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Cavaliers make themselves win-proof in loss to Pistons

The Pistons beat Cleveland by 39 points tonight in front of a sparse crowd at the Palace. It was the fifth largest margin of victory in the NBA this season and the Pistons’ largest margin of victory since 2007. They led 100-50 at the end of the third quarter. That’ll about do it for the game recap.

Now, on to the issue that I’m sure everyone will be talking about: minutes distribution. First, before people get all hot and bothered about Vernon Macklin not playing, he wasn’t on the active roster tonight. Lawrence Frank said before the game that he’d be activated tomorrow and play against Atlanta. So if you complain about Macklin in the comments, I’ll be there to kindly remind you to read these recaps up here that I slave over before commenting.

But on to Austin Daye. I’m really not sure what to make of him and the Pistons anymore. Nothing about his situation makes sense. It’s possible the Pistons have quietly decided behind the scenes that he’s just not in their future plans, so him getting just six minutes in a game like this that was clearly over sometime in the first half could be explainable I guess. But if that’s the case, why wouldn’t the Pistons have traded him for whatever they could get at the deadline?

Maybe the Pistons didn’t trade him because they think they could get more for him in the offseason than what was offered at the deadline. But if that’s the case, shouldn’t he get regular minutes to try and show enough potential to entice a team to give up something for him?

The Pistons were on the first game of a back-to-back-to-back tonight. Frank said before the game that Jonas Jerebko would be the backup small forward. So maybe the plan was for Jerebko to get big minutes tonight, then Daye in another one of these games? But if that were the case, why would Jerebko only get a 17 minute audition tonight when the game was so clearly out of reach early? And in a back-to-back-to-back, aren’t the players who need the most rest your big minutes veterans? So why did Tayshaun Prince need to play 30 minutes? Daye was napped up, had a good lunch and was ready to go.

I’m just asking questions here. Clearly I don’t have a good answer. As an outsider, there’s no rational explanation for the way Frank used his rotation tonight. I’ll concede that there certainly could be reasons behind the scenes for Daye’s lack of minutes. Maybe he didn’t practice the way they wanted him to practice, maybe his injuries are still lingering, maybe coaches are upset with him about something else. Who knows. But barring any of that? Daye is signed next season, the organization has said that it believes in his potential … so what gives? What they say and how they act with Daye are very confusing as an outsider looking in.

This is exactly the type of game Detroit’s young players should’ve seen major minutes — Daye and Jerebko each could’ve played large roles tonight, and Detroit still would’ve won big, Cleveland was that awful. The Pistons could’ve not played a single starter tonight, and they still would’ve had a hard time losing. I’m not that upset that they won, even though they are neck and neck with Cleveland for lottery position. It’s just frustrating that they didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to give Daye one more extended look before the season ends.

36 Comments

  • Apr 17, 201210:15 pm
    by Andrew

    Reply

    A word or two about Knight’s performance might have been warranted.  Even on an empty court, that kind of shooting is not half bad.  His last 4 games have been impressive, a small sample, but enough to offer hope that it represents progress.

    Good points on Daye/Jerebko.

    • Apr 17, 201210:19 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I’m glad Knight played well, and you’re right, his passing especially has been better lately. But I can’t get too excited about his performance tonight. Glad he played well, but he was matched up most of the game against a guy who would be hard-pressed to make most NBA rosters.

  • Apr 17, 201210:29 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    I’d rather see our 2 most important young guys playing and playing well, in Knight and Monroe, which they did, over watching Daye and Jerebko.

    Knights really developing these last 4 games. I dont care who he was matchup with tonight, because in the 3 previous games against CLE, matched up with Irving, he avg 21 pts and 5 asts. CLE just can’t defend him no matter who they put on him, and tonight he made them pay for sitting Irving trying to tank. They tanked, but got embaressed by Knight and the Pistons in the process.

    Good for the Pistons. If a team is going to intentionally try to lose, then humiliate them for doing so.

  • Apr 17, 201210:43 pm
    by D_S_V

    Reply

    A few positives as the season closes: Stuckey’s play in the second half of the season (personally my biggest surprise), Monroe’s (continued) and Knight’s development, and coach who is competent enough to get the Pistons to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat (16-10 against below 500 teams).

    With that being said, this has been a terribly frustrating season overall, and it’s becoming especially frustrating in these closing games. There seems to be a disconnect between management that claims we are rebuilding and the coach who is only trying to win games (something I can’t fault him for). The signings at the beginning of the season that irritated me (cough, Tayshaun, cough on a lengthy and overpaid contract; and to a lesser degree I think we overpaid for JJ who hadn’t played in a frickin year) pigeon-holed Frank into playing Tayshaun at a spot where we have young talent that needs in game evaluation. And now this closing of this meaningless season – the perfect time for Macklin to play, and an inexcuseable time for Daye to play who we resigned already for next year for god knows what reason – and they’re riding pine. This is what this season has amounted to: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cleveland%20steamer

    Fitting name for tonight’s game.

    • Apr 17, 201210:57 pm
      by MNM

      Reply

      Oh come on. They’re rebuilding… They DID let Tmac, Wilcox and Summers walk at the end of last season!I mean, that’s BOLD! ..(Laughing..starting to cry..thinking of watching this potentially mediocre team for years to come..now shuttering..)

  • Apr 17, 201210:57 pm
    by hmmmm

    Reply

    Jerebko didnt get the minutes at small forward tonight due to the fact that both charlie v and maxiell were in foul trouble, forcing L to play him at PF.. even my girlfriend could see that.

    • Apr 18, 20128:38 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I don’t care where his minutes were. He only played 17 in a game that was a blowout.

  • Apr 17, 201211:18 pm
    by Justin

    Reply

    Being at the game, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Lawrence Frank standing and coaching his team when they were up 40 heading towards a 50 point lead and his team responding with stout defense. Sure, they were playing the equivalent of a D-league team and the corpse of Luke Walton, but effort is effort, and I hope to see it carry into next season.

  • Apr 17, 201211:18 pm
    by gordbrown

    Reply

    Let’s review. Cleveland actually had two of the top four draft picks in last year’s lottery. It was a hell of a lot more than they deserved, (fuck you too LA Clippers). Despite this, they are still horrible and tanking for the second straight year. The difference between whoever you can get with say the third pick and who you can get with the ninth pick overall is probably not going to be the difference between being competitive and not five years from now (first couple of picks may be different but that’s not the issue). And its certainly not worth putting your fans through what Cleveland’s suffered tonight. In fact, from what I just watched, Pistons are farther ahead with Knight than Cleveland is with Thompson, proving my point. So yeah fuck lottery balls. Next year, hopefully referees will remember what team had the fourth largest margin of victory and reward accordingly. That’s worth more than a very slight chance at the first pick overall which was just going to break your heart anyway.

    • Apr 17, 201211:35 pm
      by jayg108

      Reply

      Well said (on everything).

    • Apr 18, 201212:55 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Really? You expect high draft picks to make a major difference in the W-L column in their first season? Only a very few can do that. People like Lebron or Duncan. Last year’s draft was reputed to be lacking in star talent. Irving, in fact, massively exceeded expectations. So don’t say that Cleveland’s bad season is proof that top lottery picks don’t help all that much. Wait two or three years and then look at what Irving and Thompson can do.

      • Apr 18, 20121:04 am
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Obviously, high picks are no guarantee of great talent. But by and large, the higher your pick, the better the player you’ll get.

    • Apr 18, 20128:41 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Honestly, I’m not mad that the Pistons won or won big. Fine with both of those things. Cleveland is clearly in full tank mode, and I’m glad the Pistons aren’t doing that. But still, now is the time to play Austin Daye extended minutes and to play Jerebko extended minutes. It was disappointing that those things didn’t happen in a game that was over before halftime.

      • Apr 18, 20129:34 am
        by tarsier

        Reply

        If they’re gonna win, they may as well blow the opponent out of the gym. That’s my opinion, anyway.

        • Apr 18, 20129:41 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Daye and Jerebko could’ve played 20-25ish minutes each and they still would’ve blown Cleveland out last night.

          • Apr 18, 20123:58 pm
            by dkdm

            I agree it would have been nice if they got to play more minutes, but only because it did not make sense to play the starters and veterans so many minutes in a blowout.  In your article you ask several questions.  But I think some of your questions imply that Coach Frank and “the organization” have the same objectives and opinions about the players.  The organization may have faith in Daye, but Frank may not.  And personally, and as a general matter, I prefer when management does not get in the coach’s way.  If management is directing Frank on his rotations, then I am just as confused as you are about Daye not playing.  But if management is not directing Frank on how to run the team, then I think the best assumption to make is that regardless of the organization’s feelings about Daye, Frank is not too hot on Daye.

  • Apr 17, 201211:42 pm
    by Tiko

    Reply

    I’ll take Sullinger at 9

    • Apr 17, 201211:50 pm
      by Daye and Knight

      Reply

      Same here: Sullinger, Jones, PJIII or Henson would be fine and if we can get Kaman over the summer then we’ll have a center and can play PJIII or T.Jones at small forward…winning isn’t so bad in this stacked draft, still I rather have Drummond and Davis is destined to go to the bobcats, so any of the names listed above are fine by me if they have a good workout.

  • Apr 17, 201211:44 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    Cleveland should know of all teams tanking won’t help bring a championship…surely they all watched THE DECISION…there goes a year of tanking, heading to south beach…that mother f—

  • Apr 17, 201211:49 pm
    by Chris H

    Reply

    Winning is important, and given the results of this game I think anyone we would have marched out there would have had a decent game.  My issue is who got the most of the minutes, I’m Glad that Knight did well, and he is young, but on the front end of back-to-back-to-back games, rest the guys who are going to play more in a tight game. Have Daye play 20 min, play Charlie until he fouls out, screw it, given the final score what could possibly have happened?  I really think that Bynum should have gotten some more time, as well as Walker and Gordon, just so that Knight and Stuckey got some rest.  By the end of the 3rd I really don’t see a reason that Stuckey, Knight, Monroe, or Tay should have been playing.  Yeah that would be a small lineup out there, with Jerebko, Charlie, Bynum, Gordon, and Daye, but maybe then someone would learn how to exploit the mismatch that they have on offense.

    • Apr 18, 20128:44 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yeah, I agree with you. That was my biggest issue, I think. The first game of a back to back to back set up perfectly for you to rest every rotation player a lot. Why not take advantage? It’s not like they couldn’t see this coming somewhat. Cleveland has been playing this lineup for a few games now.

  • Apr 18, 201212:57 am
    by tarsier

    Reply

    Why didn’t Macklin play?!?!?! Just kidding, I did actually read the article.

    • Apr 18, 20121:53 am
      by frankie d

      Reply

      that is a ridiculous response that begs the question:
      why wasn’t he on the active roster?
      was it more important to get walker russell his minutes?
      was it more important to get damian wilkins his minutes?
      or ben w.?
      the idea that it is more important to activate those guys and let macklin be inactive is dumb.
      pure d dumb.
      and the idea that they can escape scrutiny simply by deactivating macklin shows how little respect they have for the detroit media.
      the easy, next question is: why would you deactivate him, under these circumstances?
      unfortunately, the detroit media has been trained to NOT ask the next, logical question.
      and they willingly comply.

      • Apr 18, 20124:46 am
        by Mark

        Reply

        Macklin wasn’t deactivated, he still hasnt been reactivated yet since returning from the d-league, and Frank already said he’s going to be in the rotation the last 5 games, starting tomorrow at ATL.

        idk why he wasnt activated for tonight, but Frank is known to look at 5 game sample sizes, and so maybe he just chose to wait until ATL, give him another day of practice, and then evaluate him on the last 5 games.

        • Apr 18, 201211:15 am
          by Chris H

          Reply

          I was trying to search for it, but I wonder if there is a time to activation from the D League to the NBA.  I can’t imagine it being a long time, but something like 2-3 days.  Not sure how long Macklin has been back with the team. I tried to find a rule, but I couldn’t.

  • Apr 18, 20123:16 am
    by Mel

    Reply

    It’s really interesting that people still complain even when a team wins, and I mean big. If those that complained actually bought tickets to the game with there family would you still want them to loose? I know I wouldn’t. Granted I would have loved to see Macklin play also but he’ll play in the next game.

    What I liked is that the players player with the same effort they played with in the Chicago game, you want to end your season off with that type of momentum so they guys can come back with a chip on their shoulders. Anyone who doesn’t get minutes will have all summer and the the start of summer league to prove them selves before preseason. IMHO

    • Apr 18, 20129:07 am
      by MNM

      Reply

      There is no momentum between seasons..That doesn’t make any sense.
      People who go to the games obviously want to be entertained with a win..and the Palace is pretty empty night in and night out  as well..so what does that tell you. It tells me that most people are sick and tired of seeing a bad/mediocre roster trotted out there night after night.  The majority of this roster is the same group that we’ve been looking at for the last 3-4 years now..It’s time for a change.

  • Apr 18, 20124:29 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    I was just reading an article at ESPN they have on tanking at the moment and someone had an idea in the comments to prevent tanking which i thought was worth sharing. The idea was that the NBA should only count the first three quarters of the season to determine draft position (% of ping pong balls). Then for the last quarter of the season wins would gain your teams extra ping pong balls which would force teams to play hard if they want a better pick. If you use this season as an example the Bobcats will have a 25% chance to get the #1 pick but with how bad they are playing they would lose maybe 3-5% of those balls to teams that are still winning. It is important to note that there probably isn’t anyway to prevent teams from cheating the system by losing on purpose so why not reward teams for winning for a small portion of it. Anyway when I first read the idea I thought it was worth the share and see what all you guys thought about it. One thing I do know and I am sure all piston fans would agree is that something needs to change. Thoughts??

    • Apr 18, 20128:24 am
      by D_S_V

      Reply

      That’s probably the best idea I’ve heard that would give incentive to a team to play well at the end of the season. If you just gave all non playoff teams an equal chance it doesn’t help out the bottom of the barrel which I don’t think the NBA/David Stern want to completely abandon. I’d almost say make this “deadline” somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way through the season (around the All Star Break?) so that way it could almost be like a bizarro playoff race for the really low rung teams. I’d actually be completely happy after a win like the Pistons had over Cleveland instead of being so bitter about being quite obviously out-tanked and getting basically NOTHING for the win.

    • Apr 18, 201212:30 pm
      by Pistons87

      Reply

      I love this idea. Imagine lottery teams going all out to get wins the last 20 game of the season. The intensity of that plus playoff races and seeding would make the end of the season great.

    • Apr 18, 20123:47 pm
      by dkdm

      Reply

      I have never commented here before, and possibly never will in the future, but I don’t think this idea works practically.  Initially I thought the idea was great.  But as I thought about it, I realized that what an idea like that does is punish teams that truly just suck.  True, it would technincally give non-playoff teams an incentive to play harder at the end of the season, but the teams that really suck are still just going to keep losing games and losing lottery balls, which seems wrong.  The draft, and espeically the lottery, is supposed to help really bad teams.

  • Apr 18, 201211:58 am
    by Al

    Reply

    Nice to see them putting all phases together to give the fans a glimpse of what may be to come with offense and defense even if its was against a sub-par team. They looked like they had fun and a close nit group. The lineups were good and I to agree that perhaps wallace and prince should not have played as long as they did, like, really tho the purpose was????? Looking forward to how they follow up against a playoff team in Atlanta now, and the lineups to accompany them

  • Apr 18, 20122:12 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    This is for MNM, Quote’ ”Even though the season is winding down, we wanted to set the tone for next year and the offseason and continue to build on that,” Knight said.

    Oh yeah and the lions used momentum of the last four wins of 2010 season to  have a 5-0 record the following season. And you say it doesn’t make sense.

    Fans want to see a team play hard regardless of the roster. Before New York got rid of Mike D’Antoni  the fans were not to happy about that Star Studded(LOL0 roster.

    It took a coach that could relate to the players and get them to play hard to turn things around. L Frank is doing that for the Pistons.

    • Apr 18, 20126:22 pm
      by MNM

      Reply

      having 6-7 months  off between seasons does not carry momentum..That once again makes no sense. Your precious win streaks with the Lions have to do with the players on the roster and coaching in a paticular game. By your logic, the Mavericks should win the championship again this year. And yes, I like L.Frank too, but this roster is bogus and anyone with an open mind who isn’t going to be a “blind loyalist” sees that. This team isn’t getting better for the long term playing a bunch of mediocre vets. If you need a certain coach to make you play hard when your making millions upon millions..then you are pathetic.. Yes, Monroe and Knight are nice..but thats not gonna do it… There is a Grantland article from espn that was posted on here a week ago. It speaks for many of us. You should take a look at it with an open mind and understand where some of us are coming from.

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