Despite a triple-double effort by Pistons’ big man Greg Monroe – the team’s first since Chauncey Billups had one in 2004 – Detroit was unable to pick up their first win of the 2012 season on Wednesday night, falling 105-103 to the 1-3 Sacramento Kings.
Monroe showed his passing acumen, dishing out 11 assists to go with his 21 points and 12 rebounds. It was the first Pistons triple-double by a center that was achieved with assists. His performance against Sacramento follows up a 27-point, 10-rebound double-double on Tuesday, yet it couldn’t keep the Pistons’ losses from mounting.
Point guard Brandon Knight scored his highest point total of the season, hitting five three-pointers on his way to 21 points. His five makes accounted for eight of the team’s made shots from beyond the three-point line, and he was the only Piston to make more than one. His backcourt mate, Rodney Stuckey, was nearly non-existent on offense, scoring just five points.
Monroe’s Sacramento counterpart, DeMarcus Cousins, scored 21 points and corralled 11 rebounds to lead the Kings. His point guard, Tyreke Evans, added 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Pistons gave up 56 points in the paint – their third straight game giving up 50-plus in that category – and allowed the Kings to grab 14 offensive rebounds. They also turned over the ball 17 times, leading to 19 points off the turnovers.
All in all, this was the team’s best chance at winning their first game of the season. Sacramento was 1-3 and had lost five straight to the Pistons. Too often, Detroit let an offensive player from the home team get just enough separation to make a shot. They also continue to lack composure in late-game situations, something that Monroe or Knight will need to develop.
Detroit travels to Oklahoma City to take on the defending Western Conference champions Thunder on Friday night. They’re coming off a 97-91 victory over the Central Division-leading Bulls, a game that took a 7-0 run late in the fourth quarter for the Thunder to finish off Chicago.