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Detroit Pistons blow 20-point lead then bench Andre Drummond just to ensure Charlotte Bobcats hold on for win

Charlotte Bobcats 116 Final
Recap | Box Score
106 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 13 PTS | -9Unlike Josh Smith, Monroe continues having issues dealing with lack of space inside, a downside of Detroit’s jumbo lineup. Still, he can use a nice spin move to get a good look in the paint at times. Monroe’s defense, ranging from lazy to ineffective, in the fourth quarter was instrumental in the Pistons blowing their 20-point lead. He’s never been a great defender, but he’s a good rebounder, so why was he not attempting to block out and allowing key Charlotte putbacks?
Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 41 MIN | 8-20 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -15-for 6 inside the restricted area, 3-for-14 outside it. Sight. Smith makes just enough jumpers to convince himself they’re good looks. He made his first shot tonight, an open long 2. On his second shot, he airballed a contested long 2. At least Smith was really hustling on defense, swarming all over the court to make plays. He wasn’t quite as strong locking up his man, tough.
Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 34 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-2 FT | 15 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 5 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -21Drummond got more post-ups than usual, and they yielded mixed results. But I love Drummond becoming more involved in the offense, and I’ll happily ride out the growing pains. Drummond is so big big and nimble, he can get point-blank looks over nearby defenders who barely bother him. He just needs to get more comfortable with his footwork and finishing, but the early signs of dominance are there. In the meantime, he’s still consistently contributing offensively by dominating the offensive glass. Drummond also used his size to his benefit defensively tonight. He held Al Jefferson to 4-of-14 shooting while guarding the Charlotte big man, including blocking three of Jefferson’s shots, but more on that later.
Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 37 MIN | 10-20 FG | 3-5 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 26 PTS | -10Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. That’s Kemba Walker repeatedly blowing by Jennings. Jennings had one great defensive play, a backcourt steal and layup, on Walker. Otherwise, Walker (34 points on 17 shots) abused him. Jennings scored well, did an OK job of setting up his teammates and protected the ball excellently. But his defense stunk.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -7It’s not totally Caldwell-Pope’s fault his teammates ignored him for most of the game, but because he can’t do more than spot up, he’ll rarely make huge contributions. Though Caldwell-Pope’s defensive effort was high per usual, Gerald Henderson gave him fits. Even on a good defensive play, getting a steal, Caldwell-Pope’s limited skill set hurt him right after. Bringing the ball upcourt through merely light traffic, he was stripped.
Josh Harrellson, PF Shot Chart 18 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +11Harrellson missed three point-blank attempts on one possession, and then he caught fire, hitting five straight jumpers. He made an on open mid-range shot and then built from there, knocking down a couple 3s and semi-guarded shots. For a while, The Palace had Harrellson fever. He showed the diversity of his offensive game, driving and dropping for a Monroe dunk and cutting hard off the ball, though he dropped the pass. Defensively, got pushed too deep under the basket a couple times, preventing him from contesting drivers. But he ran the court hard to block a transition layup and had decent results stepping out to defend the pick-and-roll.
Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -7Singler made the Pistons’ ball movement pay off, hitting 2-of-3 3-pointers. Henderson gave him trouble, too, though.
Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 13 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -3Bismack Biyombo literally blocked most of Bynum’s shots. The Pistons point guard just didn’t seem to have enough lift tonight. Even his passes lacked lift. Bynum’s lob to Drummond wasn’t high enough, so Drummond had to lay in the ball rather than dunk it.
Chauncey Billups, SG Shot Chart 13 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 3 PTS | -3Billups is a smart player. I know that. But he didn’t look it tonight, or at least he didn’t appear to realize his limitations. He hit a 3-pointer with a hand in his face, and then he forced a long 3-pointer while guarded and airballed it. He had nice drive and dish to Bynum for a corner 3-pointer, and then he tried to drive by Ramon Sessions, who was closely guarding him, and had ball stolen. The Pistons waste too many possessions trying to push their luck. I can’t be surprised when Jennings and Smith do it. Billups should know better.
Maurice Cheeks Lawrence Frank
Al Jefferson made three straight Charlotte shots midway through the fourth quarter, the first two over Drummond and the third over Smith. On the next Bobcats possession, Drummond, as he’d done most of the night, kept Jefferson from getting too deep. Jennings doubled anyway, and Jefferson kicked to Walker, who made a 3-pointer that put Detroit down 103-99 and capped a 9-0 Charlotte run. Cheeks Frank pulled Drummond after that sequence, even though, as noted above, Drummond had done an awesome job on Jefferson in aggregate. With Drummond on the bench, Jefferson abused Monroe on the next two possessions and then hit a ridiculous jumper over Smith on the third post-timeout possession, putting Detroit down 110-102. The final shot was unguardable, but Drummond would have certainly fared better than Monroe on the previous two. I don’t care about free throws. Drummond is the Pistons’ best player, and he was dominating the game’s most-pivotal matchup at that point. Detroit needs to ride him in that situation. There’s no excuse for Cheeks Frank to keep Drummond on the bench. I thought this problem ended after last season.
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