Like Barack Obama-Mitt Romney, Pistons-Nuggets won by better basketball players; now focus turns to Washington D.C.

Detroit and Denver both entered tonight 0-3, but now the Pistons and Washington Wizards are the NBA’s only winless teams. At least one of Detroit or Washington should win before they play Dec. 21. Right?

Detroit Pistons 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
109 Denver Nuggets
Jason Maxiell, PF 23 MIN | 4-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -8The Nuggets out-rebounding the Pistons, 52-35, and he was a fairly key reason. He didn’t miss and blocked a couple shots, which is nice, but he’s got to rebound better.
Tayshaun Prince, SF 29 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -10Missed a couple layups, forced his shot a bit more than in the first few games, still isn’t doing much besides shooting. Prince isn’t a liability, per se, but what is he bringing to the floor?
Greg Monroe, C 35 MIN | 10-20 FG | 7-7 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 27 PTS | -1This is the Greg Monroe we’ve been waiting to see. His offense and rebounding were strong, and if he keeps producing like this, he’ll be at least a legitimate candidate for the All-Star game. His effort on defense came and went, but he had a few fine moments on that end. I’ll accept Monroe’s defense as a work in progress. It certainly beats how poorly he looked last year.
Brandon Knight, PG 33 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 2 PTS | -1Knight’s nine assists show his potential as a point guard, but don’t ignore his four turnovers. He’s not seeing the floor well on semi-fastbreaks, and that’s where many of his turnovers come. The Pistons should have an advantage when they attack before the opponent’s defense is set, but I’m not sure that’s the case. Knight and Greg Monroe have a couple halfcourt plays where they will really well together, though.
Rodney Stuckey, PG 39 MIN | 5-17 FG | 5-7 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 17 PTS | -9Stuckey had his best game of the season. He still shot 5-for-17. Hopefully, he keeps trending upward.
Jonas Jerebko, PF 25 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | -4I know everyone is excited about the possibility of Andre Drummond starting over Jason Maxiell, but if any reserve can make a case to join the starting lineup, it’s Jerebko. He’s energetic as can be, and his 3-point shooting would provide some much-needed floor spacing.
Charlie Villanueva, PF 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | 0Villanueva played for the first first time this season, entering the game with 4.4 seconds in the half for a Nuggets free throw. Villanueva and Greg Monroe lined up nearest the basket, and when Denver missed, most of the Pistons raced up court as Tayshaun Prince rebounded. Monroe made it all the way to the opposite paint by the time Detroit took its shot. Villanueva wasn’t in even the picture. He obviously didn’t return to the game.
Kyle Singler, SF 19 MIN | 3-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -2Singler’s impact was pretty muted tonight, but he still scored efficiently.
Andre Drummond, C 12 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | -8Like Maxiell, Drummond’s rebounding wasn’t up to par tonight. But Drummond should have played more. The Nuggets drove the hoop over and over, and Drummond was Detroit’s best chance of protecting the rim. Also: Made a 3-pointer!
Will Bynum, PG 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 5 PTS | -11I think Bynum is (wisely?) trying to get a new contract with the Pistons by becoming Andre Drummond’s personal alley-oop feeder. No Piston has developed a passing rapport with Drummond like Bynum has, and Bynum’s devotion to getting Drummond involved must be good for the rookie’s development. And when the Nuggets adjusted, Bynum adeptly found other open Pistons.
Kim English, SG 9 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -6He did his usual positives — shoot well on 3-pointers, play energetic defense — and cut out his occasional negative — forcing drives on offense. He might be limited, but English can fill his role very, very well.
Lawrence Frank, head coach Frank made a move in the right direction tonight with his rotation. Tayshaun Prince and Jason Maxiell played the fewest minutes among starters, and Jonas Jerebko even played more than Maxiell. But other reserves — ahem, Andre Drummond — should play more, too. What really bothered me tonight was the Pistons’ offensive strategy. The Pistons shot 50 percent on 3-pointers, and the Nuggets shot 33 percent. But the Nuggets still had an advantage in that area because they shot 30 3-pointers to the Pistons’ 12. Unlike the long jumpers Frank has apparently tolerated, 3-pointers are more efficient and do a better job of spacing the floor. Because the Nuggets shot so often from beyond the arc, they had a lot more layups and dunks than Detroit.

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Tags: Andre Drummond Brandon Knight Charlie Villanueva Greg Monroe Jason Maxiell Jonas Jerebko Kim English Kyle Singler Lawrence Frank Rodney Stuckey Tayshaun Prince Will Bynum

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