Greg Monroe will return to the starting lineup Wednesday after missing 11 games with a strained knee. The fact the Pistons have played well in his absence, winning seven of 11 games, isn't lost on him, but with five games left in the season before testing unrestricted free agency, he's determined to try finishing on a high note. From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:
"You just try to continue doing the things we're doing already," Monroe said. "Obviously they've been playing well. So probably just move the ball and play with the energy they've been playing with.
"Just work myself back in and let the game come to me. That's something I've always tried to do. I've been at every game, every practice so I've seen the things they've been doing. I just going to try to continue to do those things."
A big reason for Detroit's success of late has been the play of Reggie Jackson -- and it remains to be seen if the Pistons can sustain their success with both Jackson and Monroe in the lineup given how much Jackson struggled immediately after arriving at the trade deadline. Jackson, for what it's worth, owns up to the fact that he simply wasn't playing very well before, and doesn't attribute Moose's absence to the team's recent success. From Perry Farrell of the Free Press:
"I just didn't play well during that stretch so I don't know if it would've helped if he (Monroe) were off he court," Jackson said. "I think we're all starting to play well and are more confident, making more shots on the perimeter."
Jackson said Monroe had a great practice and coach Stan Van Gundy had a plan for how he'd use Monroe.
"We went back to some of his stuff," Van Gundy said. "What changes is the spacing on the floor. Obviously, we don't have a lot of time to get it together again, so we'll just play and try to get it better as we go over the last five games. For me, it's not an evaluation of those guys as far as can it work. It's learn as we go and, if we can convince Greg to come back, we may need to tweak and do differently to make it better for both of them."
Jackson has played in 22 games for the Pistons since arriving at the deadline. In his first 11 before Monroe's injury, he averaged just 14.3 points, 6.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 30.8 minutes per game, shooting 37.1 percent from the field and just 27 percent from 3-point range. In his most recent 11 games with Monroe out, Jackson has averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 assists, 5.7 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game, shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from 3-point range.
Farrell also reports that Van Gundy anticipates using Monroe for five to six minutes at the start of the first three quarters before making a decision on the final quarter.
Can Monroe and Jackson succeed at the same time? Now your thoughts.