Yuck. After Wednesday night, I can honestly say that the only thing worse than the lockout has been the actual season. The Bobcats were flayed by the Pistons—mostly due to Greg Monroe, who had a trillion rebounds, 750 billion of which were offensive. Games against teams like Detroit are probably the most wretched of all, because I don’t think there’s a big talent gap between them and us. After two games, though, they’ve beaten us by a combined 32 points. Moreover, from top-to-bottom they’ve shown far more skill and energy (even Charlie Villanueva’s 5-year/$35M contract outperforms Tyrus Thomas’s 5-year/$40M deal).
But the centerpiece has been Monroe. I really love watching Monroe play. In fact, he’s #3 on my All-Monroe list, ahead of Marilyn and behind only our 5th President (who’s underrated, by the way—how many Presidents have an era associated with them that’s known as the “Era of Good Feelings”? Anyone think this current era is going to be called anything close to that?), and Monroe from Too Close For Comfort, who pioneered the way for wacky, quasi-gay sit-com neighbors. But still, there’s no excuse for what happened on Wednesday, in which Monroe’s 8 offensive rebounds (part of 18 total for Detroit) gave the Pistons more second chances than Chris Brown. The Bobcats tried to hide behind the excuse that Bismack Biyombo’s injury took away their interior presence, but that conveniently ignores the fact that Monroe already had 4 boards in the 9 minutes that Biyombo did play.
And needless to say, the slack from Biyombo’s absence was NOT picked up by Thomas. To be fair, it wasn’t picked up by anyone else, either. In fact, Byron Mullens should have just bought a ticket, considering how much he stood staring at Monroe and Jason Maxiell grabbing rebounds right next to him. DJ White and Reggie Williams came in and shot well, but their participation was more like hospice care as they tried to make the Bobcats’ inevitable death as comfortable as possible.
When the Pistons weren’t putting back their own misses, Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight were driving to the hoop with ease. 16 of their 35 non-FT points were in the paint. Oh, and this wasn’t because Charlotte was afraid of the three-ball and overplaying the wings, because Detroit went just 1-for-10 from distance. No, it was because our guards couldn’t have stuck with the Pistons backcourt if they were handcuffed together in a slapstick buddy comedy. It was simply an open lane to the cup all night long for Detroit, and the only thing missing was blinking runway lights on both sides of the key and lines of chorus girls doing the can-can. I’m actually surprised that the Pistons shot only 50% from the floor, considering how many of their baskets were from point-blank.
One staggeringly atrocious sequence typified the game’s basketball-as-torture-porn feel. With about 4:40 to go in the second quarter, Jason Maxiell missed a jumper, but Detroit grabbed the offensive board. Then Ben Wallace missed a layup, but Maxiell grabbed the board and got fouled. He missed both free throws, but Tayshaun Prince made it three offensive boards in a row for the Pistons, and this time he hit the jumper himself. This was part of an 8-0 run that stretched the Pistons’ lead to 14, turning a reasonably close game into yet another double-digit murder-suicide.
Ay-yi-yi. Well, San Antonio’s next on the firing squad; I’ll see you on the river walk of shame…