It’s safe to say Glen Davis and Daniel Orton didn’t provide the kind of resistance inside Orlando was hoping for, playing without its starting frontcourt of Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson (and starting point guard Jameer Nelson). Detroit out-scored Orlando 56-30 in the paint and essentially got any shot they wanted on offense.
Detroit was mostly patient with the exception of a few possessions. They moved the ball well, took good shots and Orlando’s defense predictably collapsed minus Howard (and don’t discount Anderson’s absence on D either … he’s become a solid defensive player as well) in the middle. All five starters scored in double figures. No starter shot more than 13 times or fewer than 11.
With Howard out, my hope before the game was Greg Monroe would dominate. He played great, but dominating wasn’t all that necessary since all of his teammates were getting open shots as well. Monroe, as he always does, terrorized the offensive glass (he had four), and with Howard out, Monroe wasn’t as tentative around the basket as he sometimes gets playing against great shot blockers. He went up confidently and strong without the fear of his shot getting blocked, and his teammates followed suit.
Jason Maxiell got a dunk on the first possession of the game, then another monster slam on an offensive rebound midway through the first. Jonas Jerebko closed the quarter by dunking a lob on an in-bounds play. Tayshaun Prince slashed to the basket for a dunk in traffic on a pass from Will Bynum in the second.
I’ve harped on the ‘Monroe needs more shots!’ talking point all season, and tonight, when he shot 9-for-11 for 22 points against a really weak frontcourt, it would certainly seem like a good time to reinforce that point considering three other Pistons shot it more than he did. But I can’t even get upset about it. The Pistons got any shot they wanted and had every player aggressively attacking the basket and finishing. It was fun to watch, even if Monroe was probably capable of scoring 40 or more tonight.
Ben Wallace is great, part a million
The end of Ben Wallace‘s career is getting closer, and I’m admittedly not ready to come to grips with that. But he reached another milestone tonight, going over 7,000 defensive rebounds for his career. At some point, I’m going to write a lot of words about Wallace in a post (you’ve been warned). For tonight, I’ll just let Chris Webber handle it. When asked if Wallace was a Hall of Famer on Twitter, this was Webber’s response:
Concise and accurate. That’s why C-Webb is my favorite analyst.
Ben Gordon’s groin is great, thanks
Ryan Field of FSD got the halftime scoop, telling Ben Gordon that his groin appeared to be feeling good. It was a little awkward, but still true. Gordon looked healthy tonight. He’s struggled with injuries with the Pistons and more than once, come back when it appeared he wasn’t fully healed from whatever particular injury was afflicting him at the time. Tonight, he moved well, looked comfortable in the offense and, most importantly, made open shots. His 45-point game this season was certainly exciting, but I’m actually more encouraged when Gordon can play like he did tonight. With Monroe, Rodney Stuckey and eventually maybe Brandon Knight, if Gordon sticks around beyond this season, he’s never going to be more than a third or fourth option at best. Since he’s become a Piston, the only times he’s looked comfortable and productive have been when the Pistons have been giving him a lot of shots and treating him as a No. 1 option. Gordon isn’t good enough to be a top option on a good team every game and, to this point, he hasn’t shown that he can be an effective, consistent complimentary player. Tonight, he was. He didn’t force things, he made open shots and he didn’t disappear when the ball wasn’t in his hands like he sometimes does. This is the performance I would much rather see Gordon build on than the night he caught lightning in a bottle and hit everything.
Jerebko out-plays Magic bench
Orlando’s starters, notably Davis (31 points) and Hedo Turkoglu (16 points on 6-for-7 shooting), competed well enough for the Magic to stay close, even if Detroit’s starters were playing well too. The difference was Jerebko’s effort off the bench. He scored 13 points, had five rebounds and a steal. Orlando’s reserves combined only had 16 points and shot the ball poorly. Jerebko’s dunk at the end of the first quarter gave the Pistons a boost of energy early and he had a great fourth quarter to help the Pistons pull away. He untied the game with a three in the first minute of the fourth, then midway through the quarter he hit a layup and then got a steal that led to a Knight layup to help the Pistons push the lead to double figures.