|Trying to avoid another|
We decided the best strategy would be to try and not let Melo score 40 on us so we vowed to double team him all game long in addition to throwing a bunch of zone defense out there. Odom will come off the bench although I expect a lot of minutes for him because Drummond is playing with a bruised sternum so I don't know how much he will play.
We got off to a good start. Kim English threw down two big dunks on offense and defensively Jerebko was keeping Melo in check with some help from the double team. Drummond didn't last long before tiring quickly so with about 7 minutes left in the 1st Lamar Odom made his Pistons debut. Odom played a strong quarter finishing with 4 points and 3 rebounds and Melo got 9, but a quiet 9, and we trailed 29-24.
The second wasn't going much better and we quickly fell behind by 10 on a Kidd triple and two Melo free throws. Jonas was expending so much energy on defense that he had nothing going on offense and Drummond was still hurting on the bench. Even worse Lamar suddenly looked lethargic out there - not scoring, not rebounding, not playing good D and I figured this one had the ability to run off the rails right there. With about 6 minutes to go Lawrence Frank made a bold decision. Drummond agreed to suck it up and go back in but he would sub in for Jonas leaving Odom on the floor to play the 3 and guard Melo. Something clicked right there for Lamar - maybe the fact that he was on the floor already more in this game than in any game for LA this year, maybe the fact that we traded for him and wanted him to succeed or maybe the fact that suddenly he was being trusted with a big challenge - suddenly he was useful to someone. Lamar came alive - he grabbed a couple boards, buried two threes and most importantly held Melo totally scoreless (including a block on him) for the quarter. We reached the half down only one 51-50.
Fired up by the second quarter we came out... and proceeded to give up back to back Raymond Felton triples and then a slew of buckets to Melo and before you knew it this thing was over. Down 15 Frank decided to try anything he could to shake things up and inserted Prince into the game for the first time. On the first trip down Tayshaun launched an awful three - nothing like sitting for 30 minutes of game time and then just launching one up. He was immediately replaced by Maxiell who managed to enter the game and get T'd up for saying something to the ref before we even brought the ball up the floor! You can imagine how things went from there. NY won the quarter 32-16.
The final quarter fared no better - it was a slop fest as both teams sort of just slugged their way to the end. We shot 43% from the field, 53% from the line, had 8 shots blocked and had the ball stolen 11 times on our way to 18 turnovers (14 of which came from Knight, Stuckey, English and Jerebko). You can't be -8 in turnovers and shoot like that on the road to a good team.
On the bright side Odom had a fine debut - 13 and 10 in 35 minutes and Monroe played ok with 17 and 6 to go with 3 steals and 2 blocks but the bottom line is unless we stop these second half swoons where the games just go to hell we're going to be in a very bad spot of being competitive for the final playoff spot and then getting waxed in round one instead of just going to the lottery.
Player of the Game
Down Goes Kobe
Bad news for Lakers fans as two minutes into their matchup against the Bucks, Kobe drove and got upended landing awkwardly on his hand. Diagnosis...broken hand. Have we finally met an injury that will keep Kobe sidelined? The Lakers were the best team in the West as of the injury so its unlikely losing Bryant for a couple of months will cause them to drop out of the playoff picture.
|On the ten year|
The Greg Monroe show pulled into the nation's capital as Monroe went off for 33 points in a tight win. In fact Monroe was the only Pistons player to record double digits on the night. I guess you could spin the other 56 points scored as a balanced attack - I prefer to call it a garbage performance by the rest of the squad though. English with 9, BK, Jonas and Stuck with 8 and Lamar with 7 and 6 boards in 25 minutes off the bench.
Wall led the Wiz with 19, Ariza 16 and rookie Beal added 13.
Player of the Game : Greg Monroe
|Remeber the opener?|
A -11 differential in rebounding and 21-9 Indy advantage in second chance points did us in. Well that and Danny Granger 37 points. Yeah that hurt too.
Monroe continues to beast with 26 and 12, Stuckey had 18 off the bench, English with 17. Drummond blocked four shots but watched Roy Hibbert rack up 15 boards and Brandon Knight shoots 2/18. 2 FOR 18! You would think after the first 1 for 9 or so you might hang it up for the night but not good old BK.
Player of the Game : Danny Granger
|We can't lose to these|
guys again, can we?
The Bobcats were on an 11 game losing streak coming into this one so why not be the team that breaks the streak? The Bobcats have 5 wins now on the season - 2 of them against us.
The fact that we never led? That we were down 22 at one point? That Ramon Sessions and Gerald Henderson scored over 50 points combined? Monroe had 22 and 7, Stuckey 20 off the bench and Drummond chipped in a dozen
Player of the Game : Ramon Sessions
After the debacle in Charlotte a reporter emails me and wants to know what I think about Tayshaun Prince. Probably not the best time to ask me that question especially since Jonas Jerebko has fallen off the face of the earth. I probably made a poor decision to be critical of Prince and word has it that I basically hurt his feelings and he's lost all confidence now which I guess to me doesn't matter - how much confidence do you need to go through a layup line and sit in a chair for 48 minutes now? Apparently I opened Pandora's Box though because the next day I got a follow up email in my box asking if Prince is on the trade block. You would think these media guys have something better to do like dissect why we can't beat freaking Charlotte but I guess not. I admit he is and I'm sure exactly zero people are shocked by that.
In other news in a battle of Western Conference powers Kevin Durant drops 55 on the Clippers in a 108-100 OKC win. Durant is 3rd in the league in scoring trailing LeBron and Melo by about 1 PPG. Let's take a look at the conference standings.
1. Miami 20-4
2. Philly 19-5
3. New York 19-6
4. Atlanta 16-8
5. Boston 15-10
6. DETROIT 11-11
7. Milwaukee 13-13
8. Chicago 11-13
9. Washington 10-12
10. Brooklyn 9-14
11. Cleveland 9-15
12. Indiana 8-16
13. Toronto 6-18
14. Orlando 5-20
15. Charlotte 5-21
1. LA Clippers 16-8
2. LA Lakers 16-8
3. San Antonio 15-8
4. Minnesota 15-9
5. Oklahoma City 16-10
6. Memphis 14-11
7. Houston 13-12
8. Golden State 13-12
9. Denver 12-13
10. Dallas 11-12
11. Portland 12-14
12. Utah 12-14
13. Sacramento 10-16
14. New Orleans 7-14
15. Phoenix 7-18
No surprise that the bottom of the East blows while most of the West is decent. Denver has had Lawson and Faried out with injuries and Dallas lost Kaman for the year with a torn ACL. The Jazz have been without Favors for a couple weeks and the Nets have had Humphries on the shelf for about two weeks with a broken finger and his 17 and 12 are greatly missed obviously.
As for us I think we need some more lineup shakeups. Jerebko scored 18 or more off the bench 5 times in the first 16 games this season. He hasn't done it once while being a starter. He's posted efforts of 16, 12, 4, 8, 11 and 5. He definitely seemed more comfortable in a bench role. English has done well with the starters and Stuckey has scored well off the bench so I think that switch can stay. Maybe with Odom here we move him into the starting five now and let Jonas go back to being a super sub. Whatever the case we need to find our way and fast - either that or we need to play for the lottery. Got to be one of the two.