AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) – Around the basket and on the perimeter, the Detroit Pistons were too big for the New Jersey Nets.
Rookie Greg Monroe scored a career-high 20 points and added 11 rebounds, and the Pistons snapped a four-game losing streak with a 92-82 victory over the Nets on Friday night. Tayshaun Prince added 22 points and Tracy McGrady scored 16 for Detroit, which led by 13 early in the third quarter after beginning the second half on a 14-5 run.
New Jersey had difficulty matching up with the 6-foot-9 Prince and the 6-8 McGrady, and the 6-foot-11 Monroe finished with his sixth double-double.
“He’s such a refreshing player to be around,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “It’s pretty impressive to see him continue to grow.”
Anthony Morrow scored 22 points for New Jersey, which lost its 12th straight road game and dropped to 3-24 away from home on the season. Brook Lopez scored 16 but was outplayed by Monroe.
“We weren’t locked in defensively again tonight,” New Jersey coach Avery Johnson said. “McGrady had his way with us, and Tayshaun was really hurting us in the post. We have to learn how to do a better job defending and we have to get better at rebounding. You can’t win games like this.”
Prince shot 9 of 18, scoring on a variety of moves inside and outside. He also had seven rebounds and four assists.
McGrady was just as active against a New Jersey team with a starting backcourt that included two players 6-5 or under. He shot 8 of 20 and had eight rebounds and four assists.
Monroe went 10 of 14, although he missed all five of his free-throw attempts.
“My teammates find me and that’s basically it,” he said. “I’m just trying to get myself into position to get easy baskets and they’re making great passes.”
Detroit led 48-44 after shooting 55 percent from the field in the first half and never trailed in the second.
Rodney Stuckey (right shoulder contusion) sat out his fourth straight game for the Pistons, who left Richard Hamilton off their active roster in what Kuester called an internal decision. Hamilton was benched last month and hasn’t played since Jan. 10, but with him inactive, the Pistons had only 10 healthy players Friday.
“I think it’s just a slap in the face,” Detroit center Ben Wallace said. “What’s he going to do now? Of course he’s not going to play. If you call him and ask him to play now — it’s personal. Now he’s not going to play. I think you’re going to have to trade him now.”
New Jersey went on a 10-2 run in the third quarter to cut the lead to 64-59, but Detroit scored eight of the game’s next 10 points and led by nine heading into the fourth.
“I didn’t do my job tonight,” Lopez said. “I was late getting back a few times, and there were a couple times that we were supposed to be doubling Tracy McGrady and I didn’t get over there in time.”
Monroe made an acrobatic tip-in while being fouled to make it 84-74 with 4:07 remaining in the game, and McGrady made a shot from about 15 feet to put the Pistons ahead by a dozen.
Morrow played well for New Jersey in what was his ninth game back — and first start — after missing time with a pulled hamstring. Stephen Graham, who had started the previous 23 games, didn’t play.
Wallace started his first game since Jan. 10. This was only his fifth appearance since then, as he’s battled ankle problems and also left the team to tend to a family matter.
Monroe and McGrady combined for nine of Detroit’s 14 offensive rebounds, and the Pistons turned the ball over only seven times.
NOTES: The Nets won their first two meetings with Detroit this season, both in New Jersey. … Lopez played in his 215th consecutive game, one short of tying Mike Gminski and Buck Williams for fourth on New Jersey’s career list. … Before the game, Johnson was fined $25,000 for improper conduct toward an official during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. … Wallace scored four points for Detroit, his first points since Jan. 8.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)