|Greg Monroe, C 38 MIN | 10-18 FG | 3-5 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 23 PTS | +19
Monroe can pass in tight spaces, and that will be key to making a pairing with Andre Drummond work. Half of Monroe’s assists tonight went to Drummond. Monroe is definitely trying to make the combination work, taking three mid-range shots with Drummond on the court (all misses) and none with Drummond on the bench.
|Andre Drummond, C 34 MIN | 10-11 FG | 9-17 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 29 PTS | +3
Drummond very effectively uses his wide frame, good hands and explosive leaping ability to create dunk opportunities in Detroit’s half-court offense. He’s getting to the point where he can get and convert those looks, even in traffic, which is important for playing with Monroe. Drummond’s career-high scoring output was boosted by Cleveland’s decision to intentionally foul him late in the game, but he came through with his fourth-best single-game free-throw percentage.
|Brandon Knight, PG 35 MIN | 2-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +8
After efficiently scoring 25 and 20 points in his last two games, Knight once again struggled to shoot well. He hasn’t scored more than 10 points in three straight games since a run that began Feb. 20.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 37 MIN | 5-8 FG | 6-9 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +19
Since March 31, Stuckey is averaging 20 points, five assists and two turnovers per game. He’s finally turning the corner. Right? … Right? … Hello? … Is anyone still reading?
|Kyle Singler, SG 27 MIN | 1-7 FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +28
Singler looked off, both in putting himself in position to shoot and in shooting.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +2
Jerebko was very active tonight, and that’s why what has become an off night for him was still better than most of his early-season performances.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 6 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -13
Defensive. Disaster. It’s very difficult to hide a big man defensively, and that’s what really limits Villanueva’s value. It’s almost impossible to devise a defensive scheme that will prevent opponents from attacking him.
|Khris Middleton, SF 21 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -21
Middleton definitely looks more comfortable and confident lately. Hopefully, this is the first major step in him becoming a rotation-caliber player by next season.
|Will Bynum, PG 21 MIN | 7-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -1
Bynum hadn’t heated up like this since mid-March. Barring an exception performance in either direction during the Pistons’ final three games, tonight will be a nice reminder heading into free agency of what he can do.
|Kim English, SG 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -9
Unless the Pistons see something in English’s on-ball defense he hasn’t shown in games, it’s increasingly difficult to envision him returning next year.
Kudos to Frank for giving Drummond and Monroe 26 minutes together. Offensively, they balanced each other, even though they shared a tight space. Defensively, they had a few issues, but I think those were more related to Tristan Thompson going off than a fundamental problem related to them playing together.
Frank leaving Drummond on the court when Cleveland intentionally fouled in the fourth quarter also worked, though it won’t every night unless Drummond boosts his free-throw percentage.The Pistons scored 1.286 points per possession when Cleveland intentionally fouled Drummond(not counting Thompson’s boneheaded/tanktastic decision to foul him inside two minutes, which resulted in two Stuckey free throws and the ball). The NBA’s top offense scores 1.103 points per possession, and coming off free throws, Detroit’s defense has an opportunity to set.
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