Greg Monroe. Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
Starting shooting guard Rodney Stuckey was slowed by a toe injury and the other guards couldn't step up as the Detroit Pistons lost 87-83 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.
Stuckey, who has scored more than 20 points per game since the All-Star break seemed hobbled all game after landing awkwardly in the first quarter. Unfortunately, fellow guards Brandon Knight and Ben Gordon were not able to compensate, combining for 6-25 shooting and nine turnovers.
Yet, the Pistons were always in the game, even maintaining a lead deep into the fourth quarter. However, like many recent losses, their opponent found another gear in crunch time that the Pistons couldn't match. Or I should say, that not ALL the Pistons could match. Because Greg Monroe went from having a solid game to having a spectacular game in the fourth quarter and overtime. Moose grabbed a ton of big rebounds, hit tough shots and made all the right decisions as he tried to carry his team to a victory.
I just wish he got more involved a lot earlier in the game. He finished with 23 points (including 11-13 from the free-throw line) and 15 rebounds but only shot the ball 11 times. With everyone else on the roster (save for a solid game from hometown Tayshaun Prince), the Pistons should have been force feeding Monroe in the post and letting him go to work.
But even Monroe's heroics were no match for Chris Paul. Paul carved up the Pistons in the first quarter, tallying (i think) seven assists. But the Pistons made a run with him on the bench and were able to quiet down his production for the rest of the game. Until the fourth quarter, that is when he scored six key points. And overtime when he added nine more. By the end, Paul had 19 points, nine rebounds, 15 assists, four steals and a victory.
And the Pistons had another loss on their road trip (now 1-3) and one of their two best players looks like he might either miss some time or be playing without some of his needed explosiveness.