Greg Monroe scored 27 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked three shots. Rodney Stuckey finally broke out of his scoring slump, scoring 17 points. Brandon Knight showed he might just be a legitimate NBA point guard. The Pistons’ reserves continued their strong play. Unfortunately for Detroit, it still wasn’t enough to snap their 3-game losing streak as they fell 109-97 to the Denver Nuggets late Tuesday night.
The key statistic that tipped this game in favor of the Nuggets was the rebounding margin, 52-35. Looking closer, the 21 offensive rebounds by Denver absolutely killed the Pistons’ efforts to limit the offensive chances for a team that likes to score quickly and often. With 30 attempts from beyond the three-point line, long rebounds were a problem for Detroit, and one that they couldn’t recover from. Nearly every time they made a run to get close or tie, the Nuggets hit shots from three-point range to negate the two-point shot the Pistons made.
Another killer stat for the Pistons is the continued shooting slumps of Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey actually scored more against Denver (17) than he had scored in the first three games combined (10), but it took him 17 shots to do so. Knight was just 1-of-6 from the field and had four turnovers, but he did find his teammates somewhat effectively with nine assists.
The final harbinger of defeat for Detroit was the points in the paint totals. Once again, the Pistons’ interior defense failed them, this time giving up 56 points to Denver players. They are ranked near the bottom of the league in that category; more playing time for Andre Drummond might help that, considering his shot-blocking ability, but he played just 12 minutes last night.
Detroit will travel back to California to take on the Sacramento Kings tonight. They have won five straight over the Kings, including four straight in Sacramento. The key matchup for this game will surely be Greg Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins, two big men forever linked through their draft positions in 2010.