Defending Pistons guards not easy for Curry, Ellis
AUBURN HILLS, MICH. -- The Warriors backcourt of point guard Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis is clearly the team's strength offensively. But coach Keith Smart said before the season the two 6-foot-3, 185-pounders would be challenged defensively.
In Sunday's 102-97 loss to Detroit, they had their hands full.
The Pistons backcourt tandem -- point guard Rodney Stuckey (6-5, 205) and veteran off guard Richard Hamilton (6-7, 193) -- had their way much of the night. The two combined for 48 points on 17 for 32 shooting with 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
"When they're hitting shots, they're tough," Curry said. "Richard, he was knocking down shots with a hand in his face. And Stuckey dominates the ball. He's really strong at getting to the basket. He had a great game."
Curry and Ellis totaled 34 points on 14 for 35 shooting with eight assists and 10 rebounds. Curry -- limited by a tender right ankle and restrictive brace he said he can't wait to get out of -- was clearly the weakest of the four. Not only was his shot not falling, but he was in foul trouble, limiting him to 29 minutes.
Ellis, for his part, wound up settling for a lot of jumpers (though he did have success getting to the basket). He was 0 for 5 from 3-point range.
Defensively, both players had their struggles. Stuckey took advantage of Curry in the post, while Ellis helped out on several occasions and left Hamilton open.
Hamilton had been hobbled with a sore right foot, which caused him to miss two games. But Pistons coach John Kuester decided to start Hamilton over guard Ben Gordon, who had been starting.
"I knew they had some guys who were pros and who would be ready for it tonight," Smart said. "And, of course, Richard Hamilton did that tonight. He is a guy who's been around, and he did it last time we were here as well."
-- MARCUS THOMPSON II