Pistons Weekly: Road kill

It was a week to forget for the Detroit Pistons.

After dropping the first two games of their six-game road trip last week, the Pistons couldn’t get off the schneid in the other four games this week.

Against winless Denver, the Pistons had better field-goal, 3-point and free-throw percentages. But the Nuggets outrebounded them, 52-35, which included 21 offensive rebounds to the Pistons’ eight.

“We knew coming into the game (rebounding) was one of their strengths,” coach Lawrence Frank told reporters in Denver. “We have to do a better job of controlling the boards.”

For the most part this season, the Pistons have had at least one bad quarter in every game, which puts them behind the eight-ball.

Against the Sacramento Kings, it was the second quarter. The Kings outscored them, 29-19, and never lost the lead after that.

The Kings added insult to injury as Thomas Robinson elbowed Jonas Jerebko in the neck in the fourth quarter, earning a flagrant foul and an ejection. The league gave Robinson a two-game suspension for the incident, which didn’t seem to rattle Jerebko at the time.

“It’s in the heat of the game, stuff happens,” Jerebko told reporters in Sacramento. “Nothing more than that.”

The Pistons actually led the Oklahoma City Thunder after the first quarter, 19-18, Friday night. But once again, the second quarter was their undoing. The Thunder outscored them, 31-23.

The Pistons allowed the Thunder to shoot 53.5 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range.

“Bottom line, they were ready to play and we weren’t,” Frank told reporters in Oklahoma City. “I didn’t recognize our team. We didn’t come out with the approach that we normally do. We’ve got to have that fire and come out and compete.”

The Rockets had already beaten the Pistons at the Palace in the home opener and did just as well in Houston against them.

The Pistons had two bad scoring quarters, managing just 15 points in the first and 16 in the third as they mercifully ended the week and the road trip 0-7 — their worst start to a season since 1980-81.

“The way we are playing right now is unacceptable,” Tayshaun Prince told reporters in Houston. “Guys should be upset right now.”


Nov. 6: Denver Nuggets 109, PISTONS 97. Once again, the Pistons were generous guests, helping the Nuggets to their first win of the season. The good news was that Rodney Stuckey ended his 1-for-23 season-opening skid to score 17 points. Greg Monroe had a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds.

Nov. 7: Sacramento Kings 105, PISTONS 103. Close, but no cigar. Despite outscoring the Kings in the fourth quarter, the Pistons couldn’t complete the rally. Monroe was excellent once again with his first career triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and a career-best 11 assists.

Nov. 9: Oklahoma City Thunder 105, PISTONS 94. The Pistons actually caught the Thunder on an off night but couldn’t take advantage of it. Rookie Andre Drummond scored a career high 22 points on 8-for-10 shooting to lead the team.

Nov. 10: Houston Rockets 96, PISTONS 82. The Pistons held the Rockets to 40.2 percent shooting, out-rebounded them by three and held James Harden to 20 points but still lost by 14. Although the Pistons cut the lead to four points in the third, the Rockets responded with an 11-2 run to end the threat.


Monroe: Someone has to be hot on this team, right? Monroe is that guy. He had three double-doubles and his first career triple-double in the four games.

Brandon Knight: Knight didn’t have a great overall week but he did have 21 points against the Kings, 11 points and six assists against the Thunder and 16 points and seven assists against the Rockets.


Stuckey: Stuckey did have two double-figure games but his shooting percentage continues to be below average. For the week, he shot 33 percent from the field. He also did not get to the free-throw line against the Kings or the Rockets.

Everyone, including the coaches: When your team does not have a victory seven games into the season, there’s plenty of blame to go around.


Monday: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder at the Palace, 7:30 p.m.: The Pistons have a chance to set an inauspicious new team record if they lose to the Thunder. Falling to 0-8 would be the worst start to a season in team history. Against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Pistons will have their work cut out for them.

Wednesday: at the Philadelphia 76ers, 7 p.m.: The Pistons will visit old friend Doug Collins, who has the 76ers off to a 4-2 start, including a three-game winning streak. Jrue Holliday leads the team with 18.2 points and 9.5 assists per game.

Friday: vs. Orlando Magic at the Palace, 7:30 p.m.: The Dwight Howard-less Magic won their first two games of the season before dropping the next four. They host the New York Knicks before coming to Detroit. Former Piston Arron Afflalo leads the Magic with 16.7 points per game.

Sunday: vs. Boston Celtics at the Palace, 7:30 p.m.: The Celtics are muddling along at 3-3, fourth in the Atlantic Division. Although they no longer have Ray Allen, they still have Paul Pierce, who leads them in scoring with 20.8 points per game. He’s followed by Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. Also on the Celtics this season are former Pistons Darko Milicic and Chris Wilcox. Milicic has played five minutes in just one game.