League Pass is, well, League Passing, so I haven’t been able to watch the Pistons’ 104-97 win over the Cavaliers yet. But I think it’s safe to assume my headline is accurate. I’ll update this post tomorrow once I watch the game, but in the meantime, use the comments here to discuss how awesome Brandon Knight is.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 30 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +13
The Cavaliers were in this game for one reason: They grabbed 20 offensive rebounds to the Pistons’ 25 defensive rebounds. Teams have had a worse defensive-rebounding percentage only 10 times this season, and I’m spreading blame for that – including to Maxiell, who had just two defensive rebounds in 30 minutes.
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 34 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +3
Prince, with eight defensive rebounds, did work.
|Kyle Singler, SF 35 MIN | 2-4 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | +1
This was a major improvement over Singler’s last couple games, but he still hasn’t been too effective lately.
|Greg Monroe, C 29 MIN | 2-8 FG | 7-9 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | -1
Three defensive rebounds in 29 minutes and three three turnovers. At least he got to the free-throw line, but overall, Monroe must starting playing better if he wants that max contract extension.
|Brandon Knight, PG 38 MIN | 10-20 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 30 PTS | +13
Knight shot very well, especially from beyond the arc. For a team lacking reliable scorers, that’s extremely important and the reason Knight grades out so positively. I apologize for using more words to explain the flaws in Knight’s game rather than I used to praise him, but his positives were simple, and his shortcomings require more nuance. Of Knight’s 30 points, 15 came on assisted 3-pointers that featured a combined one dribble before he shot them, four came on uncontested fastbreak layups (including one that followed Knight awesomely taking advantage of his length to steal a perimeter pass) and one came on a free throw after Cleveland began intentionally fouling late. That’s not to completely discount those 20 points, but they’re not hugely encouraging that Knight can develop into a quality scoring point guard. Those opportunities won’t be available every night, and it’s still questionable how much Knight can create for himself going forward, but credit Knight for taking advantage tonight. His five assists and one turnover were nice. His defense, though, was shaky on Jeremy Pargo, who scored 24 points.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 16 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -8
As long as he’s making shots, he probably will hold his rotation spot. Does anyone else sort of wish he’d stop making shots?
|Corey Maggette, SF 7 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -7
His seven minutes were a season low, and like in the rest of his games, they were largely forgettable. His rotation spot might be in jeopardy.
|Andre Drummond, C 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +10
Drummond didn’t generate a huge state line and didn’t play exceptionally well, but but he certainly helps the Pistons when he’s on the floor. Simply, he makes a lot of things easy for his team and difficult for his opponent that wouldn’t be otherwise.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 29 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 10 PTS | +11
Not only did Stuckey have six assists and no turnovers, he made a couple tough shots late that he created for himself that are repeatable against pretty much any opponent. Knight was definitely better tonight, but Stuckey’s performance might be a better sign of good things to come. Knight did not thing discouraging, but Stuckey might have done just a few more encouraging things that are repeatable against better (all other) teams.
|Lawrence Frank, HEAD COACH
The Pistons’ offense didn’t look pretty, but they still scored 104 points. Why? They wisely attacked matchup advantages and drew fouls, shooting 25-of-33 from the free-throw line. The Pistons can’t play a Cavaliers team lacking Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters every game, but it was a sound plan tonight. Of course, Frank gets docked for sticking with old, ineffective players.
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