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Pistons build big lead, hold on at the end, have a block party in between, for win over Cavs

The Cleveland Cavaliers came into Detroit missing their best player, Kyrie Irving, and just 2-8 in their last 10 games. The Pistons, mostly at full strength (aside from a thigh bruise for Brandon Knight, which he played through), should’ve had no problems at home in this game and, for the most part, they didn’t.

Detroit built a big lead early, played mostly great defense, coasted for a while in the second half while Cleveland chipped away at the lead, then made enough plays down the stretch — including an incredible block by Knight on a dunk attempt by Jeremy Pargo — to hold Cleveland off. The Pistons are slowly but surely getting back to where they were at last season — better than most bad teams as long as they play with any modicum of defensive intensity, bad against most average or better teams unless virtually everything goes right for them. Considering where the team was to start the season just a few weeks ago, that’s solid enough progress.

The defense against Cleveland was great. The Pistons did a great job contesting shots, held the Cavs to 34 percent shooting (including 3-for-20 from 3-point range). They blocked 13 shots (including five by Jason Maxiell and three in 19 minutes by Andre Drummond). Most importantly, the Pistons took care of the ball, turning it over just 11 times. Knight and Greg Monroe, in particular, did a much better job after their recent sloppiness with just three turnovers each.

The Pistons have a favorable, home-heavy schedule this month with several games against struggling teams. If the team remains focused on those two things — defense and taking care of the ball — the outlook for Detroit’s season outlook could be drastically more positive by the end of December.

Cleveland Cavaliers 79 FinalRecap | Box Score 89 Detroit Pistons
Jason Maxiell, PF 28 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +10Maxiell did his best Ben Wallace impression tonight. Who needs a rim-protecting presence in the starting lineup when you have Maxiell swatting everything?
Tayshaun Prince, SF 34 MIN | 6-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | +6I’ll write more in-depth about Prince’s season later this week, but quietly, he really deserves a lot of credit this season. Statistically, he’s his normal steady self, but he’s done it while taking a step back in the offense and letting the young players sink or swim, something not many people (myself included) thought he’d be able to do.
Kyle Singler, SF 33 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +14Offensively, Singler continues to be fantastic, and not just because he’s a perimeter threat. He has a midrange game and he’s a crafty finisher around the basket. The only criticism I’d have is he was beat off the dribble a couple of times by Cleveland’s guards. But that’s not really a big deal when your big men are blocking everything.
Greg Monroe, C 36 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-3 FT | 14 REB | 5 AST | 9 PTS | +9Monroe’s shot wasn’t falling against a great defender in Anderson Varejao, but unlike against the Mavs on Sunday, Monroe didn’t force the issue. He set up others, he rebounded, he kept his turnovers under control and he even blocked a couple shots.
Brandon Knight, PG 34 MIN | 5-13 FG | 7-7 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 17 PTS | +9Knight took care of the ball, defended well and — as he’s quietly done all season — been a pretty effective rebounder for a guard. He didn’t shoot well, but he also played through an injury and was great defensively.
Charlie Villanueva, PF 13 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +2Since being re-inserted into the rotation, Villanueva hasn’t done anything except re-prove what we already know — he’s an incredibly streaky shooter, capable of huge performances off the bench and capable of disappearing. He did have a block and a steal tonight, though, so he wasn’t as quiet as he normally is when his shot isn’t falling.
Corey Maggette, SF 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +4Maggette gave the Pistons solid defense and that’s about it. I like Maggette, I think his leadership has been helpful to some of the young players on the team, but he doesn’t do anything on the court so well that makes me OK with Jonas Jerebko or Kim English being glued to the bench behind him.
Andre Drummond, C 20 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-4 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -1The one complaint — Drummond simply has to be a better finisher around the rim. It doesn’t always hurt him, but he tends to try to lay the ball in softly when he has an opportunity to dunk the ball. But that’s a relatively minor complaint when you consider he blocked three shots and had 12 rebounds in 20 minutes.
Rodney Stuckey, PG 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 8 PTS | -3Stuckey continues to be Detroit’s best point guard.
Lawrence Frank, CoachThere was very little to criticize about Frank tonight. The rotation is still not ideal — I’m still convinced that the team has better options for minutes than both Villanueva and Maggette — but credit where it’s due, the Pistons had an awful loss on Sunday, they had a day off to go home and practice and they came out and played hard tonight and had arguably their best defensive effort of the season.

41 Comments

  • Dec 3, 20129:55 pm
    by tarsier

    Reply

    I still can’t get over how well Monroe and Drummond compliment each other. Monroe is one of the best finesse bigs around. Drummond is one of the most athletic. In a couple years, Monroe could easily be a top 5 offensive big and Drummond could easily be a top 5 defensive big. Monroe owns the defensive glass, Drummond the offensive. These two fit like velcro and fuzz. Maybe someday Frank will see it too.

    • Dec 3, 201210:08 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      i do give Franks a pat on the head for Keeping Drummond in the game, when he got tho two quick fouls.

       

  • Dec 3, 201210:06 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    @tarsier I agree completely…Greg Creates soo many easy scoring opportunities for Drummond also.

    I would LOVE MAXIELL and Stuckey coming off the bench together, I think it stop those little scoring droughts that we go through from time to time.

     

    • Dec 3, 201210:31 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Yeah, those two could work well together also. The only problem I have with Stuckey  is his insistence on shooting threes. Apart from that, I think he could be a good player, totally worth his contract. When he comes off the bench, I’d make him the primary ball handler with at least one (preferably two) of Knight, English, and Singler on the floor to hang out behind the arc. And Maxiell could add a midrange game to the mix.

  • Dec 3, 201210:09 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    English needs to start to take some of Maggette minutes next, when Singler leaves the game, we miss that spot up shooter

  • Dec 3, 201210:18 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    monroe had 14 boards… but he is 4/10 fgs… since cavs are a bad team.. then he should’ve dominated this game..

    i like our defense though… it was nice.. and turnover numbers are lower..

    • Dec 3, 201210:20 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      They are bad, but Varejao is one of the best defensive players in the league.

      • Dec 3, 201210:43 pm
        by domnick

        Reply

        hmm but still this is just cavs… i mean… they’re not all anderson varejao… i think monroe should dominate the game… if he wants to reach the all-star status then he needs to beat this 30-year old varejao…

    • Dec 3, 201210:22 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      Greg was more in the facilitation mode tonight…. I just feel like Monroe is being wasted at Center this year because of his passing skills

  • Dec 3, 201210:40 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    @ Patrick…About Drummond, i really wonder why he doesnt go back up stronger…. I feel like he mimics Greg Monroe alot when he plays around the basket…

    I would love for a guy like Shaq to get in contact with him and tell him DUNK THAT BALL EVERYTIME! …he needs to want to put defenders in the rim with the ball…if he ever does that… then he will be a real force

    • Dec 3, 201210:42 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      It was a knock on him in college too. He obviously can finish as strong as anyone … he just doesn’t, for some reason.

      • Dec 4, 201212:18 am
        by gmehl

        Reply

        Hopefully once he realizes he is bigger than everyone else and puts on some more muscle this will no longer be and issue. I used to have a big guy on my team that i used to pass to on the low block that had a god awful habit of bringing the ball down low before he would go back up and lay it in. It would drive me crazy and we had many an argument about him not doing it. He would either get the ball stripped or have another big guy block or change his shot. I would tell him to go straight up and dunk the shit out of it.
         
        The problem i see with Drummond going up weak is similar to that of a passer that always jumps before he passes and has no one to pass to and gets called for traveling. The problem is it becomes habit and it is hard to break. Hopefully Roy Rogers (big man coach) is working with him on this and if not then maybe its time to bring in someone like Hakeem. Someone mention after the Dallas game that Drummond has bad footwork which i have realized too and maybe someone like Hakeem can rectify. Better footwork would also help him with blocking more shots too so maybe its worth a look. Thoughts???

      • Dec 4, 201211:06 am
        by sebastian

        Reply

        Could it be that Dre Drummond is not finishing around the rim, like Chocolate Thunder, because of the timid approach L. Frank has demonstrating with the handling of his minutes.
        Give the guy more time on the floor and the tendency the “throw it down,” like Bill Wlaton woudl say may improve.

        • Dec 4, 201211:29 am
          by Vic

          Reply

          I said this would happen about a month ago if they kept treating him like he ride the short bus to the games. He was nowhere near this timid in preseason or in the beginning of the season, his fg percentage has gone off a cliff. 
          Hes the type of player where defense comes natural but offense takes a lot of comfort and confidence. I’m the same type

          • Dec 4, 20124:21 pm
            by frankie d

            drummond seemed to have become a bit more timid since jermaine o’neal elbowed him in the …ah…the groin.
            then a couple games after that someone else did the same thing – can’t remember who – and since then drummond has not attacked the rim with the same intensity.
            i’m sure the old vets like o’neal were sending a not too subtle message to the young fella, but he just has to keep going after the dunks and learn how to protect the family jewels.
            blake griffin does a pretty good job of making sure that anyone who tries to mess with him pays a price with a shoe to the face. 

        • Dec 4, 201212:29 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Jesus. What won’t you people blame Frank for? Drummond is timid finishing around the rim because Lawrence Frank doesn’t play him enough? What a joke.

          Explain why he did the exact same thing in college, then. Maybe it’s just a bad habit that Drummond has always had and he hasn’t worked his way out of yet in his handful of games as a pro. Not everything is the coach’s fault. Individual players at the professional level can take responsibility for their own bad habits, you know. 

    • Dec 3, 201210:45 pm
      by domnick

      Reply

      i like his rebounding numbers… 13 boards in 19 mins..

  • Dec 3, 201210:53 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Good Game even if Irving and Waiters didn’t play, We need every win. Going to interesting to see how we do against Golden State.

  • Dec 3, 201210:59 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Drummond will be fine, he’s playing against grown men. He’ll develop that dog in him near the end of the season. Wait till next year for him to break necks. He’s been use to playing against smaller opponents, now he’s playing against the big boys plus there older. When your 19 you going to respect who you’re going up against. Battling Max and Slava as he gets older will teach him.  

  • Dec 3, 201211:12 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    next assignment – GOLDEN STATE… protect our home! beat them.. GSW has improved and they’re becoming a better team.. tough matchup will be against David Lee, Steph curry, Klay Thompson.. yikes… good luck!

  • Dec 3, 201211:31 pm
    by hirobeats

    Reply

    most impressive stat of the night. 9 offensive boards for drummond. Kelser thinks that he will be the best offensive rebounder in the NBA at some point.. idk about that, nevertheless, thats impressive.

    • Dec 4, 201212:44 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Varejao had 9 offensive boards not Moose

      • Dec 4, 20125:10 am
        by Derek

        Reply

        @gmehl I think you misread hirobeats.  He said Drummond had 9 offensive boards (and he did).  Moose had 10 defensive boards.

        • Dec 4, 20126:06 am
          by gmehl

          Reply

          Whoops you are correct Derek. Sorry about that hirobeats…my bad :-)

  • Dec 3, 201211:46 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    “Stuckey continues to be Detroit’s best point guard”
     
    How many time have you inserted that line in the grades now Patrick? One would think you are trying to be funny :-)
    It’s funny in the sense that Stuckey has gone from SG to PG to SG to PG to combo guard to combo guard off the bench.

    • Dec 4, 201210:19 am
      by Tom Y.

      Reply

      I thought he tried to be funny and succeeded.

  • Dec 4, 201212:36 am
    by Delray313

    Reply

    This game was ok would have been better with kyrie and dion other than that nothing special. Drummond needs more minutes he can produce big. I want someones honest opinion is frank a top flight coach or just ok, i really cant tell due to the lack of talent on the team and those new jersey teams were a ok but nothing special either. Better yet if he had miami or san antonio could he close the deal.

    • Dec 4, 20129:54 am
      by MIKEYDE248

      Reply

      As much as all of us want to see Drummond play more minutes, even the announcers were saying he looked tired while he was out there.  Maybe he just needs some more conditioning.

      • Dec 4, 201210:24 am
        by Tom Y.

        Reply

        If he gets 12 boards and 3 blocks in 19 minutes while tired, I can’t wait to see him fresh…

  • Dec 4, 20122:45 am
    by Brandon Burnett

    Reply

    Don’t forget Dion Waiters didn’t play either, but yeah, the Pistons played a good defensive game and controlled the tempo throughout. 

  • Dec 4, 20128:50 am
    by vic

    Reply

    Can’t complain about the win… but in the spirit of continuous improvement – replacing Maggette & Villanueva with Kim English and Jerebko would be the perfect move. 

    Kim English can shoot more consistently than CV, and defend the perimeter. Jerebko can pass and rebound and cut more than Maggette. The problem with just taking CV out for Jerebko is you don’t have any floorspacer. You have to have Kim too in that 2nd lineup.

    Doubt it’ll happen for politics and contract reasons but I look forward to it next year.

  • Trackback

    Dec 4, 20129:21 am
    by Gourmet Cookies By Mail Blog

    Reply

    Have And Hold…

    [...] th Drummond going up weak is similar to that of a passer that always jumps befor [...]…

  • Dec 4, 201210:07 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    “I HATE FRANK CORNER”
    About Jason Maxiell:

    I have been very critical of Maxiell since the start of season, not because I don’t believe he has any value, not because he’s a 6’7 (on a good day) PF. But because I wanted the Pistons to develop Andre Drummond, I wanted to see Greg Monroe at the PF position, I wanted Drummond and Monroe to be dubbed as the New Twin Towers of the NBA.
    So I’ll admit, there were games where I wanted Maxiell to get dominated, and there were game where I wanted him to miss those jumpers that he just continues to knock down consistently, and there were games I was hoping he’s get in foul trouble early, or he’d look slow on rotations. However, Maxiell has stayed the course, and rightfully earning his PT and Starting spot. Which turns my stomach as a Pistons fan, because this is how a team stays mediocre, when a 30 year old role-player, who’s on any other team would be a 7th or 8th man rotation guy, who comes off the bench providing a 15 minute spark, but on your team now a KEY STARTER.
    While the raw exciting stud rookie, with all the potential in the world sit on the bench waiting for his turn. My first thought was DARKO!!! all over again. I thought mentally Drummond would not be able to perform when he got into meaningful games, because he did not think he was good enough or that he didn’t have the experience. I tried to put myself back into my 19 year old mind, when I first had to deal with rejection and how did I respond, I thought about when I got my first job at 19 and my boss cut my hours even though I knew I was a better worker than the person that were there before I arrived (Cashier/Stocker @ Office Depot employee of the month 4 times in my first 7 month Store Record) . An the only reason my boss could give me at the time was, ” He knows the store better”
    So last night after the game, it almost seemed like reports were almost baiting or maybe trying to lead Drummond with questions, to get him to think about what he could do if he got more minutes, But all Drummond did was praise Maxiell and his work ethic, he praised Maxiell for his defense, he praised Maxiell by saying “Even though he might not actually be the 6’8 that he is listed as, He plays big like a 7 footer”
    Then it dawned on me that Maxiell all 6’5 1/2 (No Shoes) is the only, the only example of a physical presence that Drummond has to learn from or to pattern his game after on this team, and although it took 9 seasons for Maxiell to become the player he is today, He has become that player at the right time to push Drummond. Although because of Size and athletic ability Drummond is already a superior rebounder both defensively and offensively.  Maxiell ability to finish stronger around the basket, even Maxiell physical man to man NON-FLOPPING Defense, and his defensive rotations and weak-side shot blocks. Even showing Drummond, that eventually you will have to develop a go to shot that you are comfortable with that has nothing to do with how physically gifted you are, are all lessons and things that Drummond can absorb and learn from. 
    However, even saying all of that, I still believe Maxiell would help us more by coming off the bench, and I still believe Drummond should be starting or playing closer to 30 minutes per-game, than 15-20 minutes per-game. But I do truly appreciate what Maxiell is doing as an NBA Player, and what is doing intentionally or non-intentionally to develop the future of this team

    • Dec 4, 201210:29 am
      by Tom Y.

      Reply

      So you’re kinda LIKING FRANK now?

    • Dec 4, 201212:38 pm
      by MIKEYDE248

      Reply

      The thing I dread the most is Max playing similar to what he has been now all year and the Pistons resign him and keep him starting.  I don’t see Max staying at this level after getting a new contract.

  • Dec 4, 201210:13 am
    by apa8ren9

    Reply

    Good win last night, im glad to see up punish and beat a team we should beat.  With that being said, I have gone through my 5 emotional responses. 
    Denial – This team could make a push for the playoffs, 
    Bargaining.  Please play Drummond and Monroe more, dont play Bynum.
    Anger – Frank is an awful coach, he doesnt know what he is doing.  Me agreeing with frankie d on something (lol)
    Depression -  I actually spent money on Pistons season tickets
    Acceptance -  This is the one Ive finally reached.   We wont contend for a playoff spot, Frank is not here to take us though to contender status.   He is here to guide us through the process of building a culture – whether I like it or not.  We are essentially sacrificing the season to make sure that the players understand the process.  Its a noble idea in theory, but pesky reality gets in the way.   I have to accept that the Pistons are willing to throw away games in order to proceed with this process.   I thought the process was completed last year and we could just compete but its not.   I accept that i do enjoy going to the palace and I have a good time.   I dont like this much but I have accepted this for the 2012-2013 season.
    Having said all of that Frank needs to make better in game adjustments.  Ive heard in interviews that maggette and prince said that the starters minutes were too high in the Dallas game.  It was also part of analysis of the game here.  If we can see that then why cant Frank see this?

  • Dec 4, 201210:17 am
    by Scott Free

    Reply

    I think this game finally presented a better balance of Maxiel/Drummond minutes/combinations and both excelled. That said, I think Drummond should be playing with Monroe for more of his minutes on the court to sweep up the inevitable “and one” attempts… not to mention the second unit sorely needs a few Monroe minutes to keep their offensive flow going.

  • Dec 4, 201210:39 am
    by bugsygod

    Reply

    Detroit is no. 9 in pts per game allowed.  BUT the bigger stat is they are no.3 in field goal % defense!!  That is a GREAT stat, this shows the team has made great improvements on defense.  Defense is the easist way to control your fate on a daily basis, with effort and energy.  Guess Frank is showing to be a a good defensive coach.  im slightly impressed!  now if he would just PLAY DRUMMOND MORE AND MORE WITH MONROE.  yes drummond needs to work on conditioning, yes he will make mistakes… but DAMN when he is in there that paint just shuts right down!  excellent paint patrol

  • Dec 4, 201212:44 pm
    by Derek

    Reply

    Now we need to reduce our turnovers so our defensive stats are more meaningful.  I remember being disgusted by the Memphis game because we were holding them to a lower field goal percentage and beating them on the boards…but we had like 22 turnovers.

    Ball protection is another thing that will contribute to our defense.  When Billups ran the team we had very very few turnovers.  We played a lot of mistake free ball while forcing our opponents to crack under the pressure.

    Baby steps I guess…great win last night.  At this point anytime we win it’s great.

  • Dec 4, 20121:37 pm
    by hirobeats

    Reply

    can we get a video post of drummonds goofy ass assist? =D

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