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The Pistons beat the New Orleans Hornets 89-87 Saturday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills despite losing Brandon Knight within the first five minutes of the game. Knight, who only the night before put up a career high 26 points, went to the locker room after  an elbow under the basket from former Piston DaJuan Summers.  Knight suffered a broken nose and didn’t return, but  should be ready with his mask for the Pistons Tuesday practice.

Key Points:

  • Jason Maxiell all about the hustle again.  Maxiell in another start, finished the game with 10 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot. No shot was more important on the night than Jason’s putback jam on a Greg Monroe miss late in the game to help the Pistons lock in the victory. As much ups and downs as Jason has had he’s shown a lot these last few games and I have always called him the Putback King.
Pistons Jason Maxiell the Putback King

Photo/Getty Images editing Need4Sheed.com

  • This Maxiell dunk brought the house down. Via NBA.com

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Lawrence Frank “Jason Maxiell embodied what the effort was all about, his tenacity, his effort, his toughness – I don’t know what (Monroe) finished with (in) offensive rebounds. I guess he had six. I would bet that three of them were the result of Max keeping balls alive and then to get that big dunk – momentum play. Max brings a toughness, an intensity, a tenacity about him. He played with an edge.”

  • The Hornets Trevor Ariza couldn’t miss Saturday night leading all scorers with 26 on 9-for-12 shooting.
  • Jonas Jerebko was headbutted by Jason Smith and it looked almost intentional, that may have been the reason why Jonas put his arm out in retaliation after  he got hit.  Smith went crashing to the floor on his own.  And depending on the replay you saw, Jonas’s arm didn’t touch him.
  • Hustle all night from Jonas, who was 5-for-10 for 11 points, with 5 boards in just 18 minutes on the floor.
  • Austin Day just1-for-5 for 4 points and 3 boards in 19 plus minutes on the floor.
  • Add another check mark to Greg Monroe’s double-double tally as Moose poured in 24 points with 16 boards, 2 assists and a steal. Did you envision this much progress in Greg’s game this season?
Greg Monroe against the Hornets

Photo/Ap editing Need4Sheed.com

  • Yes this stat is correct…54 points in the paint for Detroit.
  • Thirteen turnover on the night for Detroit, five of them came from Monroe.
  • This one went back and forth.  The Pistons trailed by three at the half took the first double-digit lead either way by going on an 8-0 run early in the fourth.

Greg Monroe: “You know Brandon’s a big part of what we do, but Walker D. (Russell) and Rodney (Stuckey) moving back to the point more, definitely stepped up tonight and everybody else that got into the game. Everybody stepped up tonight. It was a tough night, but everybody had a crazy amount of energy for the schedule that we just went through and I have to applaud my teammates, they did a great job tonight.”

  • Solid night for Rodney Stuckey, who really stepped up his game as soon as Brandon went to the locker room.  Rodney took it to the hole all night finishing with 17 points on 5-for-13 shooting with 3 assists, as steal and just one turnover.
  • Walker Russell showed just how important he can be for this Pistons team.  Russell with 4 assists, 9 points and 2 steals in 32 minutes.  Have they started selling his jerseys at the Palace yet?

Walker Russell on n Brandon Knight going out and him stepping in: “Usually I’m the guy that was always playing, but I’ve been playing more and more lately, so when coach called my number, he had the confidence in me and I had the confidence to step up and play.”

  • What you can see in the last two Pistons performances is that they still have issues holding on to a lead, but they are learning.
  • Highlights, including Brandon’s injury via NBA.com

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  • The Pistons can sure use their extended vacation, they next play on Wednesday in New Jersey.

A lot of moves have happened recently in the NBA, so let’s catch up on where our favorite former Pistons have landed:

  • Chauncey Billups was waived via the amnesty clause from the New York Knicks, and was claimed by the LA Clippers
  • Chris Wilcox signed a contract with the Boston Celtics
  • Richard Hamilton was waived via contract buyout from the Detroit Pistons, and was signed to a free agent deal by the Chicago Bulls
  • DaJuan Summers signed a contract with the New Orleans Hornets
  • Tracy McGrady has signed with the Atlanta Hawks
  • John Kuester was hired by the LA Lakers to be an Assistant Coach to Head Coach Mike Brown

A lot of you didn’t like what I had to say about Richard Hamilton’s time in Detroit, as a member of the Pistons.  Allow me to clarify:

  • I don’t blame Hamilton for the Pistons problems.
  • I don’t think Hamilton was the ring leader of last year’s buffoonery, but he was a willing participant.
  • Hamilton is one of the greatest Pistons in the history of the franchise.
  • Aside from Chauncey Billups, there is not a guy on the team I would trust more with a game winning shot than Hamilton.
  • It is not Hamilton’s problem he signed a virtually untradeable contract, he was offered the contract.
  • You can’t blame Hamilton for thinking he can still play at a high level, he was only 32 last year and is in great shape.

I believe Rip has the chance to be the “Rasheed Wallace” type of acquisition for last season’s #1 seed Chicago Bulls.  He will bring a veteran presence who has been through the wars, and could be a calming influence on Derrick Rose which will only make him better.  So many times last year, Rose was forced into being the go-to guy on a team with questionable backcourt support.  Kyle Korver and Keith Bogans are not as good as Rip Hamilton, who I think will give the team 25-30 quality minutes and is someone who should step right in and claim a starting spot based on ability alone.

The terms of the deal Rip signed with Chicago are 3 years 15 million (2 years fully guaranteed, 3rd year partially guaranteed).

I believe this deal puts Chicago over the top, and in direct competition with the Miami Heat for this season’s championship.  Even though I can’t go back and re-record the podcast from a couple of weeks ago where I proclaimed the Lakers to be the next champions, I will say that I believe the Bulls will be this year’s NBA champion now that some of the pieces have fallen (Chris Paul to Clippers, Dwight Howard staying in Orlando for now).

It’s clear by the comments on my previous Richard Hamilton post that the good lot of you will miss Rip even though the last few years have been underwhelming.  I wouldn’t be against seeing the Bulls or Clippers do well this season with the additions of Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups collectively.

In Chauncey Billups the LA Clippers acquired a guy who would’ve started and served as a mentor for Eric Bledsoe had they not been able to acquire Chris Paul.  Now Billups can start at shooting guard and backup Paul at the point until the offseason when the Clippers are able to acquire a pure shooting guard.

Chris Wilcox isn’t really guaranteed a spot in the rotation for the Boston Celtics, honestly he seems a little out of place on that team.  With the Celtics aging, and if Wilcox makes the team, he should play most of his minutes on the 3rd game of the back to back to backs and in the 2nd game of back to backs to keep KG fresh.  With Jeff Green missing the season with a heart aneurysm, Wilcox could step in with 15-20 minutes a night possibly at the backup PF and C positions depending on how Jermaine O’Neal holds up.

DaJuan Summers was never really given a shot with the Pistons, either by his overall lack of talent or with the coaches that were trying to keep their jobs by not giving him or Austin Daye playing time.  It’s hard to say that Summers wasn’t given a chance, because Jonas Jerebko stepped up and played important minutes as a rookie and would’ve played more minutes last year had he remained healthy.  Summers, known for his NBA-ready physique, has shown flashes in garbage time with the Pistons.  If he makes the New Orleans Hornets, he will be fighting for playing time with Quincy Pondexter and Al Farouq-Aminu behind returning starter Trevor Ariza.  Considering both Pondexter and Aminu are former 1st round picks, the Hornets would likely opt to keep their potential around than Summers, who couldn’t see playing time in a season where the main backup to the SF position on the Pistons was out for the season last year.

Tracy McGrady has signed a contract with the Atlanta Hawks, where he will serve as Joe Johnson’s primary backup with the departure of Jamal Crawford.  McGrady, who made the most of his time with the Pistons (while also being labeled a team cancer by Mr. Wieme), will be able to show the league that he is healthy and still can play important minutes in the league  on the playoff contending Hawks team.

McGrady spent time on the Pistons last season as the starting point guard, and first guard off the bench for the Pistons.  It was his first successful season since knee injuries began to de-rail his career with the Houston Rockets, and in his short stint with the New York Knicks where his expiring contract helped the Knicks line themselves up for the “Summer of 2010″ Free Agent class.

And John Kuester… LOL who cares?

The Pistons vs. The Rockets

The 11-12 Pistons are in Texas to take on the 13-10 Houston Rockets. The Rockets, who are playing well of late just came off a 101-88 loss at Toronto on Sunday, it was only the team’s second defeat in seven games.

Lucky for Detroit Trevor Ariza, the team’s second-leading scorer, will miss this game after being suspended for swinging his arm at Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan following a steal.

“No Gordon or Bynum tonight, Kuester says. That probably means no tomorrow, either. Maybe Friday in OKC for Gordon, at least? We’ll see.” Via @DETPistons

The Scouting Report via Pistons.com

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UPDATE: McGrady activated, will play for the first time this season against Detroit.

Tip is at 8:30 pm EST and will be televised on Fox Sports Detroit. For the radio broadcast tune into 97.1 The Ticket or follow the action on NBA.com.

NEED4SHEED GAME CHAT