New York – Micheal Curry has seen enough slow starts and Sunday snoozefests. It’s time for a lineup change.
“I’m going to do something with that lineup,” the Pistons’ coach said Sunday after his team failed to answer the bell for a noon start at Madison Square Garden. The Pistons fell behind by 29 in the second quarter and lost 104-92 to the Knicks, falling to 0-5 this season in Sunday games.
“I’ve got guys coming off the bench like Aaron Affalo and Walter Herrmann that consistently play the way we need them to play and I’ve got to find more minutes for those two guys,” Curry said.
Affalo (17 points off the bench) and Herrmann (4 points, 2 rebounds) will continue to come off the bench, as will Antonio McDyess after he re-signs with Detroit, presumably in time for the Pistons’ next game Tuesday at Washington. With the next two opponents (Wizards and Pacers) using smaller lineups, Curry will go small as well. That means Kwame Brown (scoreless in 10:24 against the Knicks) is out and either Stuckey or Amir Johnson is in.
“You don’t have to worry about me coming out and playing hard,” Stuckey said. “I try to do that every game. Well, I’m gonna do it every game.”
Curry loves Stuckey’s aggressiveness and ability to finish, and liked what he got from a lineup of Iverson, Rip Hamilton, Stuckey, Rasheed Wallace, and Tayshaun Prince in the second half, when the Pistons twice cut the 29-point deficit to five. Prince slides down from small forward to power forward in that lineup, creating mismatches for the defense.
The Pistons have always been one of the more puzzling powers in the East, but they’re even more so since trading Chauncey Billups, McDyess, and Cheikh Samb to Denver for Iverson and his $21.9 million expiring contract. Beat the Lakers and Spurs on the road and Cleveland at home, lose to the Timberwolves, Sixers, and now the Knicks.
“We get a lot of money to come out here and perform to the highest of our ability,” said Iverson, who played 40-plus minutes for the third straight game and was 6-for-18 from the field with 17 points and seven assists. “There’s no reason why you should come out here and give bad effort.”
Well, except for the fact that they’re the Pistons. Effort has always been optional, especially in December. And especially when the game is on Sunday and starts at noon.