Greg Monroe scored 27 points and added 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Rodney Stuckey came out of his horrendous, three-game scoring slump by going for 17 points. The bench combined for 38 points, including nine, seven and six point nights from rookies Kyle Singler, Andre Drummond and Kim English respectively. Still, when the final whistle blew the Pistons had one more "L" in the loss column and had found themselves handing another winless opponent their first victory.
It's too early to call the Pistons a losing-streak remedy, but it's hard to avoid using the label after falling to the struggling Denver Nuggets. After giving up 16 offensive rebounds to the Lakers on Sunday, the hope was that the Pistons would hold the Nuggets' smaller, less-talented front court to a lower number on the offensive boards; keeping Denver's second chance point total down in the process. Instead, Denver's big men dominated the Pistons on the the offensive boards, totaling 21 offensive rebounds to the Pistons' eight. The Pistons allowed the Nuggets more than 25 second-chance points and the Nuggets simply outworked the Pistons. Most notably, the Pistons couldn't seem to keep a body on Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried whose 15 points all came in the paint and on second-chance put backs.
In the backcourt, the Pistons struggled defensively to contain Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson. Having his way with Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey, Lawson was penetrating the lane and taking advantage of the Pistons' help defense. When the Pistons converged on him Lawson added to his nine assist night, kicking the ball outside for wide open three-pointers and midrange jumpers. If the defensive help was late, Lawson had no problem adding to his 15 point scoring night by taking it to the rim for a double clutch lay-up or spotting up for a high percentage jump shot.
It would be easy to blame the Nuggets' three-point clinic for the loss (the Nuggets hit 10 of them), but the game was lost much closer to the rim. Games are won and lost in the paint, and whether or not high percentage shots can be defended. The Pistons gave up 56 points in the paint to Los Angeles on Sunday, and on Tuesday night they gave up the same 56 total to Denver. Not scoring enough wasn't the reason for the Pistons' fourth straight loss. Right now, the Pistons cannot defend the paint nor are they forcing their opponents into poor shot selections. If something happens twice it's often considered a habit. Giving up 56 points in the paint twice is a bad habit and it's one the Pistons will have to break quickly if they want to their losing skid to end.
Tags: Basketball, Denver, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Greg Monroe, Kenneth Faried, NBA, Nuggets, Ty Lawson
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