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Tuesday, March 11, 2014
PISTONS NOTES: Stuckey breaks out of slump in Pistons' win
Sporting a newly shaved head, Rodney Stuckey was able to break out of his recent slump, finishing with 23 points, four assists and three rebounds to help the Pistons defeat the Kings 99-89 Tuesday.
“Being able to get him to play the way he’s capable of playing it’s always a plus for this team,” Pistons forward Josh Smith said. “He came in, got a new haircut so I think his swag was turned up a little bit tonight. In order for us to be successful we need him to be able to play like the Rodney Stuckey that we know he’s capable of.”
Prior to Tuesday, Stuckey averaged 4.3 points, one assist and one rebound in his last three, all Pistons losses. Against the Kings Stuckey came into the game in attack mode. He was 5 for 7 from the filed in the first half, hitting all six of his free throw attempts to finish with 16 in the half.
“Second quarter, Rodney played probably as well as he’s played in quite a while,” Pistons coach John Loyer said. “I’ve seen Rodney do that in many games and he’s more the capable of doing it. He just attacked down hill, got to the free-throw line and really put them back on their heels.”
Loyer felt Stuckey’s aggressive play helped inspire the rest of the team.
“I thought when Stuck came in we started attacking down hill,” Loyer said. “I thought we settled for a few jump shots early. It was kind of contagious. Rodney got in the lane anytime he really wanted. Put his head down, didn’t settle for jump shots. When you see somebody doing that, the next second, third guy, it’s a little easier for them to do it.”
Big ‘D’ from Drummond
Andre Drummond had a tough defensive assignment going against the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins, but the second-year center was up to the task, holding Cousins to 13 points on 5 for 15 shooting.
Drummond finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocks in 33 minutes.
“Sometimes it isn’t about the numbers, it’s how you play,” Loyer said. “I thought it was one of Andre’s better games. I thought he did a much better job in the post. I thought his defense was good. We were flicking at it. We had good digs from our guards. I thought Andre’s intent to guard in the post and Greg (Monroe’s) intent to guard in the post was very, very good. To control a player like Cousins, you have to do a good job and they both did.”
The Pistons (25-39) trail the Hawks (27-35) by three games for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Smith said the Pistons goal is to still make the playoffs and he intends to leave it all on the court in the final 18 games.
“We’re trying to play for something,” Smith said. “I think we’re two or three games out being able to accomplish our No. 1 goal and that was make it to the postseason. I have to be able to contribute. I don’t want to sit at home in April and think about what I could have done. I just want to try to leave it all out there on the floor.”