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Monday, December 21, 2009

Pistons notes - Dec. 21

AUBURN HILLS — What a difference a week can make. Just ask Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey.

Stuckey earned the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week award for the games played between Dec. 7-13. He averaged 27 points and six assists and helped the Pistons pull within one game of .500 thanks a to a five-game win streak.

The past week did not go as well for Stuckey and the Pistons.

Detroit lost three-straight on a road trip to Houston, New Orleans and Oklahoma City, and then suffered an embarrassing, 93-81, loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at home Sunday to fall to 11-16.

“We’re just losing, that’s pretty much it,” Stuckey said after Sunday’s loss. “I know one thing, a lot of us don’t like losing. We just got to find a way to win a game.

“I think everybody was happy when we were on the five-game winning streak and now we’re on a (four)-game losing streak,” Stuckey added. “We’ll be fine. We know we’re down three of our top scorers and stuff like that. Hopefully we’ll get through that soon. It’s no excuse that we’re coming out and losing.”

Stuckey had a frustrating start to Sunday’s game. He picked up his second foul with 7:25 left in the first quarter and left the game with his team up 9-4.

He didn’t return until the 10:36 mark in the second quarter with his team already trailing by 13, 36-23.

Stuckey scored five quick points within three minutes of re-entering the game, but was held scoreless in the half from there.

He scored six points in a 10-2 Pistons run to start the fourth quarter, but it appeared to be too little too late.

“We could probably play a little bit harder and things like that,” Stuckey said. “The games that we are losing, some of them we were in and we just gave up. We gave those games up. I think overall we’ll be fine. The most important thing is we all stick together. We (have to) stick together and just grow from this experience. We just go a lot of guys out now, but we’re fighting though.”

With Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince out with injuries, a large portion of the Pistons’ scoring load has been placed on Stuckey, who is averaging 19.7 points on the season and 4.5 assists.

Some have questioned if he can strike the right balance between scoring and getting his teammates involved, but Stuckey insisted it’s not hard.

“It’s not hard, I’ve been a scorer ... since I been playing basketball,” Stuckey said. “There is just times where I gotta look to my teammates. I just got to pick and choose. If I have a lane take it, but if not I got to give it up.”

Healing up
The Pistons don’t have a lot of time to heal their injuries, with one day off before a back-to-back consisting of a game at Charlotte on Tuesday and a game at home against Toronto on Wednesday.

Gordon (ankle) was questionable for Sunday, but missed his seventh straight game and ninth in the last 13. Gordon remains day-to-day and his status remains up in the air for Tuesday.

Hamilton missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury. Hamilton returned for two games from a severe right ankle sprain that caused him to miss 21 games before injuring his hamstring against Houston on Dec. 15. Hamilton said Saturday he hopes to return sometime this week.

There is still no timetable for the return of Prince, who has missed the last 24 games with a ruptured disc in his back.

Will Bynum and Charlie Villanueva are playing through injuries. Bynum has played two straight games after missing three with sprains in both of his ankles. Villanueva continues to wear a mask to protect the broken nose he suffered back on Nov. 29 and is also battling plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Snowed in
There was no Los Angeles Lakers beat writers in Detroit for the Lakers-Pistons game after they got stuck in New Jersey because of the winter storm that hit the East Coast.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson didn’t seem to miss them though.

“Too bad, so sorry,” Jackson said with a laugh. “They will have to write about it from New York.”


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