Greg Monroe will need to continue his strong play against the Bobcats. - USA TODAY Sports
After failing to stop the streaking Miami Heat, the Detroit Pistons still haven't won a game in March, but that streak could end on Saturday in Charlotte when the Pistons face the (tanking?) Bobcats.
The Pistons played well in Miami on Friday, for half of the game anyway, and for most of the third quarter, the Pistons were still in it. It really was a tale of two halves.
Jose Calderon and Greg Monroe were particularly effective in the first half. Moose put up 14 points, snagged 7 boards, and dished out 4 assists, on his way to finishing with 23, 15, and 6 (also 1 steal to 3 turnovers). Calderon poured in 16 points and dished out 7 assists of his own. However, Jose fizzled in the second half, making one shot and closed the game with seven turnovers. Kyle Singler was another bright spot, with 18 points on 14 shots and an impressive 8 boards. Rodney Stuckey was the fourth Piston in double digits, but it was so inefficient it barely counts.
Miami closed the third on a 6-0 run, however, and never looked back en route to a 103-89 victory. Ultimately, the second half was once again the Pistons' demise. After scoring 54 points in the first half, Detroit's offense sputtered its way to merely 35 second-half points and 22 (!) turnovers overall.
LeBron James was Lebron James. He contributed 1.45 points for each possession that he used. In simpler terms, 29 points, 8 boards, 8 assists, 2 steals - and oh yeah he was 12-15 from the field. He's the MVP, and it isn't close. The Pistons did a respectable job on Dwyane Wade, holding him to 19 points on 17 shots. But Miami was too much overall. Five Heat players found their way into double digits, and Chris Anderson just missed with 9 points in only 15 minutes.
The sum total is that Detroit has now dropped 10 consecutive games and still hasn't won a game this month. According to Pistons.com, a loss tonight would be the first time since March-April 2010, which really doesn't help anything. It just reminds us how terrible the past 3 years have been for Pistons fans.
Charlotte remains the worst team in basketball, but it has managed to win consecutive games against Toronto and Washington. Wait, what? Once again, the Charlotte Bobcats manage to fail at everything, including tanking.
Keys to the Game
Feed the Moose: Because he's the best player on the team, and because he has played very well against the Bobcats.
Contain Byron Mullens and Gerald Henderson: Yes, seriously. Both guys have been on fire recently, and Mullens has been particularly instrumental in the two-game winning streak (if you're the Bobcats, you get to count two games as a streak).
Close the game: The Pistons came out of the gate quickly against the Heat and sustained their good play for about 2.75 quarters. The Pistons must find a way to be effective for 48 minutes, and tonight is as good a night as any.
Question of the Game
How's your bracket looking so far?