A couple games back we squeaked one out in DC against the Wiz - we put on a better show for the home fans. Jerebko continues to be bad with 5 fouls in 12 minutes but BK and Monroe showed up to combine for 47 and the rookie starters Drummond and English combined for 24. Odom gave us 36 minutes off the bench and went for 9 and 7.
Game #24 DETROIT 102, Utah 82
Back to back wins in the D as we get 27 with 6 boards and 5 dimes from Stuckey off the bench and 22 from Monroe. Jerebko just plain awful with 3 points and I think he needs to go back to the bench but we've won two straight. Is now a good time to tinker with that? It helped that Favors is still out with a broken toe but he wasn't playing much before - now there's a guy I would love to have here. I decided what the hell and called up the Jazz - they want Monroe at least for Favors so scratch that.
Game #25 Detroit 77, ATLANTA 105
What did Santa bring us on Christmas Eve? A beat down! Surprisingly enough we held Smith and Horford to a combined 19 points but got lit up Teague, Harris and Lou Williams. Well that and shooting 38% from the floor. Odom and Maxiell both came out injured. Max not so bad but Odom is going to miss time with a sprained toe which means I guess we give Tayshaun another chance.
Game #26 DETROIT 97, Chicago 115
A huge divisional game for us at home and we get out scored by 15 in the final quarter while watching Taj Gibson go for 26 and 9 off the bench. Monroe was unreal with 26 and 14, 5 steals and 3 blocks but we gave up 66 points in the paint on the way to a 56% shooting night for the Bulls. Odom would have made a difference in this one.
Game #27 DETROIT 108, Oklahoma City 120
Our track record against the stars of the league has not been good and this one was no different. Durant torched us for 47 while Westbrook put in a mere 28 with 17 assists. Same story for us. Monroe beasts with 37 and 16 and we get one good contribution from someone else and that's it. This time its Stuckey with 23 off the bench. Andre Drummond is now on the side of a milk carton with 10 points and 6 boards...in his last three games combined and now a strained ab to boot.
Game #28 Detroit 101, MILWAUKEE 108
This loss takes us to 13-15. Ellis, Jennings and Ilyasova combine for 77 points and we shoot 43% again from the floor. Jerebko finally came alive off the bench for 14 points and in the most unsurprising league news ever Kevin Durant is both player of the week and player of the month. At least we contributed to a win of sorts and the Magic are coming to town so all hope is not lost.
Game #29 DETROIT 113, Orlando 91
We kick off 2013 with a new year's day home win over one of the worst teams in the league but at this point I'll take anything. Afflalo scores 23 for Orlando which I curse my predecessor for but SuperGreg goes for 38 and 15 with nominal contributions from Knight, Stuckey and Jerebko. Prince put in 9 and has at least been passable as a starter the last four.
Game #30 DETROIT 109, Brooklyn 86
Finally a game where we led start to finish and had a balanced attack. Monroe had 19 but Stuckey, Knight, Maggette, English and Jerebko all hit double figures and played great defense holding the Nets to 33% shooting inlcuding 16/44 from Deron, Brook and Crash. OKC has been ringing the phone off the hook trying to get Tayshaun. Might look into that.
Game #31 DETROIT 101, Sacramento 94
Lamar Odom returned to the lineup tonight and played very well with 14 and 8 and 3 blocks off the bench along with Jonas' 14 points and 9 boards off the bench. Monroe and BK played a good game while Tayshaun just can't get anything going. Cousins went off for 31 and both teams built double digit leads at one point so I feel pretty lucky to come out of that one with a W.
Game #32 Detroit 66, LOS ANGELES (C) 95
You would think if you hold your opponent to 3 of 20 from 3 point range you might be doing a pretty good job but if you match that with 3 of 18 and give them 18 extra free throws you lose by 30. I thought maybe Lamar would step up in a return to LA but he was nowhere to be found. Caron Butler was traded to the Spurs after the game for Stephen Jackson.
Around the league...
As noted the Spurs and Clips pulled off a little swap there while Doug Collins is the only coach in the league who could run a 24-10 team and still have players hate him. Nick Young, Thad Young and Kwame Brown all have complained in the media about playing time recently. I don't want Nick or Kwame but I'd take Thad Young in a heartbeat.
32 games in we hold the final playoff spot in the East by a couple games over Brooklyn. Things started off so promising but at this point I'd rather be in the lottery than get spanked by Miami but don't worry commissioner - you will not have to impose any sanctions on us. We're playing our best guys - they're just not very good.
We Pull The Trigger
I mentioned that OKC had been blowing up our phones trying to send Thabo Sefolosha our way for Tayshaun Prince. I decided to give them a call and see what we could do building around that idea. Obviously I knew I wasn't going to get anything substantial from them - Prince isn't that good and he's got two more years left at 7 million plus. There were two guys however that were not being used much that both had short contracts and potential use for our team : Eric Maynor and Nick Collison. Now those names aren't going to sell any tickets but for us Maynor would give us a competent backup PG to Knight unlike Will Bynum and Collison is a terrific team defender as is Sefolosha - something we desperately need. OKC wasn't going to give up all that for Tayshaun so I threw in Will Bynum to replace Maynor and a 2nd rounder we picked up from Houston in a draft day deal and boom - so long Tayshaun.
The trade put us at 16 guys so my mission was simple - find anyone who we could convince to take Austin Daye. Who would do that? Cleveland will! I convinced the Cavs they could not pass up on a young guy so full of potential and they were willing to hand over a 2nd rounder for the former 1st round pick and just like that the four guys I wanted most to get rid of : Villanueva, Prince, Daye and Bynum were gone and had netted us Lamar Odom, Sefolosha, Maynor and Nick Collison.
I actually like this team now - for now we're going to start Knight/English/Sefolosha/Monroe/Drummond. Drummond has not played well at all recently but he needs the PT to develop and we've got a solid second team of Maynor/Stuckey/Jerebko/Odom/Collison while Maxiell and Maggette are out of the rotation. It does leave Kyle Singler out of the rotation for now too but his time will come and best of all our contract situation looks great. Heading into next year we've only got about 33 million on the books for 11 players which can allow us to spend some money in free agency or use Corey Maggette and Jason Maxiell as 16 million in expiring money for someone signed to a long term contract on a team who wants to rebuild.
Up next we head West to take on Portland, Denver and Utah then home against the Bobcats - maybe we'll finally beat them.