|Greg Monroe, PF 26 MIN | 1-6 FG | 5-6 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +9
Monroe seemed a step slow on both ends of the court, and that frustrated him into two technical fouls. At least Monroe played mostly within himself prior to his ejection. He kept the ball moving on offense and cleaned the glass on defense. That doesn’t negate his overall poor play, but Monroe’s low-usage game shows a little maturity. I’d much rather get 1-for-6 than 4-for-18 when a player feels off.
|Josh Smith, SF 35 MIN | 8-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +22
If Smith’s teammates didn’t play so well, his tendency to force bad jumpers would have been more glaring. Three times, Smith took a bad long 2-pointer for no other reason than he looked impatient about not having shot lately. Because those attempts to waste possessions didn’t matter, we can focus on everything Smith did right. He made 3-of-5 3-pointers – all of them at least OK looks – and finished well inside. Smith gets a break for his low rebounding numbers on both ends. The Pistons made 57 percent of their shots with Smith on the court, so there were few offensive rebounding opportunities for him. His interior defense was excellent, and when he’s busy forcing misses, it’s his teammates’ responsibility to grab the boards (which they did). Smith’s perimeter defense remains suspect, however – a real problem for a small forward.
|Andre Drummond, C 33 MIN | 12-15 FG | 7-18 FT | 19 REB | 0 AST | 6 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 31 PTS | +25
Drummond was an absolute beast on both ends. His career highs in points, rebounds and steals to go with two blocks give him marks in those four stats that nobody else besides Hakeem Olajuwon achieved since at least 1985-86. And Drummond was as good as the numbers indicate. The 76ers just couldn’t account for him on either end, so they went to hack-a-Drummond. Drummond made just 6-of-14 free throws when sent to the line for two attempts, and the .857 points per possession on those plays probably justified Brett Brown’s strategy, even considering that Philadelphia’s offense would get practically no transition opportunities after free throws. Maurice Cheeks sat Drummond during one stretch of intentional fouling, and if Drummond can raise his free-throw percentage even slightly, Cheeks probably wouldn’t have to do that.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 38 MIN | 7-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 6 REB | 12 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 20 PTS | +10
Jennings did a good job of getting the Pistons into transition, and he did a great job of setting them up for good shots once they were running. His handling of the halfcourt offense was a little dicier, but because he pushed the pace effectively, that didn’t comprise a large portion of his game. He also had a very heads up play trying to shoot a 3-pointer just before the 76ers intentionally fouled Drummond. Jennings didn’t quite get it off, but that play could be an effective counter to hack-a-Drummond. The key is getting upcourt quickly enough to get a decent shot before the intentional foul, just in case the foul isn’t called.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 29 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +7
Caldwell-Pope ran the floor hard, made 2-of-5 3-pointers and defended pretty well. He wasn’t his best at any part of his game, but he was solid at all of them. Games like this, where he plays within himself and complements Detroit’s better players, justify his starting spot.
|Tony Mitchell, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
Mitchell had a nice block and baited (watched?) a Philadelphia transition miss in a mostly uneventful three minutes.
|Josh Harrellson, PF 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +9
Harrellson bothered the 76ers whenever they drove into the paint with him on the court. He also set an illegal screen, which was not only his only notable offensive play, but also wiped out his most-used offensive weapon.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 12 MIN | 1-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 5 PTS | -11
Jerebko was up-and-down all game. He had the ball stolen from him in the backcourt by Michael Carter-Williams, who made a quick layup. Then less than a minute later, Jerebko harassed Carter-Williams on an inbound to get a steal and layup of his own. Later, Jerebko made a nice cut then muffed the pass for what would have been a layup. His defense was also hit or miss, and his shot selection was fine, but one negative play stands out. Jerebko missed a 3-pointer, and while he watched the shot, Evan Turner beat him upcourt for an easy layup.
|Luigi Datome, SF 3 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
Datome worked hard enough on defense and on the glass to justify a rotation spot for a dead-eye shooter, but he also missed both his shot attempts. Really, these few-minute glimpses of Datome tell us next to nothing about him.
|Kyle Singler, SF 16 MIN | 1-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -2
Singler didn’t make much impact, though a couple garbage-time misses make his underwhelming shooting line look worse than it really was.
|Peyton Siva, PG 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -1
Siva applied excellent defensive pressure. The offense appeared to be rather basic when he ran it, even in the second quarter while played with other rotation players. On a related note, the offense was very ineffective when Siva directed it.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 32 MIN | 7-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +11
Stuckey is an absolute bull. He uses his strength to get to the basket and create short mid-range attempts. This was far from his best performance of the season, but Stuckey’s style makes him consistently good when he’s engaged, and right now, he’s engaged. Also, Stuckey defends really hard after making mistakes.
A game after bungling Drummond’s minutes, Cheeks did much better. Sitting Drummond in the third quarter when the 76ers were intentionally fouling made sense, because several Detroit players were playing well offensively. There was no need to disrupt their rhythm and rely on Drummond’s free-throw shooting for scoring. Other nights, that decision might not be so easy, though. Also I wouldn’t have minded if Drummond chased his 20th rebound, but props to Cheeks for sitting the center late. A 30-20 game isn’t a “thing,” and a 31-19 game is just fine. The Pistons’ best player, but a flawed player, got 33 minutes in a resounding win. That’s enough.
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