The Pistons are much improved at protecting the ball from a year ago, but the Clippers are the NBA’s best team at forcing turnovers.
So, something had to give when the teams met Monday.
Knight gave the Clippers five turnovers in 36 minutes and Bynum gave four turnovers in 15 minutes during an 88-76 loss.
The Pistons successfully sucked the life from the game, holding Los Angeles to its season-low scoring in a win, but even a slow pace couldn’t prevent some ugly turnovers. For most of the game, Detroit played the Clippers close to even in several key areas.
The real difference was the Clippers’ quick steals and the easy dunks that followed. Those plays took just a few seconds, but the results were crucial. On a night both teams struggled to score, the Clippers got a few easy baskets and the Pistons didn’t.
In many ways, this boiled down to the fact that the Clippers have Chris Paul and the Pistons don’t. Paul (seven assists and three steals) made this game much easier for the Clippers, and on the other hand, Knight and Bynum put the Pistons in a hole.
For the Pistons to stay as close as they did is really to their credit during a tough game against a very good team.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 26 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -9
Maxiell usually doesn’t hurt the Pistons when he plays poorly, because he doesn’t shoot much and his width helps clog the lane for defense and team rebounding. But tonight he hurt the team by shooting too much. In addition to not rebounding, Maxiell looked too often for his mid-range jumper. I initially thought he played decent defense on Blake Griffin, keeping Griffin out of the paint. But Griffin also stayed away from the rim when guarded by Charlie Villanueva, so maybe that’s more on Griffin tonight.
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 36 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | -8
Prince was solid. His offense was definitely better when he worked to get closer to the rim than when he settled for jumpers.
|Kyle Singler, SF 39 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +1
Singler was probably playing a bit over his head earlier the season, but as he reverts to the mean, he still looks like a productive player — especially for this team.
|Greg Monroe, C 39 MIN | 4-7 FG | 3-6 FT | 7 REB | 6 AST | 11 PTS | -10
Monroe shouldn’t escape blame for the Pistons’ turnover problems. He had three, but he also had more assists than Brandon Knight and Will Bynum. Monroe’s best plays came working from the high post, and he was effective overall, but I’d like him to get a higher usage. He’s still the best player on this team.
|Brandon Knight, PG 36 MIN | 5-16 FG | 3-5 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 16 PTS | -8
Knight’s turnovers were a big problem, but he was playing against Chris Paul, the NBA’s best point guard. I’m not worried about Knight’s 3-of-10 3-point shooting. Knight has proven himself a good 3-point shooter, and that’s not bad for an off night.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 12 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -1
Villanueva didn’t play in the second half. Is he on his way out of the rotation?
|Austin Daye, PF 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -11
Daye played for the first time in the last 11 games. If Daye worthy of playing time, I suppose he deserves a longer look before being sent back to the bench. I’d rather ride with Daye’s upside, how much ever of that is left, that playing Maggette more, but Daye did nothing to show he could help the team tonight.
|Andre Drummond, C 20 MIN | 2-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -4
Drummond was looking for shots in opportunities he wouldn’t have otherwise (a short jumper, a couple postups and a catch in heavy traffic), and although the results weren’t pretty, this could be a sign of progress. Hopefully, the Pistons keep putting more on Drummond’s plate. Whether or not he succeeds immediately, the challenges will accelerate his growth.
|Will Bynum, PG 15 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -10|
|Lawrence Frank, HEAD COACH
Frank played Austin Daye, benched Corey Maggette and did both with Charlie Villanueva. He is experimenting. Frank could stand to play Drummond more and Maxiell less, but at least Drummond took on more responsibility tonight. We’ll have to keep watching to get a better feel for whether that was part of Frank’s gameplan or whether Drummond was freelancing.
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