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Pistons report: Getting inside

The Sports Xchange
 
Roster · Notes, quotes · Getting inside
 

John Kuester probably will be looking for another job after the season, but the Pistons' head coach seems determined to create confusion to the bitter end.

The latest surprise came minutes before the Pistons opened a three-game road trip in San Antonio on Wednesday. He started Tracy McGrady at point guard in place of Rodney Stuckey, who had averaged 20.8 points and 8.0 assists the previous four games after replacing McGrady at that spot.

"We're looking on a continual basis to mix and match all the time," Kuester said. "We had a little talk to (Stuckey) in regards to coming off the bench and seeing how he responds to that. Tracy's worked real hard in practice, and so has Rodney."

McGrady was pleasantly surprised by his sudden return to the lineup. He had not played the previous five games, including three straight in which he was healthy and simply rode the bench. He responded with a solid all-around effort, supplying 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

"I thought Tracy was outstanding," Kuester said. "His leadership and his ability to control the game was outstanding."

McGrady had talked in practice Monday about his bewilderment over his demotion. He had emerged as a team's best playmaker but was seemingly punished for his alleged involvement in the shoot-around boycott at Philadelphia. McGrady said he would take that snub into consideration when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.

"I left my family back in Houston to come here and dedicate myself to get back healthy and help this team," he said. "I've already thought about it. I want to play."

Stuckey was adversely affected by the switch. He played just 14 minutes and had three points and one assist. Will Bynum, who had been the backup point guard, did not play for the first time since Jan. 12.

Who will start at the point Friday against Oklahoma City? It's anybody's guess.

"We're always searching, it seems," Kuester said. "We're always looking to see who's going to give us the most out of certain spots in certain situations."

SPURS 111, PISTONS 104: San Antonio made its first 14 field-goal attempts and shot 80 percent from the field in the first half Wednesday. The Pistons pulled within five during the fourth quarter but couldn't overcome their early defensive breakdowns or Spurs point guard Tony Parker (23 points, seven assists).

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