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Instant analysis: Pistons really missed Greg Monroe

The Detroit News

Instant analysis from the Pistons' 89-79 loss to the Nuggets on Wednesday in Denver:

Vincent Goodwill

The lineup to start the second quarter of the Pistons' season opener was where you noticed Greg Monroe's absence, as the second unit looked like a lock to struggle offensively.

D.J. Augustin, rookie Spencer Dinwiddie, Jonas Jerebko, Caron Butler and Joel Anthony all need anchors to get their offense for the most part, and it seemed like a recipe for disaster. But Augustin scored eight in a row to put the Pistons in position to take a six-point lead before the half.

The Pistons relied heavily on Josh Smith for offense in the first quarter, and had no hub to start the second. Also, the group surprisingly played better defense than the first unit, which had to be a prime concern of coach Stan Van Gundy.

Once starters Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Andre Drummond re-entered the game, Jonas Jerebko hit a 3, the start of an 8-0 run that gave the Pistons their largest lead of the game, 38-32.

Assuming Monroe plays with that unit for some period of time, they'll have the basis of a foundation to build upon.