Going into Monday's game against the Atlanta Hawks, the Pistons knew they were going to be without Will Bynum. The NBA announced on Sunday that the backup point guard would be suspended one game for punching Tyler Hansbrough in the stomach in the fourth quarter of the Pistons' Saturday night loss to the Indiana Pacers. Brandon Knight warmed up with the team, but the knee injury that had kept Knight out of weekend series with Indiana also ended up keeping him out Monday night. The Pistons once crowded guard stable was depleted as Rodney Stuckey took over the starting shooting guard duties alongside Jose Calderon.
Not enough players, and flat out, just not enough. The Pistons fell at home 114-103 to the Atlanta Hawks, after trailing by as many as 24 points in the second half.
Before the game began, much was made of the Al Horford
, Greg Monroe
match up. Monroe had an impressive 12 points, six rebounds and four assists at the half, but his numbers dropped off in the second half as he finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Horford's numbers however, were consistently impressive.
Ending the first half with 13 points and 12 rebounds, Horford continued his double-double tear into the second half. Horford ended with 23 points and 22 rebounds on a 10-13 shooting night that had Monroe following him all over the floor. For a player that is nearly locked to the low post and paint, Monroe could learn a lot from Horford's shot chart. Take a look (ESPN.com)
There's makes at the rim, but what's most impressive about Horford's shot selection are the makes outside the lane around the 15-20 foot jumper range. While Monroe has developed into one of the better low post, passing big men in the league, he's still lacking the range to draw his defender away from the rim. If Monroe can gain the mid-range game that Horford has, then he'll be more successful at driving the lane with a head fake. His swooping hook shots will start coming much easier, and against much less traffic.
A bright spot for the Pistons in Monday night's loss was the play of Rodney Stuckey
. Starting at the two while also handling the backup point guard duties, Stuckey reassumed the role of an aggressive slasher as he outmuscled his way to a team-high 22 points. With both Knight and Bynum out, Stuckey had the ball in his hands more than he's been allowed nearly all year. With all but one of his makes coming in the lane, Stuckey was pushing the tempo off the defensive rebound or simply taking his man to the rim. For those complaining about Stuckey's increased three-point attempts this season, Stuckey did not attempt a single deep ball.
The Pistons are now off until Wednesday night when they'll travel to Washington D.C. to take on the Wizards. The two teams will tip it off at 7:30pm on Wednesday night.
Tags: Al Horford
, Detroit Pistons
, Greg Monroe
, Rodney Stuckey