league would be much better than having the fifth or sixth worst (which seems to be our ceiling).

    I wish we could do something to get significantly better or worse, but this looks like the treadmill Joe’s sticking with. SMH

    • Feb 9, 20128:29 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      @Laser Well you did call it on a reply to me about a month ago. And just to think we were only one good quarter of Wizards basketball from having the worst record in the league. I am just seriously hoping come the last month of the season management put Monroe and Knight in cotton wool until next year (we’ll call it ‘early off season surgery’. Surely without those 2 guys playing we will lose the majority of our games which will hopefully lock us in for at least a top 4 pick. If this doesn’t happen then i say you and myself go and burn Joe’s house down and steal his big @ss refrigerator. Are you with me?

  • Feb 9, 20123:55 pm
    by Joe Dumars

    Reply

    @ Daye and Knight

    Well Kaman couldn’t dealt because the Hornets were asking for well beyond market value. I can’t believe they would think they could get draft picks, young players, and cap space for a 29 year old, injury prone big man.

    Of course they would be willing trade Cousins, if they get a offer that blows them out of the water. All that doesn’t mean they’re shopping him around. Just because a few called them up, doesn’t mean they want to get rid of him.

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