Most Valuable Player
Greg Monroe. Monroe (19 points and 20 rebounds) edges Rodney Stuckey (29 points, four rebounds and three assists) because he played some of the best positional defense of his career. Monroe blocked a shot, took a charge and, overall, got to the right spots defensively. I’ve been critical of Monroe’s defense in the past, but he played well on that end tonight.
Bismack Biyombo, who blocked three shots in nine minutes, left left the game in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. Without him, the Bobcats couldn’t protect the rim or grab rebounds effectively. I doubt they would have won, anyway, but Boris Diaw, DeSagana Diop, Tyrus Thomas, D.J. White and Byron Mullens were pitiful.
That was… thorough
Aside from Jason Maxiell – who starts for his defense (four blocks) and rebounding (seven rebounds) – every Piston starter scored scored at least 14 points and made at least half his shots.
Rodney Stuckey drove to the basket relentlessly, and more often than not, made a layup or drew a foul. He finished 9-of-11 from the line.
Greg Monroe was active inside, often making himself available for passes from Detroit’s motion-heavy perimeter players, and finished well.
Brandon Knight (20 points, five assists, no turnovers) combined Stuckey’s and Monroe’s approaches, driving to the rim and taking advantage of teammates’ activity to find open looks for himself.
Tayshaun Prince made jumper after jumper, which I’m sure will be totally sustainable – as long as the Pistons don’t have too many games in a short stretch or too long a break.
Stuck on the bench
I suspect the Pistons’ woeful three-game losing streak had something to do with that. Lawrence Frank has made clear how important winning is to him. I don’t think he wanted to risk letting the opportunity for victory slip away.
Really, none of Detroit’s reserves made a significant impact.
The Pistons’ starters played heavy, though not extreme, minutes. And they played hard for that time. It was a welcome sight, and I’m certainly not complaining. I’m just curious how they’ll handle such a strenuous load Saturday at Memphis.