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3-on-3: Fourth-Quarter Struggles

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.

1. The Pistons have been one of the NBA’s worst teams when it comes to closing out teams late in the fourth quarter. Is this a the kind of smaller issue that will go away with time or, at this point, is it a significant and obvious issue?

Dan Feldman: It’s a minor issue, but it’s definitely more than a non-issue. If games ended after the third quarter, the Pistons would be 18-15. Only the Denver Nuggets benefit more from that alternate reality. But this still too small a sample to panic about.

Tim Thielke: The Pistons are playing opponents to a draw in the first quarter, they’re +1.5 in the second, -0.3 in the third, and -3.2 in the fourth. That’s not a big enough disparity to draw conclusions, but it is enough to raise questions.

Brady Fredericksen: It’s always a significant issue, but it’s one that I think will eventually work itself out. Tim makes a good point — the Pistons aren’t playing the same in the fourth quarter. That’s obvious, the results don’t lie, but they just settle offensively. If you’re not going to defend well, you’ve gotta avoid the scoring droughts.

2. Put yourself in Maurice Cheeks position, what are you doing to alleviate these issues?

Dan Feldman: I’m pulling Brandon Jennings aside and telling him no stop trying to take over games. The Pistons, like most teams, function best when they’re playing unselfishly. Then, I tell the rest of the team not to worry about fourth quarters, that they shouldn’t press to solve an issue that might be nothing more than random variance.

Tim Thielke: Stop pulling Andre Drummond when he gets in foul trouble. Let him play through it to put the team in a better spot before the difficult fourth quarter rolls around. Maybe he avoids further fouling and you look good. Maybe he fouls out early and you’ve maximized the court time that you could have gotten out of him. Then you don’t have to second guess decisions of whether or not to play him in crunch time when his rebounding is an asset, but his free throw shooting is a liability.

Brady Fredericksen: Find some organization. To Cheeks’ credit, he’s beginning to put the Pistons in good spots offensively. I’m sure when you were a pretty good point guard in your playing days, you’ve probably got a feel for at least seeing what works and what doesn’t for a guy. The problem is his point guard(s) aren’t always as aware of what works best all the time. I can’t bash Jennings’ shooting because it’s been just as valuable late at times. According to Sports Illustrated, he’s averaging five points and two assists in the fourth quarter — better numbers than Kyle Lowry, Ty Lawson and Ricky Rubio.

3. These struggles aren’t based on just one issue, but if you had to dump the majority of the blame on one specific for the late-game troubles, what would it be?

Dan Feldman:  Jennings shooting too much and at the expense of Drummond and Greg Monroe. Among the Pistons’ 10 minutes leaders, Jennings’ shots per minute he’s on the floor increase by most from quarters 1-3 to fourth quarter/overtime. For Jennings to get those extra shots (shots he doesn’t make at a higher clip than earlier in the game), as pointed out by Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys, Monroe and Drummond — two of the team’s most-efficient scorers — suffer most.

Tim Thielke: I tend to think that much of the quarter-to-quarter variance is just randomness. But teams undeniably go to the line more in the 4th. And free throw shooting is one of Detroit’s greatest weaknesses.

Brady Fredericksen: Ball movement. I don’t want to place all the blame on Jennings — although that would be really easy — but the ball legitimately stops once they get late in the game. As the point guard, Jennings’ main objective is to keep the offense flowing, but somehow the team always just stands around. Maybe it plays into the fact that Jennings is a proponent of Hero Ball, but when the Pistons get up in the fourth quarter, they play keep away. You can’t win in the NBA like that.

45 Comments

  • Jan 3, 20142:39 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    They play scared and when they have leads they play not to lose.   It’s gross. 
    Great point by Tim regarding not sitting Drummond but on that score, I wonder how the numbers look but it doesn’t seem like the Pistons dominate the offensive glass in the 4th quarter the way they do during the rest of the game.  Does Drummond run out of gas in the 4th? 

    • Jan 3, 20143:10 pm
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      Prorating to play 12 minutes per quarter, Drummond grabs 4.2 rebounds in the first, 4.7 in the second, 5.1 in the third, and 4.2 in the fourth. Draw whatever conclusions you will.

      • Jan 3, 20143:49 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        I guess there is nothing to draw from that.  Since you got the numbers handy.  What does his minutes breakdown look like? 

      • Jan 4, 201411:59 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        I just realized your breakdown is for rebounds when I was talking about offensive rebounds.   Maybe they are the same too but your numbers don’t really speak to it. 

        • Jan 5, 20142:35 am
          by oats

          Reply

          It follows the same basic pattern. Prorating to 12 minutes it’s 1.6 in the first, 1.8 in the second, 2.5 in the third, and 1.8 in the fourth. He plays 8.1 minutes in the first, 8.6 in the second, 8.3 in the third, and 7.8 in the fourth. That would give him offensive rebounding totals of 1.1 in the first, 1.3 in the second, 1.7 in the third, and 1.2 in the fourth.
           
          Anyways, that made me wonder what the actual offensive rebounding numbers for the team were. 3.5 in the first, 3.7 in the second, 3.9 in the third, and 3.2 in the fourth. It is down by a bit, but not exactly a lot less. That seems like just random variation to me.

          • Jan 5, 20145:50 am
            by Max

            Thanks, Oats. 

  • Jan 3, 20144:03 pm
    by D_S_V

    Reply

    The narrative I place on the 4th quarter is that it becomes closer to playoff type basketball at this time. Offense plays more conservatively, and transition points are tougher to come by (one of the few strengths you could say about the Pistons as a team). Defenses also tighten up and it exposes the flaws the Pistons have in the halfcourt. 
    Again, I’d call that a narrative, at best. I’d be curious in general if turnovers/transition points in general take a dip in the 4th. The DBB post linked in the article is an interesting read that sheds light on who is taking the shots (and missing them) – no huge surprise there – but that’s what you get for acquiring not one but two inefficient, volume shooters and don’t consider their fit in a 5 man unit. 

  • Jan 3, 20145:38 pm
    by Otis

    Reply

    The other ones were fine, but this question requires neither three questions nor three people. The Pistons routinely lose in the fourth quarter because they are a bad team that almost literally can not put the better five man unit on the floor. Because their top players play overlapping positions and instead of complementing each other, they make each other worse. When it happens almost 100% of the time and you think it’s just the worst stretch of luck in history, you need to ask yourself if maybe you’re just being a homer.

  • Jan 3, 20146:17 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    I agree with Brady on this one but I’ll elaborate a bit further. I think we lose our close games because we CANNOT whatsover run anything close to a half court offense and as we all know come the end of the game teams are switched on defensively. Early in games we look good when we get out and run which is largely due to our defense triggering fast break points but once again that drys up at the end of games because the game is usually slowed down to a snail pace. Finally I think we are finding Jennings (not defending him) takes a lot of shots towards the end of the shot clock (4th quarter) because once again we have no half court offense which in turn results in bad shots. Also if anyone here sees running isolation plays through Monroe as half court offense then we are really doomed to fail because that usually results in:
    1) passing up jump shots
    2) low pecentage shoot and hope hook shot
    3) turnover
    4) passing it back to Jennings with 2-3 seconds on the clock

    • Jan 3, 20146:55 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      the reason jennings takes so many shots at the end of the shot clock is that he fiddles with the ball most of that shot clock and often the team is left with few viable options.
      and he often looks to be incompetent at running any semblance of a half court offense.
      it reminds me of the orphan who complains about being an orphan, after he has murdered both his parents.  
      similarly, if jennings played with even a nominal commitment to use the pistons’ big guys, especially when games get tight, things would be markedly different.   there is simply no excuse – none, zilch – for jennings ball hogging and playing hero ball when he has options like monroe on post ups and drummond on pick and rolls.
      cheeks has to share part of the blame, obviously, but the options at PG are pretty slim now, considering how bad chauncey has looked lately.
      but this is almost entirely a jennings problem.  he’s won a couple of games with that hero ball nonsense, but he’s lost a lot more by trying to take games over, while he ignores the team’s best options on offense. 

      • Jan 3, 201411:11 pm
        by gmehl

        Reply

        As stated above I don’t think it’s all Jennings fault. If you put yourself in his shoes and you have Smith on the perimeter ready to jack up a 3, Monroe in the post ready to hoist up wild hook shots, Drummond with a severely limited offensive repertoire and KCP passing up open shots then you cannot simply blame solely him. This team is flawed to begin with and has no one to nail 3′s towards the end of the shot clock. You give this flawed team a couple of 3 point marksman that can hit them at an ok clip then things will slightly improve.

        • Jan 4, 20142:51 pm
          by frankie d

          Reply

          you are free to characterize monroe and drummond in whatever way you like.
          however, both monroe and drummond, despite their limitations, are simply much better offensive options than jennings, or so the last 3-4 years of stats tell us.  (drummond’s foul shooting complicates things, but he is still a much more efficient offensive player than jennings.)  
          it is pretty simple.  jennings  needs to find ways to use monroe and drummond and stop ignoring them as he pounds the rock and hunts for his shot.
          run a legitimate pick and roll with drummond – and don’t do what he does so often which is to simply use the pick to free up his dribble and get space for his shot.  and if that is not there, reset and look to monroe on the post or at the free throw line.  or if neither of those options is there, singler or kcp is usually open somewhere behind the line.
           and then if that is not available, maybe look for your own shot.  
          unfortunately, and especially later in the game, jennings looks for his own shot as the first, second and third option far too often.  the team has several ways it can score at any time in the game.  it is up to the point guard to figure out how to use those players and how to run the offense.  so far, jennings has been an absolute fail in that regard.  simply allowing the defense to dictate that he pass the ball to smith – because they intentionally leave him open so that smith will, like the idiot BB player he is, take a ridiculously low percentage jumper – is the easiest and the dumbest thing – along with hoisting contested 3 pointers – he can do.  unfortunately, he too often takes the dumb and easy approach and the result has been disastrous.

  • Jan 3, 20147:30 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Lol…at Dan blaming Jennings for 4th qrts…when he us the only player that can create offense

    • Jan 4, 20143:39 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Umm, have you seen Smith and Monroe getting up their own shots pretty consistently all year and every year of their careers? Those two clearly can create offense. It’s Jennings job to create opportunities for the team and for himself. He does have a tendency to start hunting for his own points late in games and stop creating for others, which means he’s not really doing his job.

  • Jan 3, 20148:00 pm
    by grizz3741

    Reply

    All the 3-on-3 writers make very good points .. We need ball movement, teamwork, not hero ball, and not sitting Drummond. It is obvious that teams up their defensive effort in the 4th quarter, so we have to match and exceed the other team’s energy no matter what. So our mindset recently has been weak.  And DUH, we also need outside shooters to make shots .. So Singler, KCP and whomever else is out there (except for Drummond, Monroe and Smith) have to start making shots or we are sunk. Time to get some confidence and to instill some courage in those shooters  through ball movement (cuts through screens, crisp ball reversals, pentrate and kick outs, pick and rolls, .. ) plays have to start emerging on this team or the coach has failed. What we dont want is everyone shying away from anyone but Jennings and Monroe and Smith shooting. That is what we have been doing and it fails. See San Antonio Spurs for more details.

  • Jan 3, 20149:20 pm
    by CityofKlompton

    Reply

    I feel like this isn’t a new issue. Haven’t we had this same late game collapse problems in previous seasons? Obviously, we have an influx of new talent that is playing a considerable amount of minutes, but if the issue were solely the case of that new talent, shouldn’t the trend have improved by now? Perhaps we just don’t have the depth or discipline to close out more strong willed teams. Jennings clearly doesn’t trust his teammates in important situations, which is a big issue, but if we’ve had the same problem in previous seasons, there is just as big of an issue elsewhere.
    Furthermore, if the issue is elsewhere and the team sorely needs more discipline, leadership, and ball movement from its point position in late game situations, why would Dumars believe the answer is a guy who has never shown such abilities in the NBA to date.

  • Jan 3, 201410:50 pm
    by sebastian

    Reply

    If Joe’s brain was receiving any oxygen, he would get Daryl Morey (Houston) and Danny Ainge (Celtics) on the phone and offer the following:Move: Josh Smith to the Rockets, B. Jennings and Singler to the Celtics. The trade would look like this -http://basketball.realgm.com/tradechecker/saved_trade/6397106.Piston get:Rondo (PG)Jeff Green (SF)  Rockets get:Josh Smith (PF)Celtics get:Omer Asik (C)B. Jennings (PG)Kyle Singler (Glue guy)Terrance Jones (SF/PF)This trade works for all teams involved. The Pistons get a PG, who can manage a ball club, and a guy who can guard the position. Also, Jeff Green becomes the SF that the Pistons was seeking in Josh. Jeff Green is a player who can score from several positions on the floor. He is a much, better ball handler and overall play maker than Smith, a eight months (a full NBA season) younger than Smith, not to mention a lot cheaper, too. But, perhaps Green’s greatest asset is that he is very good friends with Moose. Maybe, just maybe, Green can help Moose to become a much sharper and more focused player.The Rockets get a very active power forward to insert into their starting line-up. Josh would help make the Rockets a much better defensive team and Josh would flourish on this roster, as he would be considered a third option, if not a fourth option, which would make him a much better player. The Rockets need a guy, like Josh on their roster. Oh, and aren’t Josh and Dwight childhood friends.The Celtics do this deal, because they are really sure what to expect from the emotional and finicky, Rondo. Nor are they sure of what condition he may be in. In exchange, the Celtics are provided with a young, dynamic PG named Brandon Jennings. Additionally, the Celtics get a rim protector in Omer Asik, who would help to make Jennings’ defensive shortcomings to not appear so bad. Also, the Celtics get a young and cheap option at SF/PF in Terrance Young. T. Young has played well, thus far this season. Lastly, the deal will provide Brad Stevens the ultimate glue guy in the person of Kyle Singler.This trade works for all teams involve. WE then roll with:PG – Rondo/Chauncey/Will B.SG – KCP/Stuckey*SF – Jeff Green/T. MitchPF – Moose/Jerebko/Charlie V.C- Dre/Harrelson*Stuckey would have to get back to playing his ass off, again, and he can’t get hurt anymore this season causing him to miss halves and entire games.T. Mitch would have to start getting real NBA minutes.

    • Jan 4, 201412:33 am
      by Smitty

      Reply

      Best trade idea of the year so far. 
       

    • Jan 4, 20148:13 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      I like it.  I think the two biggest problems are trading for Rondo wuthout enough time to see if the injury is going to hurt him long term and a starting line up of rondo and moose and Drummond is still lacking shooting.  Rondos play making ability has the chance to make up for the second issue and the pistons could make another move in the off season.

      • Jan 4, 20149:49 am
        by Rodman4Life

        Reply

        Love this trade, therefore, it probably won’t happen.

        • Jan 4, 201411:12 am
          by Smitty

          Reply

          You never know, but it looks like the Pistons are just hoping this will all work out.

    • Jan 4, 20143:39 pm
      by Brady Fredericksen

      Reply

      Why is everyone so infatuated with Jeff Green? He’s a nice player, but having — or not having — Jeff Green on your team is not going to dictate whether you’re a contender or not. I like the idea of that deal, but there’s probably not a good chance that a team is going to trade for Smith based mostly on his contract/age.

      • Jan 4, 20144:21 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        I don’t know if Smith’s contract/age is such an impediment for two main reasons:
        1) The Rockets need to trade Asik who also has a pretty big contract and they’ve basically struck out so far.
        2) The Rockets are already contenders but Smith possibly puts them over the top. 
        That said, I’m with you regarding wondering why people are infatuated with Green but if the Pistons are trading Smith instead of Monroe to acquire him then I’m on board. 

      • Jan 4, 20144:52 pm
        by Huddy

        Reply

        I like the trade and don’t love Jeff green.  I would prefer Bradley, I think green gets thrown in a lot to make contracts work.  Green definitely shouldn’t be the feature of a trade for the Pistons.  I would like to see them pick up an upgrade in free agency if they made the trade and maybe have green be first off the bench. 

        • Jan 4, 20145:10 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Boston does have the flexibility to do the trade without including Green at all due to trade exceptions. If it was Bradley going to Detroit they would need to toss in any contract on their books to make the trade work. Even Phil Pressey gets it done. Obviously they would want to dump a worse contract than Pressey’s though. I think I’d be willing to take on the Bogans contract if I got Bradley instead of Green, and I definitely would if Singler wasn’t being tacked onto the trade. I don’t know if that would work for the Celtics.

      • Jan 4, 20145:00 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        I’m not convinced Green is that much better than Singler to be honest. It think people have been overlooking just how good Singler is this year. Green’s a much higher usage player, and a much less efficient player. I know that if Singler was asked to do as much as Green is he would have his efficiency drop too, but I do think Singler could be a 16 point scorer with similar efficiency to Green. Green’s defense is a bit better than Singler’s, but not really by a lot. Green is a solid starter, and if that’s what Detroit wants I’d much rather see if Singler can do that for a fraction of the cost.
         
        Don’t me wrong, I’d do that deal because I’d be in on a Smith for Rondo trade. I would like it a lot more if it was JJ being sent out or if Boston just got one less piece and Detroit kept Singler. If Boston insisted on Singler I wouldn’t let that stop the trade, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they plug Singler into Green’s role without much drop off.

        • Jan 4, 20147:02 pm
          by CityofKlompton

          Reply

          I think I agree with this. Let me see if I am thinking clearly about this trade. We pick up a a guy who is a downgrade at one position except he can shoot a little better than Smith can (Green), we take on a PG who’s already in his prime but coming off a major injury so nobody is even sure what kind of player he will be going forward, we don’t really save any money so we still can’t make any real significant upgrades in the near future, AND we even possibly ship out Singler, a player who is still on his rookie contract, and make our bench even weaker?

          I’m not sure this deal is as good as it sounds. I could be wrong, though.

          • Jan 4, 20148:48 pm
            by oats

            Yeah, it’s risky for Detroit since we don’t know what kind of player Rondo is right now. It’s actually relatively common for guys to improve their jump shot when they have knee injuries because they can’t really move around a lot but they can get shots up. He could come back full strength but with an added jump shot, or he could come back after having lost a couple steps and still not be able to shoot, or any where in between that. Even if he comes back as the same guy he was before the injury, there are questions on how well he fits next to Monroe and Drummond without a jump shot. Smith of course leaves the team with similar spacing issues, so that might be a wash. The advantage is that a healthy Rondo would be much easier to move than Smith if it comes to that, assuming of course that he is pretty much the player he used to be. This is why the trade would be highly unlikely to happen. This is the kind of move that gets a guy fired if it backfires. As a guy who has nothing riding on the decision I’d take that risk. I don’t think I would do it if I had a high paying job on the line, even if I was as well off as Dumars.
             
            Also keep in mind that the Pistons would have the option of shutting Rondo down for the year and trying to tank. If they do that they would have swapped Jennings, Smith, and Singler for Green. I’d be worried that Green, Monroe, and Drummond front court might be too good to get into the bottom 8 anyways, but it might be enough. Give minutes to Siva and Mitchell, bench those top 3 guys from time to time with phantom injuries, and switch to an 11 or 12 man rotation. I’d even run out some lineups that make no sense. How does a Siva, Bynum, Stuckey, Mitchell, and CV lineup sound for about 4 minutes a game? I really don’t think Detroit would be willing to work that hard at tanking, but that’s how I’d want to handle it if I was running things. If they successfully tank that would give this trade another shot at paying off. That would require Gores to be ok with the Rondo gamble, the tanking strategy, and the risk of possibly losing the pick despite tanking. Dumars almost certainly wouldn’t be willing to tank anyways. There are actually a lot of reasons why this won’t happen, but it is an interesting idea.

      • Jan 5, 20149:55 pm
        by Steve Smith

        Reply

        How in God’s name does an idiot like Brady Fredericksen get a job working for this website? I hope to God he isn’t getting paid.

  • Jan 4, 20149:15 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Rondo is a better player than Jennings because of his defense…but basically Rondo has never had to play on a crappy team with no spacing, no scorers to take over, and consistent perimeter offense…
     
     

    • Jan 4, 20142:56 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      I’m pretty sure Rondo has played great games where multiple starters were hurt and he had to assume extra responsibilities and he’s never played with a player like Drummond either. 

      • Jan 4, 20148:35 pm
        by I HATE FRANK

        Reply

        Garnett was better than Drummond….

        • Jan 4, 201411:07 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          I have no issue with you saying Garnett was better than Drummond but he was never like Drummond and certainly not in Boston.  

  • Jan 4, 20148:56 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    So with rumour mill stating atm the Clippers and Knicks were both internally considering a Griffin for Anthony trade. If that doesn’t come to fruitition then how about a Monroe, Stuckey, CV for Anthony trade. The inscentive for NY in this trade will be to get something in return for Melo to build around (Monroe) and also 2 handy expiring a in Stuckey/CV which would give them future flexibility. I’m not a huge fan of his but Anthony would instantly be our best SF since Grant Hill. There’s been rumours for a while now that he wants out but I guess getting him to resign with us would be the only hitch due to him stating that he wants to play for a big market team. If he was to flee and sign elsewhere then that’s a risk that I’d be willing to take and it would just let allow Joe to sign better fitting pieces. If it came down to giving Monroe max money in the off season or a risk having Anthony as a one year rental then I know what I’d choose. A team consisting of C-Drummond PF-Smith SF-Anthony SG-KCP PG-Jennings you’d think would at least get you a second round playoff appearance. Finally I think that the deal has perks for both teams but note that it’s always easy to overvalue your own teams players. NY might feel they can get a better return for Anthony and might be willing to take the punt of him up and leaving alsO but if I was Joe I’d pick up the phone and make the call. Who knows if the deal took place Melo might find he likes winning more than playing in a big market kinda like when he was Denver and he’d get the chance to mend some fences with his old buddy Billups.

     
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=l6f8ztj

    • Jan 4, 20149:00 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Hoops just noticed that Melo has a year yo run after this one. Well that fcuks up my idea a little :-(

  • Jan 4, 201411:13 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    They are claiming on Hoopshype that the Bulls will definitely move Deng before the deadline because they don’t want to add to payroll next year.  While I’ve consistently said I didn’t want to trade Monroe for him, given that they are not looking to add to payroll, maybe they’d accept Stuckey and Singler for him and especially because Stuckey could step into the starting point guard role for this year to improve the team with Singler as a rookie contract player for the future and Stuckey for the savings.  Trade works too but hard to see the Bulls and Pistons dealing with each other.  This trade would give the Pistons the small forward without losing the big three which people have talked about.   Bring Monroe or Smith off the bench and the Pistons look much improved. 
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine

    • Jan 4, 201411:17 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      Don’t bother with link.  Trade wasn’t saved and I can’t seem to figure out how to make it save since I did and the link just keeps sending me to new trade.  Trust me, it works.

    • Jan 4, 201411:45 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      I’d love Deng to be a piston but I couldn’t see Chicago dealing him for Stuckey/Singler. I think any trade in there eyes would have to at least include Monroe. The one concern is have about your trade is by including Singler we lose even more perimeter scoring which we have hardly any of as it is. Also what was the last piston/bulls trade of any real impotance? Apart from bit players I cannot remember anything of any significance.

      • Jan 4, 201411:50 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        I agree with you about the Pistons and Bulls even though it’s so long now since there was any real heat on the rivalry but the deal kind of makes sense if the Bulls aren’t looking to take on new contract obligations since Monroe or any other major piece would have to get paid after this year.  Singler and an expiring plus Stuckey’s help with this year could be just the kind of deal they are looking for even if they are not looking to make a deal with the Pistons.  

        • Jan 4, 201411:53 pm
          by Smitty

          Reply

          Josh Smith complicates everything. HAHA

  • Jan 4, 201411:43 pm
    by Smitty

    Reply

    If Joe D is set on keeping our Big 3 together than he should at least try to add another wing. Trade Charlie Vs expiring for a team trying to tank and create cap room.

    • Jan 5, 201412:02 am
      by Max

      Reply

      We keep hearing everyone is tanking but a lot of the supposed tanking teams seem like they are squarely in the playoff picture right now and we haven’t seen any trades like the one you are proposing.   It would be great if the Pistons could turn Charlie V’s expiring contract into an asset in theory but that kind of thing never seems to pan out in reality.  

  • Jan 5, 20144:50 am
    by oats

    Reply

    Field goal percentage by quarter goes 47.7% in the first, 47% in the second, 44.9% in the third, and 39.8% in the fourth. 3 point field goal percentage goes 36% in the first, 34.4% in the second, 31.4% in the third, and 27.3% in the fourth. Both of those things seem significant. The team also has 6 assists in the first, 5.4 in the second, 5.0 in the third, and 3.7 in the fourth. Some of that is due to the shooting percentage of course, but it suggests that ball movement has been lacking in the fourth quarter.
     
    Jennings is not having his assists drop that much in the fourth quarter, which tells me his teammates have a tendency to take a shot whenever Jennings does pass it. Stuckey, Singler, and Smith all shoot worse in the fourth quarter than the other three quarters. For Singler it’s his 3 point shot abandoning him. Smith’s problems aren’t just in the fourth quarter. Smith shoots 45.2% from the field in the first half, 36.4% in the third quarter, and 31.4% in the fourth. While a bit less pronounced than the other guys, Monroe is also at his least efficient in the fourth quarter. KCP also stinks in the fourth. Pope’s actually similarly bad in both the second and fourth quarters but good in the first and third quarters, which is kind of hard to explain. I should mention that Jennings also shoots it similarly well in the fourth quarter compared to the other three, he just shoots it more often. The point is there is a lot of blame to go around for the team’s fourth quarter problems.
     
    Keep in mind that some of this is likely just statistical noise due to really small sample sizes, and that might even be all of it for all I know. Yet it seems like there are a lot of data points that say something is going on, and that matches what my eyes tell me. I see a team that passes the ball less and stands around more in the fourth quarter, and as a result I see a team that shoots it worse in the fourth quarter.

    • Jan 5, 20145:59 am
      by Max

      Reply

      As to my earlier point about the Pistons not dominating the offensive glass in the 4th the way they do the rest of the game, they are shooting a drastically lower percentage in the 4th while actually earning fewer offensive rebounds than they do in any other quarter.  It’s basic logic and common sense that you would get more offensive rebounds when you are missing more and the Pistons are supposed to be a great offensive rebounding team so it really doesn’t make any sense why this is happening and it’s frustrating to watch.  Jennings playing hero ball and Smith shooting long jumpers isn’t as bad when Drummond and Monroe are making timely taps to follow them up but it’s just not happening in the fourth.   

  • […] Dan Feldman at pistonpowered.com:  It’s tough to say.  The Pistons are worse in almost every way after halftime, which seems like a coaching issue, but when the problem is so wide, being specific is difficult.  If I had to pick one thing, though, it’s Brandon Jennings taking over more than he should. […]

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