|Jason Maxiell, PF 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +2
He was fine. A bit below his typical production for this season, but whatever. Andre Drummond didn’t cut into Maxiell’s minutes because Maxiell was bad. Drummond was just better. As far as tracking the individual matchup between the two, the only category I saw in Maxiell’s favor tonight was defensive awareness.
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 38 MIN | 8-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | +3
He shot extremely efficiently. He defended well. He helped on the glass. Maybe it was taking advantage of a matchup with Dominic McGuire, but Prince was excellent tonight.
|Kyle Singler, SF 29 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +7
Not a good game for Singler, but at least he didn’t really harm the Pistons – which speaks to why he’s starting ahead of Stuckey. When Singler has an off game, it doesn’t include a ton of missed shots and turnovers.
|Greg Monroe, C 38 MIN | 8-20 FG | 3-6 FT | 11 REB | 5 AST | 19 PTS | +10
Monroe (40 percent shooting and four turnovers) was not very efficient, but he produced in volume with 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. I’ll take that. Monroe’s 20 shots were nine more than any teammate, and that’s good for the Pistons. There’s nobody I trust more on this team with the ball in his hands. When in doubt, feed Monroe. It might hurt his efficiency numbers, but it’s good for the team.
|Brandon Knight, PG 26 MIN | 6-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | +3
Knight scored half his points in the final 3:30, including the game-winning drive for a layup with 7.8 seconds left. A 3:5 assist:turnover isn’t pretty pretty, but Knight shot well, especially when it counted. The final minutes of the game definitely raised his grade a great deal.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 12 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -10
Ugh. He’s been bad lately, tonight especially. He shot too often and took terrible shots – a disheartening combination. At least once defensively, he bumped into a teammate who had good positioning.
|Corey Maggette, SF 8 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -3
He was basically a non-factor, but at least he played only eight minutes. Maggette is probably the Piston most likely to be gone next season. Every minute he plays is a minute that doesn’t go to a potential future contributor.
|Andre Drummond, C 24 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-6 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | -2
No play better reflects Drummond’s night than one midway through the fourth quarter. He grabbed an offensive rebound by sneakily setting up well behind a Jonas Valanciunas box out and speeding by the Raptor. Drummond jumped quickly for a putback and was fouled. In celebration, he slammed the ball to the court, and it bounced off the basket overhang and nearly hit a ducking Drummond on the way down.
Drummond might look awkward in the process, but he makes an insane number of positive plays per minute. Sometimes, it’s the result of unexpected savvy, but his athleticism and size almost always contribute.
Drummond was active on the defensive and offensive glass, and he got a lot of his shots on putbacks. I don’t know how the Pistons wanted to defend every pick-and-roll, but Drummond looked out of position at times. On one play, though, Drummond got caught in no-man’s land, but he skied to intercept an entry pass.
Drummond produced well tonight. If he figures out how to play at this level, he’ll be scary good. How can he get there? Keep playing him.
|Will Bynum, PG 22 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -2
Let’s ignore his lack of offensive contributions for a moment. Bynum couldn’t stay with Jose Calderon, and that’s why Bynum fouled him twice and gave him space for a 3-pointer. Bynum also fouled Kyle Lowry on a 3-pointer.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 21 MIN | 2-9 FG | 3-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -3
Until Stuckey finishes better at the rim, he’s never going to take the next step as a player. He’s still taking too many 3-pointers, and he’s not doing much besides trying to score – and he’s not doing that well.
Lawrence Frank, HEAD COACH
True to his word, he found more minutes for Drummond. The offense ran through Monroe, which is almost always a good plan, but as far as Frank is concerned, I really just care about how he develops Drummond this season. Tonight, he let Drummond play through mistakes, and it was a key reason the Pistons won. Even when making mistakes, Drummond outweighs them with positive plays nobody else is capable of making. The Pistons outrebounded Toronto 46-37 and held the Raptors well below their season average for attempts in the pain. Drummond played a big hand in both categories, categories that had often been the Pistons’ biggest weaknesses.
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