By Rob Mahoney
The Clippers completely eviscerated the Pistons throughout their Sunday night matchup in Los Angeles. The Clips scored first, built a double-digit lead in the opening quarter, led by 18 points at halftime and only further inflated their advantage over the final two frames (not to mention this Dunk of the Year favorite). By night's end, the Pistons were the proud new owners of a 33-point drubbing -- their fifth straight loss and second 30-point embarrassment in a week's time.
Detroit's Greg Monroe, who was forced to endure almost 33 minutes on the court of Sunday's demolition, was not pleased. From Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk:
“Maybe guys don’t care, I don’t know,” Monroe said after the game. “Something has to change, this can’t continue. If you don’t want to play just say it. This has got to stop, this is unacceptable.
“If you don’t want to play, you should say something. This is unacceptable. This is going on too long. If you don’t want to be on the court, if you don’t want to give 100 percent on the court, just don’t play.”
Interim coach Brian Hill was right there with him [Lawrence Frank is away from the team dealing with his wife’s illness.]
“It was an embarrassment for us as a coaching staff and certainly an embarrassment for them as players,” Hill said.
Monroe has a right to be frustrated: As bad a team as Detroit is, they're hardly this bad. Their roster is lacking enough to warrant a blowout, but the Pistons embarrassingly never rallied back once the game started to go downhill, and packed it in once the Clippers began their highlight show. That in itself may not seem like a matter of any consequence, but it's on occasions like these where a lottery team's emerging culture -- even in big losses -- comes into play. Blowouts happen, even to the league's better teams. But what Monroe speaks of is an understandable concern regarding the mentality of a young team for whom losing could easily become routine. Surviving the drain of a long, unsuccessful season requires a roster with a short collective memory, but it's important that a team's core players don't let that disregard for losing create a sense of complacency in their play. Monroe, wisely, wants to make sure that doesn't happen. So he drew a line, made his voice heard, and called out his teammates in the hopes of seeing something change. It's nothing revolutionary, but could perhaps serve as a well-needed nudge for a team in a tailspin.