|Greg Monroe, PF 42 MIN | 13-22 FG | 2-7 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 28 PTS | +6
Monroe worked really hard on offense. Generating 18 shots in the restricted area — he made 12, converting 6.8 percentage points better than league average — is not easy, but Monroe kept forcing his way into that high-efficiency area both with and without the ball. That outweighed defensive laziness, though his defense and free-throw shooting drop his grade.
|Josh Smith, SF 32 MIN | 5-15 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -8
Smith made a few big shots, but that doesn’t negate an overall underwhelming shooting night. Smith took too many jumpers, of course, but he also shot just 4-for-9 in the paint. He often didn’t get all the way to the rim, settling for hook shots a little further out in the paint. Smith had a couple shots blocked, and that might have spooked him. If that were the case, he can’t let that happen next time. Although his hook looks nice when he makes it, Smith is capable of getting all the way to the rim more often, and his layups are much more effective than his hooks. His defense doesn’t save him this time.
|Andre Drummond, C 35 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -13
Drummond is so good, he can have a quiet double-double. He didn’t make enough noise defensively, and that hurt the Pistons. They need more from him on that end, but games like this show why they can’t keep him off the floor.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 46 MIN | 10-23 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 6 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 25 PTS | -2
Jennings was 6-for-8, including 4-of-5 on 3-pointers, into the third quarter. After that, he went 4-for-15 and 0-for-5 on 3-pointers. That’s the problem with Jennings: He’s rarely as hot as he thinks he is. Even though the Pistons had team-wide issues keeping guards from penetrating on the pick-and-roll, Jennings did a particularly horrendous job of staying in front of Jrue Holiday. At least he adjusted by gambling more, and he gambled effectively, even poking the ball loose a couple times after his man blew by him. Also consider that a few of Jennings’ late misses came with the clock forcing his hand, and overall, this was a very strong performance.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 25 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8
Caldwell-Pope’s defense was good enough to create his only made shot, a layup after a steal, but his effectiveness on the defensive end fell well short of great. His effort was there, but the Pelicans’ screens and ball movement had him lost at times — though it’s quite possible his teammates did a poor job of communicating on those plays. Within the offense, he took a couple comfortable shots and a couple uncomfortable shots and missed all four.
|Josh Harrellson, PF 12 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | 0
Harrellson was all over the place, making the little deflections that don’t show up in the box score. He was the Pistons’ best defensive big man, but he was also a non-entity offensively. That’s better than being an offensive negative, but it would help if he didn’t disappear on that end.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1
Small sample, but the Pelicans killed the Pistons on the glass while Jerebko got his lone run in the second quarter, and Jerebko was at least somewhat at fault, even though he grabbed one rebound with a New Orleans player on his back. Jerebko never had a chance to do anything offensively. This was was nearly an incomplete.
|Kyle Singler, SF 29 MIN | 1-5 FG | 6-8 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -7
Singler cut very well, and his teammates found him, often leading to New Orleans fouls. Singler also looked really, really good as a rim protector. His three blocks were no cheapies.
|Peyton Siva, PG 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -3
Siva defended better than any other Pistons guard, but his defense was not overly impressive. It probably didn’t just as many minutes as he got, considering the offense remains very poor when he’s running it.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 33 MIN | 7-16 FG | 6-6 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +9
Stuckey just looks so confident with the ball in his hands. His range beyond 13 feet or so is shaky, but he gets it done inside that with a variety of moves — shots and passes.
The Pistons’ defense was a mess. Confusion on pick-and-rolls, rotation issues when the Pelicans moved the ball, losing track of Ryan Anderson, getting outrun even in non-obvious transition opportunities. I’m not sure how much of that to pin on Cheeks, but he likely deserves at least some of the blame. On the plus side, Cheeks allocated minutes in line with production.
- Teams: Detroit Pistons (10-12) at New Orleans Pelicans (9-10)
- Date: December 11, 2013
- Time: 8 p.m.
- Television: Fox Sports Detroit
What to look for
Ryan Schwan of Bourbon Street Shots wrote a fantastic post about the Pelicans’ defense. The gist: They’re good to average at defense when it comes to forcing turnovers, securing rebounds and keeping the opponent off the free-throw line.
But they’re really bad at forcing bad shots and then contesting them.
Sometimes, bad shots are a necessity. When the shot-clock gets low, it’s not always possible to generate a good look. In those situations, Jennings – and to a lesser degree, Smith – are fine candidates to create a better bad shot. There’s value in that.
But those two take plenty of bad shots when they’re not necessary.
If the season trends Schwan outlined hold true tonight – and Maurice Cheeks implements an offensive plan that does even a reasonably good job of creating good shots – the Pistons should be stuck with few bad shots. That puts the onus on Jennings and Smith to choose their shots wisely.
Tonight presents an interesting mental challenge for them, and whether they meet it could go a long in whether Detroit wins.
Read about the Pelicans
As you can see, the Pistons are washing away the smelly stench of last night’s loss with a relaxing afternoon of… foot massage. They’re most likely not the only team to indulge in a little rest-and-relaxation as a group. It’s a looong season, and you’re with basically the same 15 guys that entire time — why not enjoy yourselves in some exotic ways?
I’m still not sure how this builds chemistry, though. Mostly because Kyle Singler is sound asleep across from Villanueva, and it looks like everyone else — specifically Brandon Jennings — is locked into a hardcore game of Angry Birds or Words With Friends.
But hey, this is next-level team bonding, so whatever floats your boat, guys. Plus, maybe those foot massages will get the Pistons’ feet moving more on defense next time out, too?
|Greg Monroe, PF 20 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -14Monroe shot efficiently, but who cares? He didn’t bully his way inside nearly enough times and he did a horrendous job on Love. I expect Love to score on anyone, but getting beat on the glass 16-2 is unacceptable.|
|Josh Smith, SF 34 MIN | 7-14 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -18Smith took 7 of his shots in the paint. And he hit 5 of them. The other 7 attempts were stupid, especially the 20-foot 2-pointers (even though he made one of them).
But Smith also bailed out two of three abysmal passes by Jennings–and another from Billups–that would have been turnovers if they’d been thrown to a player only slightly less alert, hustling or athletic.
|Andre Drummond, C 29 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -19Drummond didn’t play a terrible game, but he is easily the best player on the Pistons. They need more from you, Dre.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 31 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-5 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 20 PTS | -19See Josh Smith above for why Jennings had “only” six turnovers. Early in the season, Jennings was putting up an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio but couldn’t shoot. Now his shots are dropping but he can’t stop giving the ball away.
You’re in Motown, take a cue from the obnoxious Ford commercials, Jennings. Accurate passing AND shooting is better than accurate passing OR shooting.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 33 MIN | 7-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -22As is normally the case, Caldwell-Pope’s grade is only slightly based on his box score. Tonight, he was making tons of huge plays that required hustle and getting himself to the right place in time:
Monroe dribbled the ball off his foot and KCP saved it from going out of bounds, instead draining a corner 3. Smith bobbled the ball away on the fast break; the Wolves would have recovered it, but KCP was right behind and slammed it home. Billups tried to throw the ball away but Pope bailed him out and two passes later, Harrellson got an easy deuce.Biggest of all was his block on Love’s fast break dunk attempt. He wasn’t even in the screen when Love started going up, but Caldwell-Pope pinned the ball on the glass, recovered it, and sent it the other way for a Smith dunk and a quick four point swing.
|Tony Mitchell, PF 10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -4Mitchell played well in garbage time.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF 13 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -6Harrellson didn’t do a great job on Minnesota’s big men but he ended up guarding wings a couple times and did a really good job of that. Martin got him in the air on a pump fake, but Josh landed right in front of him so K-Mart couldn’t pull a Pierce and get cheap free throws, but was instead trapped in the corner with a massive body impeding his movement. Then Harrellson drew a fast break charge from Cunningham that felt very important at the time, before the Wolves’ lead ballooned.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 21 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 5 PTS | -9Jerebko was decent but unremarkable. It’s too bad his one spectacular play (a vicious putback dunk) was called off for offensive goaltending.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -9Villanueva’s time on the floor was fairly irrelevant, but he did hit a 3-pointer on just two tries and he was making an effort on D, which was half-encouraging and half-depressing.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 6 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5Datome is gradually building up a big enough sample size to conclude that perhaps he’s not actually a good shooter. He is now 4-23 (17 percent) from beyond the arc and 13-43 (30 percent) overall.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 11 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Singler might as well have not played in this one.|
|Peyton Siva, PG 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -6Siva got the inverse of his regular numbers. Coming into this game, he had a 1:2 AST:TO ratio. Tonight, it was 2:1, which isn’t great, but is a lot better.|
|Chauncey Billups, SG 18 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -4Don’t be fooled by Billups’ zero turnovers, that is thanks to some incredibly athletic saves by Smith and KCP. But apart from a couple wild passes, Billups played about to expectations. His poor shooting is probably more due to decline and the fact that he’s always shot a low percentage than it is due to rust.|
I don’t know what Cheeks could have done differently in this one. Detroit just got torched by Love. But he certainly didn’t make a positive impact.
Two Things We Saw
- Love put up an insane line of 26 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 assists–in just 30 minutes. The Wolves were pounding the Pistons sufficiently that he never got on the court in the 4th quarter.Only Kevin Garnett (26-15-5 in 29 mins) and Brad Daugherty (30-15-5 in 29 mins) have managed to put up a 25-15-5 in so few minutes.
- The Pistons were less aggressive than their opponent at going to the hole. Given their relative lack of shooting prowess, that can’t happen. Minnesota ended up with 33 free throws to Detroit’s 16. And then the Pistons exacerbated the problem by missing half of them.
- Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves (9-11) at Detroit Pistons (10-11)
- Date: December 10, 2013
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FS Detroit Plus
What to look for
Flirting with mediocrity is a dangerous proposition. It creates hope, expectations and gives the impression that better times are ahead. The Detroit Pistons know this all too well.
Detroit secured four consecutive victories and got themselves to an even .500 record. Reality then quickly removed its glove, slapped the Pistons in the face and challenged them to a duel.
The name of that duel: a vengeful Miami Heat. The South Beach team was seeking to avenge an earlier loss at the hands of the Pistons and was successful in the quest. LeBron James and company routed Mo Cheeks’ unit at the Palace of Auburn Hills and barely left traces of the elusive .500 record in the wreckage.
Still, if we look hard enough, the remnants are still there. The Pistons currently occupy the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference standings and furthermore, they might just be the fourth-best squad in the east.
Mind you, it’s difficult to come to this conclusion when inter-conference play takes place, which is exactly the case tonight. Detroit will host a Minnesota Timberwolves team that has a similar record, but plays against superior competition in the Western Conference.
Per ESPN.com’s Hollinger Rankings, the Wolves’ strength of schedule is superior to the Pistons’, a clear indication that Minnesota has played against stiffer opponents so far in the season.
In addition, their net scoring differential is better than Detroit’s, which again makes you believe they might finish 2013-14 with a better record than tonight’s hosts. Indeed, Rick Adelman’s troops are on the cusp of being above average and perhaps even good.
Their statistical profile reveals that they are within range of making the top-10 rankings in both offensive and defensive efficiency. The defense is a work in progress that fluctuates on some level, but their ability to score the ball is interesting to say the least.
Kevin Love makes that offense incredibly lethal given his unique set of skills. He is a true power forward and yet, he is a stretch-four player. He battles underneath the basket for boards and scores around the rim, but he also stretches the floor with his 3-point stroke.
This allows Adelman to use Love in ways that compromise defenses. Hand offs, pick-and-pops and spot-ups are ways that the coaching staff utilize the former UCLA Bruin. His shooting and passing make him a nightmare matchup given that opponents have to find the right blend of defensive attention to direct at him.
If the focus is too great, his teammates will get a multitude of looks because Adelman’s scheme creates a lot of misdirection where one assumes the play is set up for Love but actually is not.
The forward will occasionally serve as a decoy or as the setup man in certain sets specifically because all eyes are on him. This will stretch out the Pistons’ defense tonight because Greg Monroe will likely get the job of slowing down Love.
That will take him away from the rim and give Nikola Pekovic low-post opportunities against Andre Drummond. This is one of the many ways the Wolves score in the paint, an area where they are quite effective.
It’s worth noting that the Pistons lead the league in paint scoring and thus, this contest will probably be played right at the rim for both teams. The difference tonight might be long-range shooting, a stat where both teams are virtually identical so far this season.
Read about the Timberwolves
Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.
1. Is Andre Drummond or Kevin Love more valuable to his team right now?
Dan Feldman, PistonPowered: Love. It’s close, but he gets the edge for two reasons. First and simply, he’s better. Like Drummond, Love is incredibly efficient, but Love has a broader skillset that makes him more effective. Secondly, the Pistons — with Greg Monroe and Josh Smith — have better alternative big men. Love makes the Timberwolves’ offense way better, an effect Drummond hasn’t had on either side of the ball this season.
Tim Thielke, PistonPowered: Drummond, simply because the Pistons have control over him for a lot longer. Kevin Love and Wolves’ management have been rumored to be at odds ever since they drew up his current contract. There’s a good chance he’ll be wearing another uniform soon.
Bill Bohl, A Wolf Among Wolves: Love. He is the center of the Timberwolves’ universe — everything Minnesota does, especially on the offensive end, flows through him. He’s 5th in the NBA in touches per game, the only non-point guard in the top 15 of that category. His outlet passing has gotten a lot of attention early on, but it’s his half court facilitation – from the elbow, from the wings, kicking it out of the post to open shooters – that makes the offense tick. Because opponents have to respect his outside range, the paint is a more open place for Nikola Pekovic to post up and Rubio, Barea and Martin to drive.
2. Would you rather have Drummond or Love for the rest of their careers?
Dan Feldman: Drummond. Love is barely better right now, and he’s five years older. I expect Love to maintain this elite level for several more years, but Drummond is already on Love’s tier and still has plenty of untapped potential. Drummond very well could pass Love in 2014, and even if he never does, Drummond’s youth — and prolonged excellence, even if falls just short’s of Love’s during their primes — gives him the edge.
Tim Thielke: Love. Drummond has more upside, but given his incompetence at the stripe, he is also more exploitable. Ninety-five percent of the time, give me ceiling over floor. But when you’re talking about superstars, you gotta take the sure thing.
Bill Bohl: Without trying to sound too much like a homer (since I live in Minneapolis and write about the Timberwolves), I’d take Love over Drummond for the rest of their respective careers. When you combine Love’s scoring (23.7 per game) and his assists (4.1 per game, nearly double his career average), the sixth-year man is responsible for 31% of the Wolves’ offense. Few power forwards in the league history have possessed his unique skill set – he rebounds (13.7 per game in his career), he posts up, and he can hit perimeter shots (36% on nearly 4 threes per game over the past four seasons).
3. With Minnesota struggling and Detroit finding a little bit of a groove lately to come to similar records, which of the two stars has a better supporting cast?
Dan Feldman: Love. Drummond has more talent around around him, but Love is joined by better-fitting talent. By the end of the season, the answer could change if the Pistons continue developing their chemistry. The tiebreaker for now? Coaching. I’d take Rick Adelman over Maurice Cheeks.
Tim Thielke: The Pistons have more talent on the team, but the Wolves have much better fit. Given that the wording asks about the better supporting cast rather than the better teammates, I’ll have to go with Love. Also, the Wolves’ record is harder to come by than a similar record against predominantly Leastern Conference opponents.
Bill Bohl: How do I put this? I think Detroit’s overall talent is superior to Minnesota’s, but the construction of the Timberwolves as a team makes a lot more sense than the Pistons. In a vacuum, the talents of Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and Greg Monroe outpace Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekvoic; but in a five-on-five setting, I much prefer how the pieces fit in Minnesota. Rubio facilitates, Martin can play the two-man game on the wings, and Pekovic is the perfect high-low partner for Love. Not to mention Corey Brewer’s ability to leak out and cut off the ball, which has led to some easy baskets for the Wolves.
Miami trounces Detroit, Pistons (somehow, at 10-11) still hold fourth-best record in Eastern Conference
|Greg Monroe, PF 29 MIN | 3-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -15Monroe played hard but was largely neutralized offensively by the Heat. He has to throw his weight around more against smaller guys. His strip as LeBron went hard to the rim was a thing of beauty though.|
|Josh Smith, SF 31 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -16Smith wasn’t taking bad shots. He wasn’t hitting enough of his good ones, but this would represent progress if he somehow maintains it. His defense left a lot to be desired, but Smith isn’t a perimeter defender. That’s an adjustment Cheeks has to make. Drummond is good at corralling smaller guys, Smith isn’t. Switch who’s guarding whom.|
|Andre Drummond, C 36 MIN | 8-11 FG | 3-6 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | -12I saw Drummond grabbing boards all over the place and playing fantastic help defense. I had no idea, until I looked at the box score, that he had 19 points. Drummond is a beast!|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 34 MIN | 6-14 FG | 6-7 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 19 PTS | -13Jennings hit 43% of his shots, so that’s better than normal. The 1:1 AST:TO ratio hurts though. Like most of the team, he looked good early and terrible late.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 18 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -14Caldwell-Pope had a miserable game. He contributed nothing on offense and while his defense didn’t look awful (it didn’t look good either), he got burned by every wing he tried to cover.|
|Tony Mitchell, PF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3Mitchell’s garbage time did not yield anything worth evaluating.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF 11 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -3Harrellson’s battled, but he didn’t exhibit much talent tonight. Cheeks was getting better play out of Jerebko and Villanueva so he had no reason to leave Josh in.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 21 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +1Jerebko played very well and his threes were a huge reason the Pistons stuck around in the first half.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 14 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -6Villanueva made the most of his time on the floor offensively. But he may as well have been a pylon on defense. So we pretty much got “good Villanueva” in this game.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 8 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3Datome is a Piston for one reason: to hit shots. He didn’t do that.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 20 MIN | 3-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -1Singler is reasonably good at sticking with his man and rotating properly. But he’s also a bit slow, so when the other team moves the ball really well, he’s doomed. I don’t know how much better he was capable of guarding all of Miami’s shooters, but he wasn’t good enough in this one.On the other hand, Singler shot well.|
|Peyton Siva, PG 14 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -2Siva looked like a competent end-of-the-bench player! It’s a miracle.|
I don’t know if Cheeks did anything differently in this game than the one in Miami, but the Pistons looked their worst out of the gate and immediately after the halftime break. At one point, he was playing either Jerebko or Villanueva at SG. Sorry, Mo, you only get points for creativity if it works (or at least if I think it should have a shot at working).
Two Things We Saw
- The Pistons have been pretty up and down in the 3rd quarter this season. This game was a big down. Miami tore the game open by starting the quarter 15-4 and the Pistons never got close enough again to make it seem like they had a shot.
- Miami’s shooting was unstoppable. At one point, their bench had 31 point on 12 shots. In general, when the other team shoots 56% to your 42%, you’re probably not going to win that game.
- Teams: Miami Heat (15-5) at Detroit Pistons (10-10)
- Date: December 8, 2013
- Time: 6:00 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
The Detroit Pistons have won four consecutive games and now sit at .500. That might not sound impressive, but only four teams in the Eastern Conference have won half of their games or more.
Also, the Pistons’ blowout victory over against the Chicago Bulls gave them a positive scoring differential, which is typically synonymous with winning teams. Detroit’s win streak includes three straight road victories, with the first one occurring against the Miami Heat.
Tonight, the teams reverse roles. Miami will be at the Palace of Auburn Hills looking for some redemption. In their first meeting, Detroit won by double digits because of their rebounding advantage and solid frontcourt passing.
Despite merely playing 22 minutes, Andre Drummond had an astounding eight offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith combined for nine assists. The tandem took advantage of the Heat’s aggressive defense by anticipating rotations and passing the ball to the open man for clean looks.
Kyle Singler was the primary benefactor with four made treys. With that said, tonight’s contest might be a more difficult proposition for Detroit even though the game will be played at home.
ESPN.com’s Michael Wallace spoke to Chris Bosh about the Heat’s rebounding woes and this is what the big man had to offer:
“Every time we step out there, we’re going to take pride in that,” Bosh said. “We’re in a new space now, where the microscope is there as far as rebounding is concerned. And we’re going to have to do a better job. This was really good for us. But we have our work cut out for us [Sunday] and after that [Tuesday] against Indiana. It’s not going to stop.”
Bosh shared his sentiments on the heels of a victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves in which they held their own on the boards. Granted, Kevin Love missed the game, but Miami’s effort was still impressive nonetheless.
The Pistons will probably still win the rebounding battle tonight, but the game will be determined by the size of their advantage. Also, one must pay attention to the Heat’s pressure defense in this one.
Given that the frontcourt picked it apart, the Heat might simply come out more aggressive and blitz every pick-and-roll and double-team every interior touch. If Smith and Monroe can adjust and again find open players, the Pistons might very well be celebrating their fifth consecutive victory.
Read about the Heat
|Greg Monroe, PF 36 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +20Monroe didn’t have the prettiest stat line, but he owned the paint in the second half. Even as Drummond sat, Chicago’s bigs were worse than useless.Also, he seems to be developing some real chemistry with Caldwell-Pope. Early in the game, Monroe made a lane to the basket appear for Caldwell-Pope by placing the ball perfectly on a pass. Later, he somehow split a pair of Bulls as he fell out of bounds saving a tough rebound to KCP.|
|Josh Smith, SF 35 MIN | 2-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 7 PTS | +15Smith continues to take bad shots and miss good ones. This has been a rough season for him. But he also gets tons of deflections and hockey assists that just don’t make it into the box score.|
|Andre Drummond, C 30 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -2It’s amazing the Drummond got 30 minutes given his foul problems and the fact that he got hobbled in the second half. But he made his presence felt while on the floor. On one possession in the second quarter, the Pistons managed to get six offensive rebounds (five of them by Drummond!) before Dre eventually flushed the ball home.Drummond’s inability to push Muhammad around was disconcerting.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 42 MIN | 12-22 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 33 PTS | +25When Jennings actually scores efficiently, he’s really good. Of course, it speaks volumes that the commentators referred to him as “hitting everything” and “unable to miss” in a game where he hit one more than half of his shots.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 38 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +19Caldwell-Pope had a couple highlight moments, but he didn’t do much else in between. His defense was again good, but his production should really be higher for 38 minutes of playing time.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF 13 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +16Harrellson was the most important player in the third quarter stretch when Detroit pulled away. The basketball being played at that point was really ugly; everyone was making mistakes more often than not, and Harrellson’s play was no exception. But he outhustled everyone and hustle is even more important in a sloppy game.Harrellson had some beautiful blocks including one that somehow got called a foul.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 7 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -3Jerebko played a couple minutes of very good D and hit what felt at the time like a huge three. But he seems to have lost the hustle and do-it-all tendencies that made him so much fun early in his career.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 22 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +5Singler did a miserable job of covering Dunleavy, but contributed more than he gave up. It was a solid outing.|
|Peyton Siva, PG 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8Siva played without making too many mistakes (just one ugly shot and one intended lob that was awful–it clanked off the rim), but he still doesn’t look like an NBA caliber player.With Siva on the floor, the Pistons essentially play 4-on-5 offensively, so you have to hope he completely shuts down his man so that his presence is a wash.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 10 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -2Rough night for Stuckey. But it seems his knee was probably to blame. Here’s hoping he gets well soon, the Pistons have really needed Stuckey so far this year.|
After getting beaten up in a close first half, the Pistons came out swinging to open the third quarter and din’t let up. I don’t know if that’s on Cheeks, but he certainly didn’t seem to screw anything up in this game. That’s enough to keep me happy.
Two Things We Saw
- Both Stuckey and Drummond went down in this game (Drummond returned, Stuckey didn’t). But a Bulls squad missing Rose, Deng, and Butler won’t offer any sympathy.
- The Pistons are getting it done on the road. They hadn’t won at the United Center since 2006, but are now one of just two teams to win in Chicago this year (along with New Orleans) as well as one of just two teams to win in Miami (along with Boston).