Greg Monroe carries Pistons in overtime loss to Clippers

Greg Monroe took Blake Griffin out of the game.

After letting Griffin move him out of the way for his game-tying tip-in late in regulation, Monroe scored on all three of his overtime possessions – including a tip of his own miss by darting past Griffin.

Monroe (23 points and 15 rebounds) belongs in games like today’s 87-83 overtime loss to a team that’s on its way to holding homecourt advantage in a playoff series, and he’s on his way to getting the Pistons to that stage. But he’s not ready to do it by himself – and unfortunately, besides Jonas Jerebko, Monroe didn’t have much help today.

When Monroe carved up Griffin, the Clippers brought in Kenyon Martin, who forced Monroe into a crucial miss. On the other hand, Monroe didn’t take his first shot of overtime until the Pistons trailed by four, thanks to his guards turning the ball over twice and missing a jumper.

On the bright side, the loss gets the Pistons one step closer to adding help around Monroe.

Dreadful guards

Rodney Stuckey (1-of-8 with two turnovers), Brandon Knight (3-of-14 with four turnovers) and Ben Gordon (3-of-11 with five turnovers) combined to shoot 7-of-33 with 11 turnovers.

At least Stuckey had an excuse. David Mayo of MLive:

Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey even found walking and pulling on a pair of jeans almost too painful to bear Sunday afternoon.

The Pistons lost 87-83 in overtime to the Los Angeles Clippers, a game they led by nine points in the fourth quarter, though the lingering issue is Stuckey’s left big toe, which rendered him a completely different player.

“It’s my foot, man,” Stuckey said. “That’s it. I’ve just got to get it right. It’s just been killing me the last couple of days. I just have to rest it and try to get it right. I thought it would be fine but it’s just like the more pressure on it, the more it hurts.”

Stuckey injured the toe late in Wednesday’s win at Sacramento. He played through it in a loss Friday at Utah, but exacerbated it in the first quarter Sunday.

The Clippers have an excellent set of defensive guards in Chris Paul, Randy Foye and – when he’s motivated like he was today – Nick Young. I would’ve liked to see Stuckey face that test, as I’m still not certain how much Stuckey has improved. He’s definitely better than he was last year, but how much?

For Knight and Gordon, the performance wasn’t that out of line.

Knight missed all seven of his 3-pointers, and most of his best offensive games this season have been based on standstill outside shooting. Until he develops a more well-rounded offensive game, he’ll be subject to cold games, as all 3-point shooters are.

Gordon is streaky and turnover prone. If you didn’t know that, you don’t know Gordon.

Hustle and grit and everything nice

Ben Wallace (+8) and Jonas Jerebko (+7) led the Pistons in plus-minus tonight for good reason. Wallace (seven rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes) played staunch defense, and Jerebko (14 points, eight rebounds, a steal and a block in 29 minutes) was his usual, energetic self. Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm put it well:

Jerebko’s one of those guys who if he played for Chicago, would be a cult figure. Such a good player.

In defense of Isolayshaun

Tayshaun Prince’s shot selection, especially late, came under fire for all his isolation looks. It’s unclear whether Prince or Lawrence Frank is most behind the sets, but the reviews are nearly all unfavorable.

As Patrick has bemoaned many times, Prince once again led Detroit in shots (17 tonight). I entirely agree with Patrick that Isolayshaun isn’t particularly fun to watch. But quite often, including tonight, it’s effective.

Prince scored 20 points on 20 plays. His teammates scored 63 points on 88 plays.

Maybe Prince’s teammates would score more efficiently if he did a better job getting them involved. That’s certainly possible. But, for now, Isolayshaun is an effective band aid when the Pistons’ offense is struggling.

Tags: Ben Gordon Ben Wallace Brandon Knight Greg Monroe Jonas Jerebko Lawrence Frank Rodney Stuckey

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