Double digit leads in the first half don't mean a whole lot in the NBA if you can't keep the foot on the gas and go for the jugular and other relevant clichés. Stressing the mental aspect of the game lately due to an inability to hang on to leads, the Pistons can attest to that as much as anyone in the last week. For the second time in five nights, the Pistons held exactly a 17-point lead at some point in the first half, only to blow it all and walk away losers.
Detroit started the game hitting their first four baskets, looking like the team that was refreshed and not playing its fourth game in five nights. Up 21-4 seven minutes into the game, the Pistons were pummeled the next 17 minutes, 44-21.
In the second half, which was much more evenly played, the Pistons came closest to regaining the lead around five minutes into the fourth quarter when they pulled within two, but the Nuggets responded with six quick points to go back up eight, and the Pistons never got closer than four there on out.
Detroit's horrible second quarter had a lot to do with Greg Monroe (maybe he's not back) and Rodney Stuckey going scoreless and turning the ball over three times apiece. Monroe didn't have a basket that wasn't a free throw until five minutes into the third and Stuckey scored all of his points (17) in the second half, as well. Each finished with five turnovers and shot a combined 6 for 21 (five of those makes coming from Stuckey). It was ugly.
Brandon Knight was the Pistons' leading scorer with 20 points on 8 for 16 shooting. Knight added five assists and made a handful of other passes that led to free throws, while turning it over only once. That all said, he was largely outplayed by the Nuggets point guards. Ty Lawson and Andre Miller combined to score 37 points on 13 for 21 shooting with 14 assists and just three turnovers (all by Miller).
Jason Maxiell and Andre Drummond were the main bright spots for the Pistons. Maxiell had six blocks in the first half and finished with 18 points and six rebounds. Drummond had 11 rebounds, two steals, a block and seven points in 21-plus minutes. The Bull saw zero minutes with the Moose. I guess if you mess with the Bull, you don't get the horns.
The Pistons (7-17) are off now until Friday, when they take on the newly minted Brooklyn Nets.
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