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Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe overcome Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith in win over Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets 99 Final
Recap | Box Score
103 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF 34 MIN | 10-18 FG | 2-4 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | -4

Monroe ran the floor hard and crashed the glass even harder. He’s a skilled player, but high effort like he displayed tonight takes him to the next level. Add a couple nice passes and quiet defense (which is good for him), and Monroe deserves stellar marks.

Josh Smith, SF 35 MIN | 3-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +1

Smith did a good job getting inside, taking eight shots in the paint. He had poor results on them tonight, making just 2-of-8, but those are good looks for him. His 1-for-5 shooting outside the paint was mostly due to regular ole poor shot selection. His defense was unimpressive, though it didn’t sink to problematic.

Andre Drummond, C 39 MIN | 8-11 FG | 6-8 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | -1

Drummond is too big. He jumps too high. He’s too strong. His hands are too good. On one play, he caught a pass behind him while barreling through the paint, absorbed a foul and threw the ball toward the hoop. It was a little bit of luck that it went through the rim, but Drummond deserved full credit for giving it a chance. On another play, he reverse tipped in an airball that fell short of the rim. (He actually tried to reverse dunk it.) His conditioning could probably still use some work, as he definitely faded. But Drummond was so good earlier, he all but locked up a good grade. Oh, and his free-throw shooting might have finally turned for the better. Drummond changed his routine at the foul line. Now, he waits several beatt, takes a deep breath, spins the ball in his hands and then shoots without dribbling. Small sample, but it obviously worked tonight.

Brandon Jennings, PG 35 MIN | 3-14 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +3

Jennings looked for his own shot way too often considering how well his teammates were shooting. He had his usual difficulties keep the opposing point guard in front of him, but Jennings gets a small reprieve tonight, because Deron Williams (22 points and nine assists) also gave Caldwell-Pope and Rodney Stuckey issues. It’s tough to slam Jennings too much when not even better defenders had much success.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 19 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -5

Twice, Caldwell-Pope launched a 3-pointer and crashed toward the rim right after releasing the shot to try for an offensive rebound. It’s the type of effort many players display only when they think they missed. But both Caldwell-Pope’s shots swished. He’s developed a lot of good habits while working through his poor shooting to start his career. Hopefully, he doesn’t lose those once he gets comfortable in the NBA.

Josh Harrellson, PF 11 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +18

Harrellson was +18 in 11 minutes, and while much that was coincidence, he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. On both ends of the court, Harrellson makes the little plays that help a team function well.

Kyle Singler, SF 23 MIN | 5-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | -2

Singler is a very good cutter, but his jumper is merely an OK secondary weapon. Tonight, Singler deftly focused on cuts and used his jumper only as a threat to open cutting lanes. Unfortunately, his defense was somewhat ineffective.

Chauncey Billups, SG 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +1

Billups was fine, passing well, though he forced a long 3-pointer that missed badly seemingly because he got impatient with such a reduced offensive role. But the Pistons’ nearly blew their 21-point lead, and they had a net rating of -76.8(!) while he was on the court in the fourth quarter. Obviously, that’s far from entirely Billups’ fault, though he applied no defensive pressure on a late Paul Pierce 3-pointer. But Billups is the one who bragged about being capable of solving the Pistons’ fourth-quarter woes. Nope. Not even close. Who would have though role players don’t have that ability?

Rodney Stuckey, SG 29 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +9

Stuckey had the size and speed to take his defender, typically a lighter Brooklyn guard, wherever he wanted. Then, Stuckey had the body control to make his shots. This was a real expert offensive game from him. Stuckey was far from perfect defensively, and multiple players gave him trouble, but his effort was certainly there.

Maurice Cheeks

The Pistons’ defensive scheme gives stretch fours way too much room on the perimeter, even accounting for the jumbo frontcourt’s inherent defensive issues. Even two-big lineups have the same problem, because both bigs stay in the lane too resolutely. It’s a fine initial plan, but it doesn’t work in every matchup. Mirza Teletovic exploited the issue with 5-of-6 3-point shooting, and Cheeks never adjusted. It nearly cost Detroit a win.


  • Dec 14, 201312:42 am
    by brigs


    good win the team needed it but i cant help but feeling that all of this is for nothing unless we can swing a trade

  • Dec 14, 201312:55 am
    by Nick N


    Joe is not gonna make a big trade unless it is for a superstar. As bad as the pistons have been lookin as of tonite we are a 5th seed rite now. Unless they make a fall out of the playoff race or get a trade offer he can’t refuse Joe is not gonna make a trade.

  • Dec 14, 20131:02 am
    by jg22


    Good win

  • Dec 14, 20131:25 am
    by Javell



  • Dec 14, 20131:46 am
    by Zdwtr


    I get a feeling we will play the hawk in the first round

  • Dec 14, 20132:08 am
    by Jacob


    OTIS, what if we could trade Jennings, and or Smith, instead of Monroe? What do you think?

    • Dec 14, 20137:25 am
      by Max


      God damn, man!   I’d be reluctantly willing to pay Monroe, with his feet in the mud, the max if we didn’t have a center already but sometimes you have to realize when you’ve been lucky enough to have two centers fall to you that you have to get whatever you can in trade for the one who doesn’t fit.  
      Fat Joe has been content to sit on his hands for seven long years now while the sleepy fans have made every excuse for him and I’d rather shit in my own mouth than watch Monroe with his drug glazed expression sign a max deal that will have the Pistons sitting permanently in the basement.   Of course, all pudgy Dumars cares about his job security so don’t expect any trades before the deadline because he will do anything to preserve the illusion of progress by trying to make the playoffs in the worst conference anyone has ever seen.  After you dopes have finished drinking the Kool Aid over a meaningless first round when the Pistons will play some of the ugliest playoff basketball ever recorded, the team will go through a catastrophic summer when it will be impossible to make any good decisions because the only good decision that could have been–trade Monroe before the deadline–will already be too late.  
      I think it should be noted that I don’t believe Monroe and Drummond are any kind of fit and at least Smith can play defense if he’s not out of position.  How can any team think they can win with two centers and a power forward playing small forward?  Teams win with balance and it’s just not working as I said along it would not.  I guess you dupes think it’s possible because lazy Joe says so.   Everything is going to play out exactly as I have said so come back to me later when you come to your senses because you will find I am a very reasonable man.  
      With Pissed Off Regards, 

      • Dec 14, 20137:40 am
        by Bob


        Calling everyone names does not make you right – and you’re not! Unless someone is offering Lebron or somebody of that caliber, it wouldn’t be smart to get rid of Greg. You really don’t know what you’re talking about. Monroe, in his third year, is still not at his peak. In many ways, such as his running the floor, he keeps getting better.

        • Dec 14, 20137:58 am
          by Max


          I wrote the post and signed it, Otis.  You’re arguing with a parody.  

          • Dec 14, 20139:20 am
            by Patti1

            A good parody, at that!  You captured his voice perfectly.

          • Dec 14, 20133:31 pm
            by OOtis

            Max, quit trying to imitate me.  I LOVE Monroe!  If we get two all-stars, he’ll be the second.  Clutch free throw at the end.  Keep Moose, trade Drummond!

  • Dec 14, 20134:23 am
    by Venice


    The Suns are reportedly looking for trading their picks for a “Star”. I hope Joe calls them and ask for them to get Smith. i would be ecstatic if we could somehow get a 1st round this year and a expiring for Smith.

    • Dec 14, 20137:34 am
      by I HATE FRANK


      Trade their pick for Josh Smith…how does that help us this season? I still say josh smith is more value to this current team than Greg because of his defense… that fact that street fours and fives continue to kill us is disheartening 

      • Dec 14, 20137:55 am
        by Venice


        Whether you like it or not, this season’s purpose is only making the playoffs and having a playoff atmosphere engraved in our players. Even with Smith not playing, our team is already a playoff team in this weak conference. I agree with what Max or Otis said that teams win with balance. I would be okay with Singler starting for us for another year. We could always get a starting SF in the lottery next year which is considered as the greatest draft class since Lebron’s class. With Singler, we would get a decent floor spacer with Monroe and Drummond playing around the rim. We would also improve in our 3pt defense because if you look at the game, Smith always tends to go near the rim to block shots. He doesn’t stay in the perimeter to guard his matchup. Atleast Singler would be able stay infront of his man.

        • Dec 14, 201310:25 am
          by Some Dude


          @ Venice
          With or without Smith the Pistons are making the playoffs. Smith just helps them get there a little more. And it seems you don’t know what the “lottery” is. It’s for bad teams, that don’t make the playoffs. So there is no way the Pistons can be a lottery team unless they tank. Which is not gonna happen. And next years draft class is highly overrated. There are probably like 5 good players with star potential but after that the rest of the class is fairly average. Trading Monroe for a legit experienced starting SF would be better than drafting one. Having another rookie on the team will just mean more player development and a lot of losing. So that’s not a good idea. If they wanna improve now and for the future. They need to make a big trade before the deadline.

          • Dec 14, 201311:20 am
            by Huddy

            You don’t seem to know who the “Suns” are…the team Venice was saying they trade Smith to in order to obtain the lottery pick (they have 4 1st round picks in 2014).  No Draft has 10 stars in it, that doesn’t mean this year doesn’t have a lot of talent…either way a pick from the Suns could easily put the Pistons in the running for one of those top 5 players.  Moving Smith’s contract and the possibility of adding an expiring contract to the Suns deal he proposed also would give the Pistons the opportunity to sign a good veteran SF in free agency since Smith has been so up and down in production at SF.
            I doubt the Pistons make that trade happen, but it is not a terrible proposal. 

          • Dec 14, 201311:25 am
            by Huddy

            10 obvious stars*

  • Dec 14, 20138:01 am
    by Lee


    In case it escaped Dan’s notice, the Pistons only took the lead when Chauncey was orchestrating the offense in the second quarter.  He had five assists in under thirteen minutes as a playmaker instead of a playtaker like Jennings.  Sorry but when Chauncey is in, whoever is playing at that moment looks like a team instead of five individuals playing isolation ball the way they do when Jennings or even Stuckey is running the show.  I think Stuckey is great as a shooting guard and I wish Jennings was a shooting guard and not a point guard as well.  
    While I’m wishing, I wish Mo Cheeks had the guts to bench Josh Smith until he learns how not to chuck so many bad shots. Perhaps Josh Harrellson wasn’t doing enough to impress Dan, but I was hoping Cheeks would take Smith out and put Jorts back in.  At least he understands the fundamentals of defense!  

    • Dec 14, 201312:47 pm
      by T Casey


      That’s a good point about Chauncey. Also, it seems Monroe seems to be able to find his offense more when Chauncey plays as he’s the only pg on the team who recognizes and is willing to feed him the ball in the post when he’s got it going.

  • Dec 14, 20139:10 am
    by frankie d


    Great headline!  In fact i was thinking exactly the same thing as i watched the game.
    It would be hilarious if it wasnt so true and if the circumstances were not likely to lead to such travesties as monroe being traded.

  • Dec 14, 201310:21 am
    by lisa


    I think Cheek did take Josh out in the 4th quarter, it appear a benching to me. Maybe it was a rest, i know I was yelling at the TV to take him out. I was also happy to see Chauncey go in at the very end of the game.

    • Dec 14, 201310:26 am
      by Some Dude


      Smith wasn’t benched, he played most of the 4th quarter. He was taken out because he’s a bad FT shooter and the Nets were fouling. 

  • Dec 14, 201311:25 am
    by Huddy


    I actually didn’t think Jennings took too many bad shots.  It seemed like he missed too many good ones like Smith did.  He missed 3-4 shots close in (those stupid floaters that always look like prayers) and a lot of those came off decent ball movement…he just didn’t finish them.  A couple fall aways and such (some because of late shot clock) but if he could just learn to use the glass or accept contact instead of pushing the ball on that high floater he would be more effective.

    • Dec 14, 201312:57 pm
      by frankie d


      the problem with jennings is that he often hunts for shots.
      it is almost like a little light goes off in his head, a timer, that says he hasn’t taken a shot in “x”number of times down the court and then he starts dribbling around looking for a shot.
      chauncy’s presence is great – even though his defense is definitely a problem – because he does settle the team down and he does know how to get them into sets.  when he is on the court, the team actually looks like it has a plan of attack, the floor often gets balanced and the team looks like a legitimate nba offensive unit.
      with jennings, it looks like utter chaos, most times, with jennings simply dribbling around until he finds a passing lane or an opening for his own shot, if he hasn’t taken one in a while.
      jennings is a talented player, with certain undeniable offensive skills.  he is simply not a guy i trust with the ball in his hands.  the more he plays without the ball, the better for the team.

      • Dec 14, 20131:27 pm
        by sebastian


        You know, Pistons Pals, I am at the point where I think that it may be a good idea that Joe places a call to James Dolan and offer B. Jennings straight-up for Iman Shumpert and return Stuckey, who has found his niche as a 6th-man SG, to the starting PG position.
        B. Jennings appears to have too much selfishness in his game. He dribbles too damn much. He takes poor shoots and dominates the shot clock with his dribble. He gets into too many damn personal duels with opposing guards.
        Something has to give.
        Or maybe trade: B. Jennings to New York for Shumpert and move Shumpert and Moose to Boston for Rondo.
        WE need a pass oriented, defensive-minded PG to make this thing work. Or either, WE need a skilled, two SF to play with Moose and Dre (thus finding a swap for Josh).
        Joe has to come up with a move and its got to be a good one. 

      • Dec 14, 20131:53 pm
        by Lee


        Totally  agree Frankie D.  Billups is slow on defense, true.  Jennings is faster but his man still gets away from him.  I really enjoy those moments when Billups is  running the team, and they look like a legitimate NBA offensive unit  like you say.  Besides Andre being spectacular and and Moose running and making big plays last night,  it was my favorite part of the game.  Unfortunately Bynum appears to be set to come back tomorrow night.  He’s ok.  I’m just tired of hero ball.  

  • Dec 14, 201311:42 am
    by Jacob


    If Josh Smith keeps attacking the basket, and this team learns how to play defense, you could be looking at a pretty good team. Also they made need to add a 3 and D guy at SF.

  • Dec 14, 201311:45 am
    by jg22


    You called Smith’s defense “unimpressive, but didn’t sink to problematic”. 
    He was guarding Joe Johnson who finished 5-16 for only 12 points. How is that unimpressive, or anywhere near approaching problematic?
    Sometimes I think we are just being trolled for reactions with these postgame grades/comments  lol.

    • Dec 15, 20136:41 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Smith was guarding Johnson for only one of his shots — a 3-pointer Johnson made.

  • Dec 14, 201312:06 pm
    by Cooper


    Great post and great blog! A few typos though.

  • Dec 14, 20133:22 pm
    by OOtis


    Monroe was a MONSTER out there last night – GO MOOSE!

  • Dec 14, 20135:01 pm
    by Keith


    The East is so bad right now it’s incredibly difficult to figure out what to do with this team. If we were in the West, or if this wasn’t arguably the worst conference of all time, we would be a lottery team deciding between tanking and making a trade for the playoffs. As it is, we’ll make the playoffs handily, even if we don’t get any better, because everyone else is a flaming tire fire. That said, this is probably the worst draft to make the playoffs if you don’t have a quality team already in place due to the talent available.

    Tanking may not actually even be an option. We could trade Dre and Moose at the deadline and still probably limp into the playoffs. It’s maddening. I think if the team has any designs on being anything in the next 4 years, they need to trade to get better. And getting better, in this case, is two-fold. We need to grab a SF who can defend and shoot. We need to get rid of Brandon Jennings. Doing either makes us better, but doing both gives the team a chance to develop into something really good.

    Smith or Monroe need to be traded for a SF. Targets I’d like: Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Harrison Barnes, and Arron Afllalo (though he’s a SG).

    Brandon Jennings needs to be dumped for a passer/defender. The guy was a terrible fit from day one, and his game continues to hinder the rest of the team. Some targets: Rondo, Kyle Lowry, and Andre Miller.

    A not great but not terrible trade would be Jennings and Monroe for Rondo and Jeff Green. The Celtics go into tank mode, we get a serviceable SF and pass-first PG.

  • Dec 15, 201312:19 am
    by Ryank


    Josh Smith hold Joe Johnson to 12 point 5 – 16 from the field and he earns a D.  

    • Dec 15, 20136:42 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Smith was guarding Johnson for only one of his shots — a 3-pointer Johnson made.

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