|Greg Monroe, C 38 MIN | 10-18 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 24 PTS | +10
Monroe played as effectively as he typically does in his good games, but his form was a bit more polished. He made most of his shots outside the restricted area, and he even shot 2-for-2 outside the paint. Monroe hadn’t had this many assists without a turnover this season.
|Andre Drummond, C 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -9
Drummond didn’t have his his usual energy. Maybe his lack of stamina after sitting for so long is catching up to him.
|Jose Calderon, PG 43 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +11
Calderon has one of the best shooting strokes in the league, and he could take advantage of it as much as he did tonight more often. Best of all, he didn’t stop running the offense to score his most points since before Valentine’s Day. Raptors fans gave Calderon multiple standing ovations in his return to Toronto, where he spent his first 7.5 seasons. Calderon even headed toward the home locker room at halftime before realizing his mistake and reversing course. He’s an excellent player, and that’s why the Raptors miss him on the court. He’s also a class act, and that’s why Raptors fans miss him in every respect.
|Brandon Knight, PG 29 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -5
DeMar DeRozan is more physically mature than Knight, and the Raptors guard used that advantage to score at times tonight. DeRozan isn’t efficient enough to really make Knight pay, but this game shows how much adding a little muscle this offseason could help Knight defensively.
|Kyle Singler, SG 19 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -9
Rudy Gay is a gifted scorer, and he used all his moves on Singler, who struggled to disrupt Gay in even the slightest.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 28 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +19
Jerebko really upgraded the perimeter defense behind Singler. Jerebko played exactly how I’ve been hope he would all season: hustling, rebounding and defending. When he’s not trying to be the alpha scorer, he’s still one of the league’s best off-the-bench role players.
|Khris Middleton, SF 25 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +16
Middleton displayed a body control I hadn’t seen from him before. He’s had a higher field-goal percentage only once before (a 1-for-1 game), and he pulled it off by twisting and leaning through traffic to make several shots.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 28 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +17
Stuckey dribbled the air out of the ball as usual, but he can still be very effective when playing that way. The question about Stuckey is not whether he’s any good. He is. The question is whether he’s good enough for a team to thrive when allowing him to play the high-usage role that suits him best.
Frank often plays the starters together or the reserves together for long stretches of the second half if either unit is playing well. A problem with that strategy is subpar players on one unit get to play at the expense of superior players on the other unit just because their linemates are doing well. It’s a bit more difficult to mix and match players and determine which will click well in unorthodox lineups, but good coaches do it. Tonight, Frank did it. Behind a Calderon-Stuckey-Middleton-Jerebko-Monroe lineup, which was +13 in 13 minutes, the Pistons befuddled the Raptors, going on 13-0 and 10-0 runs in the fourth quarter.
Most Valuable Player
Rudy Gay. Gay, deservedly, has a reputation as an inefficient shooter, but he didn’t live up to it tonight. Gay had scored this much (34 points) six times before, but he’d always needed at least four more shots to get there than the 18 he took tonight.
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