That was especially evident Sunday’s 98-75 loss to the Heat.
Monroe (11 points and seven rebounds) and Knight (16 points and five rebounds) were two of the Pistons’ only three players to make most of their shots, and by the box score, those two were similarly effective.
But Monroe’s numbers were much harder to come by.
Miami clearly gameplanned for Monroe, who has established himself as a a very good interior scorer. Ronny Turiaf’s crafty defense and quick hands gave Monroe trouble, and the Heat even used LeBron James against Monroe a bit. The second-year Piston labored while involved early, was kept at bay by Miami for most of the game and added a few meaningless points late.
That left Knight, a Miami native, to have a solid homecoming. He made 2-of-4 3-pointers and got to the rim as effectively as could be imagined against the Heat’s tight defense.
Knight had only one assist, but the Heat allowed just eight total assists. Passing the ball effectively, let alone making shots, against their defense was problematic.
The Pistons shot 37.3 percent from the field and largely resorted to long jumpers, including going 3-of-19 on 3-pointers. LeBron (26 points) and Chris (Bosh 22 points and nine rebounds) will get credit for their offensive, but they led a Miami defense that was excellent.
Knight didn’t play in the fourth quarter, by then, the game’s result was long decided. Knight’s defense didn’t look worthy of warranting a benching, but maybe I missed missed something. Or, perhaps, Lawrence Frank wanted to rest his point guard.
Either way, Knight was the lone bright spot for the Pistons in a particularly flat game, which was especially nice to see considering the game’s location.