The Pistons didn’t know what hit them. Greg Monroe (15) and Brandon Knight (12) did their best, but the other three starters were overwhelmed. By the fourth quarter both teams had used every available body and were going through the motions.
MEM @ MIL: It’s the Year of the Point Guard in fantasy hoops, and Mike Conley may fly under the radar. He seems to be taking (and making) more threes so far this year, and with his STL, that makes him an elite PG. The Grizzlies gave Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen the night off, and still won. They started the unheralded Jerome Jordan at C, and he outplayed Samuel Dalembert. At SG, Wayne Ellington filled in capably. PF Marreese Speights continues to impress, with 16 PTS and 11 REB in a spot start.
As usual, the Bucks relied heavily on Brandon Jennings (19 points including 5-6 from deep) and Monta Ellis (20 PTS) but as mentioned, Dalembert was a cipher. Tobias Harris and Mike Dunleavy split the SF time evenly but neither one grabbed a single rebound. Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench behind Larry Sanders, but that looks more like a preseason experiment than a definite change.
BOS @ BRK: The Celtics dominated the first quarter, Rajon Rondo outplaying Deron Williams. They dominated the fourth when the scrubs were in. Seven Boston players scored in double figures; Paul Pierce got his 18 in only 22 minutes. At PF, Jared Sullinger (12 PTS) got another start ahead of Brandon Bass, who left early with a knee bruise that does not sound serious. Bass is a team-first guy who will embrace any role; I’m expecting Sully to get a quick hook some nights, so there will be minutes for both. The second unit, a weakness last season, is vastly improved. Jason Terry has been a great sixth man forever and Jeff Green would be starting on several other teams.
The Nets can’t win ‘em all. Joe Johnson was 1-9 in the first half and finished 4-14; D-Will shot 2-8 and turned it over six times. A routine might off for C.J. Watson meant rookie Tyshawn Taylor was the backup PG. MarShon Brooks returned from his foot injury and will back up Johnson, making minutes hard to come by. Once again, Andray Blatche played well off the bench, with 8 PTS and 9 REB in 18 minutes.