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Josh Smith beats Suns, loses to Suns, beats Suns

Phoenix Suns 108 Final
Recap | Box Score
110 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 6-14 FG | 8-11 FT | 12 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +12

Monroe was OK finishing near the basket, but he offset that with the foul calls he often doesn’t get. His pick-and-roll defense was poor, especially in the second half. The repeated miscommunications seem like a coaching issue, but Monroe didn’t execute, either.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 38 MIN | 11-16 FG | 2-3 FT | 11 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | +10

With the game tied, 26 second remaining and the shot clock expiring, Smith made his only 3-point attempt of the night. Pistons win, right? Not yet. Then, he fouled Gerald Green on a 3-pointer, and Green made all three free throws? Pistons lose, right? Nope. They didn’t even make it to overtime. Smith drove for a layup, the type of aggressive play he said he regretted not making after settling for a badly air-balled jumper in a similar situation against the Knicks. Pistons win, right? Yes, finally. Before his late-game dramatics, Smith played well. He ran the floor hard, putting himself in excellent position to receive Jennings’ passes, and Smith led Detroit in finishing Jennings’ assists tonight with five. Though Smith took too many longs 2s – seven – he made a respectable three of them.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 27 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-7 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 5 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +2

Drummond protected the rim like Mutombo, shoring up many of the help-defense complaints lodged against him lately. Add his typical strong performance on the glass and buckets inside he makes look easy, and I’d take this every night from Drummond.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 42 MIN | 4-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 18 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +13

With 11 first-quarter assists, Jennings tied Isiah Thomas’ franchise record for assists in a quarter. With 16 first-half assists, Jennings tied Thomas’ franchise record for assists in a half. Jennings ran the offense excellently tonight, setting an NBA season high for assists in a game by pushing the ball and making pinpoint passes to the right players. I don’t want that to get lost. But in the midst of that stellar point guard play, Jennings brought the ball up and immediately forced an off-balance 3-pointer with 27 seconds left in the first quarter and 19 seconds on the shot clock. The Pistons probably should have held the ball to prevent Phoenix from having a chance to run a full play, but at minimum, they should have worked for a better shot. I don’t want to make too much out of a single bad decision, but it’s infuriating when Jennings does something like that, because fixing the problem takes just a little mental discipline. Tonight, it was a small negative mark in a strong body of work – that was also brought down by poor shooting and unimpressive defense – but what about if the stakes become higher? Jennings wasting possessions could be a huge deal if the Pistons grow like management hopes, and for all his progress, Jennings has given little indication he’s ready to quit forcing bad shots.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 27 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -6

Caldwell-Pope hit a 3-pointer and then beat everyone upcourt for a transition layup for a personal 5-0 run after the Suns tied the game at 92-92. That was a huge sequence for the Pistons and the rookie. On Detroit’s first possession, Caldwell-Pope brought the ball upcourt and initiated the offense, perhaps a symbol they trust him more? Or just Maurice Cheeks becoming infatuated with Jennings playing off the ball?

Charlie Villanueva, PF Shot Chart 8 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -4

Villanueva got all his playing time to start the second quarter, most of those minutes coming with Drummond. If Villanueva was on the court to stretch the floor and create looks for Drummond, it barely worked. Drummond had two shots in the six minutes they shared – a quick miss right after a Phoenix turnover in which Villanueva wasn’t even in the picture and later a made layup off a cut through the paint, but on the latter, the defense ignored Villanueva beyond the arc to focus on Drummond, who converted anyway. Whatever Villanueva was supposed to do on offense as a member of the rotation, the downside was greater. Detroit had an offensive rating of 86.0 with him on the court tonight, lowest of any Piston.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 6 TO | 6 PTS | -3

Singler was active inside on both ends, following an impressive Smith transition block with one of his own when the ball bounced right to a Sun. Ultimately, Singler was too sloppy and too cold from the perimeter.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 6-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -11

The offense’s downturn from Jennings running it to Bynum running it was immense. But Bynum hit a few key shots as the Pistons were floundering in the second half and really losing their way. Bynum has been through too much in his life to get frazzled by blowing a second half lead.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 21 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -3

Stuckey never seemed integrated in what the rest of the team was doing. His 21 minutes were his most in 19 days, which included a three-game absence due to injury. He’s back, but clearly needs more time to be back.

Maurice Cheeks

The Suns opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run against lineups of Bynum, Jennings, Caldwell-Pope/Stuckey, Singler and Drummond/Monroe – three guards plus Singler at power forward. I’m starting to see why these second-half collapses – the Pistons led by 18 early in the third quarter – are happening. Or is Cheeks just tanking? Quirky lineups are a classic move by tanking teams. If Cheeks isn’t tanking, his rotations were horrid tonight. This was one of the occasional games where Smith, Monroe and Drummond played well together. They had energy to run the floor and cut, and the Phoenix doesn’t have the size to match them. Smith, Monroe and Drummond were +2 in 13 minutes. But the Suns made a few 3-pointers, and Cheeks panicked. Cheeks gave 11 minutes to a lineup of Bynum, Jennings, a third guard (either Caldwell-Pope or Stuckey) and Singler as the power forward. For a majority of that time, Smith was the nominal center, though Drummond and Monroe also had turns. In those 11 minutes, the Pistons were -16. -16 in 11 minutes! On a cursory level, I at least get the idea of going small to contest Phoenix’s 3s, though I didn’t think the Pistons’ 3-point defense was struggling because Detroit was too big. But slotting so many players into assignments they’re not used to is asking for disaster. Bynum or Jennings defending the two? Caldwell-Pope or Stuckey defending the three? Singler defending the four? Smith defending the five? When so many players don’t know they’re doing, the problems grow exponentially. Somehow, the Pistons overcame that tonight.

77 Comments

  • Jan 12, 20144:30 am
    by jg22

    Reply

    Cheeks’ lineups were fine to me. I wouldn’ give him an A, but definitely not an F. Way too harsh for a winning coach.
     
    People have been clamoring for him to get rid of the big lineup and downsize to match the opponent. He does that tonight and now there’s complaining about being too small?
     
    I thought there was a moment in the 4th where maybe putting all 3 bigs out there, just to force the Suns to get out of their small lineup, may have been a smart strategy. But in a game where you have a big lead, its about defense, and while going small didn’t exactly shut them out, it kept them from losing the game, which we’ve seen happen many times by staying big.
     
    The Suns still made a bunch of 3′s, but they probably would’ve made a lot more had we went big, and the way we usually have trouble scoring in the 4th when we are big, there just wasn’t a lot of benefit to doing it tonight. Our best bet to win was match them going small, and give ourselves the best chance to stop them on defense and hold on for the win. Mission accomplished as far as I’m concerned. 

    • Jan 12, 20146:42 am
      by MrHappyMushroom

      Reply

       
      It worked. But had Green’s 3 on the final play (great D by Smith, by the way) fallen, every Pistons fan would reach a level of outrage and disgruntlement that we’ve only toyed with these past five years.  There might have been enough pressure to put Cheeks’ job in immediate risk.

    • Jan 12, 20149:13 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      Responding to criticism in the extreme opposite direction isn’t automatically a good move just because it is  in the direction people requested.  As a professional coach I expect a little more knowledgable moves than just putting 4 guards out there.  I honestly can’t comprehend how he thinks Bynum and Jennings or Bynum and Chauncey can possibly work together on the floor, especially defensively, and then you add 1-2 more guards and it’s just stupid.

      • Jan 12, 20143:32 pm
        by jg22

        Reply

        Did you not see the last two games?
         
        Bynum and Jennings worked very well together and using Bynum at point with Jennings off the ball was a big reason we won these games.
         
        And its not stupid defensively. The whole point of it was because it was smart defensively. Stupid would’ve been putting Monroe on Channing Frye at the 3pt line and Smith on Tucker on the perimeter as well. That’s stupid defense, and thats what fans have been saying to stop doing. Last night they stop doing it, and now you are saying you want them to go back to playing more bigs on jumpshooters. Sorry but you don’t make any sense

        • Jan 12, 20145:19 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          They are both terrible defenders. You know what they really suck at? Defending shooters off the ball. You know what one of them is guaranteed to do if they are paired together? Defend shooters off the ball. You know what Phoenix is good at? Knocking down open shots. No, it’s not smart to defend Phoenix with those two. That lineup tends to turn Jenning into a jump shooter, and he’s a bad shooter. He is a good passer though, and that lineup tends to take the ball out of his hands. It can be effective from time to time when the concentrate on beating guys off the dribble, but it’s not a good defensive unit and can emphasize the things Jennings is bad at while taking away from what he does well. In short, it can be effective as a change of pace strategy but is not the kind of thing the team should employ for long stretches at a time.

        • Jan 12, 20146:33 pm
          by Huddy

          Reply

          Jg do you watch any of the games?  Jennings and Bynum are easily two of the worst defenders on the team and the only one worse is probably Billups(who I also mentioned).  why bring up Frye and Tucker?  Are you under the impression that 6 foot jennings or 5 10 Bynum were guarding them?  Having the two worst defending guards who both are better with the ball in there hands offensively at the same time is a bad plan.  if you scroll on up and read cheeks grade notes you can see they the Bynum/Jennings line up was -16 in 11 minutes.  Does that qualify as “works very well together” in your world?

    • Jan 12, 20149:20 am
      by jerrific

      Reply

      They lost the majority of their lead running small ball. I wouldn’t say they won because of that line up, but despite it. They won the game because they dominated int the first half and Smith\Bynum came through late (KCP desrves some credit too.) They didnt need to go super big, but they could have gone to a conventional line up with singler at three. It was funny, because in the post game, cheeks was lamenting how the Pistons struggled late in the game to rebound because they didn’t have Greg or Drummond on the floor. Its like someone needs to remind him it’s generally a bad decision to keep two of your best players glued to the bench late in close games. 

      • Jan 12, 20143:41 pm
        by jg22

        Reply

        How could they have gone to a conventional lineup to matchup, when the Suns were in an unconventional lineup?
         
        If the Suns are playing Frye/Tucket up front, and both are camping out on the 3 pt line, tell me how the Pistons would’ve been better off playing Drummond or Monroe at Center with Smith at PF?
         
        The whole point of NOT playing Smith at SF and Monroe at PF is because they can’t guard shooters on the perimeter. So why would they now be able to guard two shooters on the perimeter?
         
        Cheeks was lamenting how the Pistons gave up rebounds because that’s obviously the downside to going small. He also said ‘BUT they got out of it what they wanted, which was have the matchups to defend the 3′
         
        You have to choose the lesser of two evils in that situation. For me, Cheeks did exactly what I’ve been wanting. Adjust lineups based on the opponent to give us the best defensively. I never said just go 2 bigs ALL the time no matter the opponent. The whole point was to use what is needed at the time. Against Indiana, go huge. Against Phoenix, go small. Against Utah next week, go with 2 bigs in a convential lineup. We have the personnel to play any style. Its stupid to only stay one way, if its going to get you beat on defense.

        • Jan 12, 20145:45 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Make it up on the other end. The bigs will stink defensively, but do you like Tucker’s odds of guarding one of Detroit’s bigs in the post? How about Frye against Detroit’s actual centers for that matter? Cheeks countered an effective small ball lineup that has 5 shooters with an ineffective small ball lineup that has 3 or fewer shooters and that also can’t defend the other team’s shooters. How does that make more sense than just going with a lineup that works for Detroit and was working up to that point? Why not just feed the post and try to go an entire quarter without taking a shot outside of the paint? I’d bet on Phoenix giving up on that lineup if they couldn’t get any stops. Detroit’s identity is that they are one of the best teams in the league at scoring in the paint and the worst team at scoring outside of it. Why play to their weakness instead of their strength?
           
          Again, if they absolutely must go smaller to play better defense, why not at least go with some decent defenders. Why ask one of Bynum or Jennings to chase around shooters when they are terrible at that? Why not just insert JJ at the 4? He is good at guarding SFs anyways. Put him on Tucker and let Singler take Green. Elsewhere you referred to Green as a SG and questioned why Detroit would want Singler on him, but he’s not really a SG. He’s probably played more SF than SG. He’s a 6’8″ wing player that plays both positions. He’s a jump shooter, and the kind of player I’d want Singler guarding because he’s not likely to just beat him off the dribble. Then leave KCP at SG so he can try to chase shooters off the line, something that Jennings and Bynum stink at. While we’re at it, the best player on the roster for guarding jump shooting big men like Frye is probably Harrelson. He is just the best big man at sticking to guys on the perimeter when they don’t have the ball because the rest of them tend to sag towards the basket. If the team is looking for defensive adjustments, why not get those two some minutes?

          • Jan 12, 20146:36 pm
            by Huddy

            you don’t even need to mention Monroe and Drummond.  His point is laid out as if the only option was Bynum/Jennings or putting Monroe in.  As you stated why not Singler/JJ or even Datome who can move well and aren’t insanely undersized.

    • Jan 12, 20149:26 am
      by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

      Reply

      I agree with 22…..it was harsh….only thing I think Cheek really did wrong was the start of the 4th qrt line up….i just didn’t like it…and it looked out of wack and our guys looked confused…they we not even driving the ball…they were playing for the 3 all the way 24 three point attempts in the 2nd half..so having Drummond to start the 4th to me was telling the sun they have one less man to defend…and if he did catch they were gonna foul him anyway…just thought Monroe should have started the 4th in that situation…

      • Jan 12, 201410:42 am
        by Huddy

        Reply

        Like the grades say, that weird line up got 11 minutes.  That’s not some small criticism.  It’s one thing to try it out I guess, but a quarter of the game?

        • Jan 12, 201411:51 am
          by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

          Reply

          true…

        • Jan 12, 20143:28 pm
          by jg22

          Reply

          Again, they won the game
           
          What are you complaining about?
           
          How do you know that they wouldn’t have lost by going with 2 bigs?
           
          They could barely defend their shooters matching up small, so why would think they would’ve had a better chance to by going big, I have no idea….

          • Jan 12, 20144:28 pm
            by CZM

            If cheeks wanted to match up with the 3 point shooters why didn’t he use Jeribko and Datome.  He could have had a lineup of Bynum kcp datome jeribko and smith.  Then only 1 player is playing out of position.

          • Jan 12, 20146:40 pm
            by Huddy

            That point would make sense if you could find another 11 min stretch where another line up went -16.  If they won the game and that line up performed the worst of all other combinations doesnt it make sense that the team would have done even better and not gone right down to the wire if they hasn’t used that poor performing line up for 11 minutes?
             
            barely beating a mediocre team missing its best player doesn’t make the entire game plan perfect.

        • Jan 12, 20144:36 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Winning the game doesn’t make it the right call. It wasn’t working.
           
          As for my specific complaint, it’s that Cheeks coaches this team in a way that makes no sense. We’re close to the mid point of the season and he still hasn’t figured out a rotation that really works. In this specific game he also decided to let the other team dictate the style of play despite the fact that there was nothing wrong with what the Pistons had been doing up to that point. That decision almost cost them, and if he continues doing this sort of thing it will cost them some games. Just because the team stole a win against a Phoenix team that was without their best player doesn’t change the fact that his decision making was pretty bad.
           
          I guess it’s technically possible they would have done worse with a different lineup, but it’s hard to do much worse than -16 in 11 minutes. By the same token, it’s possible they could have won by 40 if they never used the small ball lineup. Your argument that maybe they would have lost by going with 2 bigs is a lazy argument, relying on the fact that I can’t disprove a hypothetical. That in no way changes the fact that the lineup stunk and is open for criticism.
           
          As for why someone would think that a more traditional lineup would have been better, well, there’s the fact that the more traditional lineups were way better in that game than the small ball lineup. That seems like a pretty sound rationale.

          • Jan 12, 20144:37 pm
            by oats

            Reply fail on my part. I meant to post this in response to jg22′s post about winning the game.

    • Jan 12, 20143:08 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      @ jg22. I don’t mind using a Bynum and Jennings back court for short durations. I like playing KCP at the 3 when matchups allow. If their opponenets are using a traditional SG at the 3 then I don’t mind Stuckey at the 3. I also like Singler at the 4 from time to time. I like giving Smith a few minutes at center. I don’t like all of those things at once, and I don’t like leaving them in for 11 minutes.
       
      The point of breaking up the 3 bigs is to keep 2 of the bigs on the court pretty much at all times. That’s not what was going on. Let’s not pretend like he was doing what fans were hoping he would do.

      • Jan 12, 20143:25 pm
        by jg22

        Reply

        I think you are misreading my post. I didn’t say that he only went small to appease fans. I’m saying fans said to stop playing 3 bigs together and he did, so stop complaining.
         
        The whole reason people were upset playing 3 bigs was because they could defend jumpshooters at the 3 and 4. So Phoenix plays jumpshooters at all 5 positions, and now you want them to have MORE bigs out there who can’t defend them?
         
        Smith could barely defend Frye playing at Center. What are you suggesting they did instead? Had they played Drummond at Center, he would’ve had to guard Frye at the 3 pt line, and then Smith would’ve been guarding a SF again, which is what fans have been screaming about not doing anymore.
         
        Make up your minds
         
        Phoenix came back because they went small. We held on because we matched them small. Had we stayed big we probably lose just like every other game that played out similarly. This wasn;t the first time a team came back on is by going small. In the other times though, we stayed with 2 bigs and couldn’t defend their shooters and lost those games. This time Cheeks smartened up and we won. You can’t say we would’ve won by more had we went big, when we’ve done that before and lost because of it.

        • Jan 12, 20143:56 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          I understood you fine. The call wasn’t to just breakup the 3 big lineup. The call was to stagger the bigs. The strength of this team is it’s talented front court, and by staggering the bigs they can come close to having 2 of them on the court for the entire game. That’s the desire, to play to the team’s strengths. None was calling for small ball. There is a big gap between jumbo ball and really small ball that Cheeks completely skipped past.
           
          There is no need for me, or those who share my viewpoint to make up our minds because we are still asking for the same thing. There is absolutely no inconsistency on my part.
           
          You know what, I suspect Drummond would have done as well on Frye as Smith did and might have actually been better at it. I also think the team would get it back on the other end. Detroit doesn’t have a lineup that defends Phoenix well, and that’s something they should just live with. It’s not like more traditional lineups weren’t working since they are what got the lead in the first place. If I was desperate to try to get stops, I’d dust off JJ and Harrelson a bit more, and I certainly would not move Jennings off the ball. Say what you will, but this small ball lineup was not built to get stops. No lineup with Bynum and Jennings is built to get stops no matter who the team is. If you’re looking to defend a team with 5 perimeter threats, how about a Smith, Jerebko, Singler, KCP, and Jennings lineup? That would make a lot more sense if the goal is to chase guys off the 3 point line. I wouldn’t want to rely on it for too long since I would still want to spend more time with 2 of the bigs on the court, but that kind of lineup makes a lot more sense than the lineup we actually saw.
           
          Small ball had nothing to do with that win. They clearly won despite it. It was a disaster. This really is pretty hard to argue against. He went small, and the lead evaporated because they were -16 with that lineup. It very nearly cost them the game. How is that not obvious?

  • Jan 12, 20144:37 am
    by jg22

    Reply

    I agree completely on Jennings though. That quick shot at the end of the first was very irritating. He does that far too often for my liking. It wasn’t even a bad shot because he was open, it was just a bad decision based on the situation.
     
    He’s got to get better with his decision making with regards to managing the game/clock. I imagine Cheeks points it out in the film room, so I can’t understand how he doesn’t learn from his mistakes. I think he knows too right after he does it, but he just caught in the moment too easily, and is too mesmorized by the homerun play all the time. If he could just learn situational basketball better and when to go for the homerun and when to just take a ball or hit a single, he could be so great, because the talent is obviously there to be a great true PG. Fortunately he’s still got about 2-3 yrs before he even enters his prime, so there’s still the chance that he settles down once he becomes a full-fledged veteran at 27-28. 

  • Jan 12, 20146:22 am
    by MRCARTER

    Reply

    The fact is Phoenix is just a great 3-point shooting team. It was basically our worst nightmare tonight, but we managed to survive. But for real, that come back my the Suns late was driving me psycho. Just screaming “GAURD THE THREE” “GAURD THE THREE” “JUST GAURD THE F–KIN THREEEEEEE!!!”

    • Jan 12, 201412:54 pm
      by Russell

      Reply

      ^*guard.  And I agree with your screams.

  • Jan 12, 20147:54 am
    by Vic

    Reply

    Great game by both Smennings and Drumroe. More sharing the ball please!
    Good job again staggering the bigs, but I wish Cheeks would have kept the lineup short… Why is CV playing over Jorts?
    Jerebko is athletic, tall and a better perimeter defender than Singler, Smith, and Monroe… Why doesn’t he get minutes in this situation? Cheeks lack of awareness of his players strengths and weaknesses is disconcerting… If you need perimeter defensive help at SF, Jerebko should be playing.

    • Jan 12, 20148:37 am
      by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

      Reply

      I agree we could have went….smith c, jonas PF, Singler sf, Pope SG, Jennings / Bynum PG….that line up could defend small ball bettet
      But I also think he got away from playing two bigs together….switch should have been smith/drummond…and all the had to do was switch immediately and not trap the ball….worst cast scenario…. Suns have to trying to post up players they don’t normally post…taking them out if their offensive flow…and we’d still have Smith or Drummond some where in the floor to provide weak side defense

    • Jan 12, 20148:48 am
      by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

      Reply

      Btw: Smith playing more PF….in the last two game…but it’s his home…if we make the play-off he will have to carry us from that position

  • Jan 12, 20148:06 am
    by freeparty

    Reply

    Pistons are still boring to watch and lack the one player with charisma that the identity of the team revolves around, a la Sheed or Zeke.  The absence of persona is the cause for lackluster attendence an interest, therefore, discounted home court advantage and struggles to close games out with the help of the fans.  Basically, Joe D (albiet a HOFer) has not built a team Detroiters care to see and support for a winning season.  That is a major glaring fault of his recent descent into the “Pistons who?”-”who cares” culture.
    I will be a life long fan but its time for a new head honcho and team identity.

    • Jan 12, 20148:45 am
      by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

      Reply

      I disagree….Drummond is fun to watch, I love watching the Pistons run fast break….jennings might and Chris Paul are the best passing pg in transition…only time it gets hard to watch is been the ball freezes….we I agree do not have that almost automatic guy….however neither do the Suns

  • Jan 12, 20148:07 am
    by Ryank

    Reply

    The notion we need a smaller line up is flawed.  We have had great success in the first half of games, then the second half a different game is played.  Bring in the smaller guys and it doesn’t turn it around.  
    The logic for having another jumpshooter on the floor is sound.  Greg Monroe has proven himself as a failure shooting the ball…  It’s not in cards for everyone, but it seems like he’s not willing to adjust his game compliment his team.  If he can make the jumper from 15-18 feet, this line up would be fine.  

    • Jan 12, 20149:10 am
      by jerrific

      Reply

      Agree, small ball line-ups only make sense if that’s what puts your best players on the floor, or if it creates a match up advantage. We played our best ball in the first half witg Singler at SF and two of the three bigs, going away from it, and sticking with that decision with the game on thr line, just doesn’t make sense. 

    • Jan 12, 20141:23 pm
      by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

      Reply

      The only thing the Pistons need to do is use Greg as a 6th man type….because he is more value as the go to scorer type….
       

      • Jan 12, 20143:14 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        Doesn’t that pair him with Stuckey more though? He’ll likely still share most of his time with 2 of the Jennings, Stuckey, and Smith group. It will likely help a bit, but I think he’d get more looks if he stayed in the starting lineup and Smith went to the bench.

        • Jan 12, 20149:45 pm
          by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

          Reply

          Greg played alot with Stuckey over his career….Greg is  VERY GOOD iso player…put him on the floor with stuckey, bynum, harelson/charlie v, and datome…. he would bring consistent offensive flow…

          • Jan 12, 201411:50 pm
            by oats

            He paired with Stuckey when he was playing PG. Have you seen Stuckey this year? There’s a reason he’s at an all time low in assists, it’s because he isn’t looking to pass. He leads the team in shots per minute, with the exception of 2 guys whose minutes are too limited to have any real meaning (CV and Datome). That’s not a complaint about Stuckey since he plays well this way, it’s just not the same dynamic that Monroe has had with him previously. Again, it’s also not just Stuckey he’d be playing with. If the goal is to stagger guys then he’d likely play with at least 2 of the Jennings, Smith, and Stuckey group most of the time. The whole reason his touches are down is that the team now has him playing with 2 guys that shoot a lot. Moving Monroe to the bench wouldn’t fix that dynamic, so he likely wouldn’t become the go to scorer type that you are talking about.

    • Jan 12, 20143:50 pm
      by jg22

      Reply

      You guys are confused. Cheeks didn’t choose to go small for offense. He did it because the Suns chose to go small, and so he made a decision to match defensively.
       
      People complaining about playing Singler at PF, but when the Suns were playing their SF at the 4, wtf are you complaining for? Do you people not understand what downsizing means? Its the same damn matchup! Singler WAS still matched up with a SF.
       
      If they put Singler at SF, he would’ve been guarding a SG, and then we would’ve had a PF guarding their SF, which is exactly what we’ve been saying for Cheeks to stop doing because Smith isn’t SF. 
       
      I don’t know I give up. I don’t think you guys realize what you’re talking about.
       
       

      • Jan 12, 20144:12 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        I said it above, and I’ll repeat it. If the plan is to go to Bynum and Jennings for defensive reasons, then that plan is dumb. That is never the right way to get stops. 
         
        I said some of this too, but I’ll say it here too. Wanting the team to break up the jumbo 3 big lineup is not the same as wanting the team to let their opponents dictate the style of play. It’s wanting to rid the team of a terrible lineup in favor of lineups that actually kind of work. I still want the team to try to focus on dominating in the paint, and I actually think they would be better suited to doing that if they tried to keep exactly two of the big men on the court at all times. I’d much rather try to force Phoenix to go more traditional than to go small. Detroit’s small ball lineup is pretty bad, so I don’t want them relying on it in a game.

        • Jan 12, 20146:48 pm
          by Huddy

          Reply

          Maybe he doesn’t know what -16 means.  It really is virtually impossible to defend that defensive group if your mind can comprehend that -16 means a really bad defensive performance.  It’s like trying to explain a team losing a game by 16 points as being great.

  • Jan 12, 20149:05 am
    by jerrific

    Reply

    This is this first game I’ve had a chance to see this season, and the one thing that stuck out to me is how lost everyone looks on defense. It’s like the players have no idea when to rotate, and that to me seems like a coaching issue. You don’t need great individual defenders, which we don’t have except for maybe kcp and smith (against pf’s at least) to play good team defense. 
    Also, I agree with Dan, that small ball lineup was ugly. What I don’t understand is how we lost most of our lead with that line-up in the third, but Cheeks still went back to it in the fourth. What makes it even more questionable is how dominant we were in the first have with at two of the three bigs on the floor. 

  • Jan 12, 20149:12 am
    by Pete

    Reply

    Cheeks was doing what he said he would–playing with the lineup after losing six in a row. The lineups didn’t always work, but that is part of the process. You lack perspective sometimes, Dan, when it comes to coaches. We could have Phil Jackson coaching and you would be handjng him F’s needlessly. I give Cheeks a C for this one.

    • Jan 12, 20149:24 am
      by Rich

      Reply

      There’s toying with a lineup, and then there’s putting out a lineup that makes no sense at all, watching it get destroyed, and sitting on your hands rather than adjusting.

      Sorry, tweaking the lineup would be figuring out how to maximize the time that 2 out of the big 3 are out on the court.  Tweaking the lineup is figuring out how to get, say, Jerebko or Harrellson minutes as a stretch four and not continuing to play a waste of space like CV because of a few minutes that worked with him on the court four games ago.  Tweaking a lineup is figuring out how to get the most time with at least two shooters on the court.
       
      When you let the other team dictate the lineup you play, matching their strengths to your weaknesses (in this case, matching their small ball with our garbage small ball lineup), you’re not “tweaking” the lineup.  You’re just showing your incompetence.

      • Jan 12, 20143:51 pm
        by Vic

        Reply

        Slow clap… Do you take donations?

        • Jan 12, 201410:03 pm
          by Rich

          Reply

          I’ll send on my Paypal info… LOL…

    • Jan 12, 20149:33 am
      by jerrific

      Reply

      I think it’s Cheeks that lacks perspective. The Pistons built their lead in the first half using convential line ups, then he went small, they blew the lead, and he still stuck with the line up that blew the lead. How is that not bad coaching?

  • Jan 12, 201411:51 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    great summaryh of ther game.  
    i would have given jennings something like a “b” because his second half was pretty abysmal,  just the typical game we’ve seen from jennings too many times: hunting bad shots, impatience, horrid defense.  his first half indicated what he can do when he sets his mind to it and when he plays a certain type of game.  
    he could be one of the best PGs in the league, no question.  he just doesn’t have the head for it. 
    what did they say about joe don looney, the old lions halfback…million dollar talent, ten cent head.
    that is jennings to a tee.  it also, unfortunately fits smith.  a deadly combination as the “leaders” of your team.
    yes, you’ll see games like this for the both of them during the course of the year, but water finds its own level and by the end of the year, when you count up all the positives and negatives, despite games like this, you’ll always be in a deficit because of guys like that.
    btw, cheeks’ insistence on matching up with small ball is so dumb it defies belief.  as someone said, if you can go small and get your best players on the court against certain lineups, then do it.  but if you end up taking your best players off the court, players who have been  successful that game, only to “match up” that is just beyond stupid.
    god help this team from jennings, smith and cheeks.

    • Jan 12, 20143:59 pm
      by jg22

      Reply

      No offense man, but when you have this much hate towards the team after back to back wins, you just come off like a bitter old man

      • Jan 12, 20144:33 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        who cares about back to back wins.  i care about the season and the general direction of the team.
        show me a reason that anyone should be excited about this team’s direction, considering its history over the last 5, 6 years.  getting excited about one or two or three games is the sign of someone without a worthy perspective.
        i remember seeing that AI led pistons team come into portland years back in the middle of a 9 or 10 game winning streak.  yea, bet most fans have forgotten about that streak, but everyone was all excited about them and they came here into the rose garden and got their a@@es kicked.  how much did that winning streak matter?
        i guess being shortsighted and stupid is a virtue to some.
        not this fan.

      • Jan 12, 20144:44 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        On top of frankie d’s point, does back to back wins somehow change the fact that they are now on a 2-6 stretch over the last 8 games? The team is 15-23 despite spending a lot of money this summer to get better. That’s an awful lot to be bitter about, and 2 wins isn’t a whole lot to counter all of the terrible play this season.

  • Jan 12, 201411:56 am
    by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

    Reply

    If Cheeks is wise enough to manage Drummond , Greg and Smith….during the game…playing 2 of them at a time… I’m all for keeping Greg…
    We just can not have all three together o the floor together or teams will just pack off Greg and Smith…they miss the other team defensive rebounds and runs

    • Jan 12, 20143:21 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      To be fair, Jennings is the one whose misses tend to lead to points. I don’t know if it’s changed since that article was written a couple weeks ago, but Jennings was second in the league in having his missed shots turn into points for the other team.

  • Jan 12, 201412:16 pm
    by Javell

    Reply

    ???????????? cheeks grade

  • Jan 12, 201412:27 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    after i wrote that last post, i remembered i’d said pretty much the same thing about smith sometime even before he became a piston.  so i searched the Pistonpowered archives and sure enough there it was, from january 31, 2013, right after the tayshaun prince trade.  i wrote the post in the comments of the summary of the prince trade.  i just had a feeling that joe had this thing for josh smith and was just biding his time before he could pounce.
    this is what i wrote last january about smith, before he became a piston, and it still applies, though, regrettably, pistons’ fans now have to deal wtth that idiot on a game by game basis:
    “my nightmare is that joe d is saving his money to try to sign josh smith.there have been plenty of rumors about smith here in detroit and my guess is that it doesn’t generate out of thin air.i’d bet that joe has had the same kind of crush on smith that he had on iverson and has just been waiting to get a chance to pounce.smith is poison.he’s a tweener who will never be happy playing the role he should play, and he’ll distort whatever team he is on as a result.sorry, i just don’t have any use for a career 28% 3 point shooter who likes to jack up 3 pointers when his explosive arse should be down on the block destroying guys who can’t get anywhere near him once he starts making his move.what was the saying about a great, but dumb athlete…million dollar talent, ten cent head.no thanks. “

    • Jan 12, 20141:01 pm
      by Russell

      Reply

      frankie,
      Oh my god.  Perfect analysis of future frustrations.  Almost eerie.

    • Jan 12, 20141:12 pm
      by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

      Reply

      All you said was what have already been said….Smith has not distort this team….and his potential on the Piston is greater than it was on the Hawks….it just depends on how Detroit wants to us going forward…you can not deny he can impact games on both end

      • Jan 12, 20143:31 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        While not your most incomprehensible post ever, I’m still having some trouble figuring this one out. “Smith has not distort this team…” or “it just depends on how Detroit wants to us going forward…” I have guesses on what these mean, but man alive.
         
        I agree with that last sentence, but not necessarily in the way you mean. At SF he has negatively impacted the game on both ends. At PF he has had a positive impact defensively and a negative impact offensively. He’s been playing well lately, but that’s been how he’s played overall this year.

        • Jan 12, 20149:48 pm
          by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

          Reply

          Greg played alot with Stuckey over his career….Greg is  VERY GOOD iso player…put him on the floor with stuckey, bynum, harelson/charlie v, and datome…. he would bring consistent offensive flow…

  • Jan 12, 20141:32 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    “Smith has not distort this team….”
    are you kidding me?
    this is a team that had two young bigs that were the envy of the league.  other teams were openly jealous about the potential that detroit had for building around two young big men like drummond and monroe.  was it going to be easy or simple to mesh those guys? no.  but a good, creative coach with the right personnel could strike fear in the hearts of opponents, with the right schemes.
    now, smith comes in and imagines that he is a number one offensive option and a great outside shooter and he takes the team in an entirely different direction.  sorry, i’d rather have a team built around two young bigs who shoot 50 and 60 percent from the paint, both highly efficient offensive players.   now, instead of the team building around those two pillars, those two players are struggling to find a consistent role in the teams’ offense, and their roles change from game to game, usually depending on whether smith decides to take 15 or 25 shots that game.
    if that is not distorting the team that was being built last year, i don’t know what would qualify.
    you can have smith and his 28 percent long range bombing, even if occasionally he finds the bottom of the bucket.  history, and his career long percentages say that he’ll always settle around that 28 percent mark, even as he insists on taking more jumpers than such a poor shooter should ever take.  smith is a notoriously bad jump shooter, who still, after 10 years in the league, insists on taking lots of jump shots.  he is the league’s poster child for poor shot selection and dumb play.
    smith is who he is.  he’s going to be basically the same player, for better or worse, than he was on the hawks.  unfortunately, however, he seems to see his contract and his current circumstances as giving him the green light to indulge in all of the worst parts of his game.  that is the mark of a truly dumb player.  a smart player would revel in the fact that he has 54 million in the bank and can now concentrate on winning and not getting his numbers. he’s do all the stuff that helps a team win  because he just got paid and doesn’t really have to worry about his contract with all that guaranteed money coming in every payday. 
    but smith is such an idiot he really, truly thinks that he is a good shooter whose shots just don’t fall sometimes.  the fact that he still believes that after 10 years of evidence to the contrary is truly remarkable.

    • Jan 12, 20143:57 pm
      by jg22

      Reply

      Having two great young centers would obviously be the envy of every team, because most don’t even have 1 great center, young or old. 
       
      But that doesn’t mean its advantageous to play them together big minutes, when they both need to be at Center to be most effective.
       
      If we had two great young PGs, teams would be envious as well, but that doesn’t mean you start two PGs together and then have no one to defend the SG position.
       
      If you didn’t notice, the less Drummond/Monroe have played together the last two games, the more the frontcourt has been thriving. The more each has played with Smith at PF, the more they have all thrived. So if you want to continue believing Smith is ruining their development or something, go for it, but you’re wrong. So….
       
       

      • Jan 12, 20144:21 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        Over the season, the more any 2 bigs play without the third one, the better they do. The reason they play well with Smith at PF is that they don’t have Smith at SF. Drummond/Monroe/Singler lineups have been good this year. Monroe/Smith/Singler lineups and Drummond/Smith/Singler lineups have also been good. Drummond/Monroe/Smith lineups stink. That’s kind of the entire reason many of us want the team to break up the 3 big lineup.

        • Jan 12, 20144:39 pm
          by D_S_V

          Reply

          oats: Your persistence with Mr. jg22 is admirable.

    • Jan 12, 201410:02 pm
      by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

      Reply

      @ OAT & FRANKIE
       
      dis·tort  (d-stôrt)
      tr.v. dis·tort·eddis·tort·ingdis·torts
      1. To twist out of a proper or natural relation of parts; misshape.
      2. To give a false or misleading account of; misrepresent.
      3. To cause to work in a twisted or disorderly manner; pervert.
       
      how did Josh Smth do that?
       
      Everyone said he would be most effective by playing PF…and limit timed at SF….FROM THE START!
       
      Everyone said the only way all three of these big would work together would rely highly on Greg Monroe making mid-range jumpers…which he has not…
       
      I said early that Josh has been sacrificing his game for the Greg Monroe,,.advanced stats showed his impact at PF is higher than Greg impact at PF on both sides of the floor….
       
      It depends on how the Pistons use “him” going forward means,,,allowing him to play PF more than forcing him to play SF…
       
      Smith without a doubt has been one of the most talented players in this league for years….We brought him here to win now, not to use him to his fullest potential is on the coaching staff…not Smith…
       
      So no he has not distorted this team
       

      • Jan 13, 20141:09 am
        by oats

        Reply

        I know what distort means. You didn’t form a sentence, and the grammar of “Smith has not distort this team” is so far from right that I seriously don’t understand it’s meaning. The problem is not my vocabulary.
         
        This response was more comprehensible for me, so thanks for that. Now look at the third definition of distort again. To cause to work in a twisted or disorderly manner. Have you seen the team play? It sure looks disorderly to me. So does Josh Smith, who might lead the league in “Holy crap, this guy is completely out of control” plays a game. He’s the worst shooter on the team who gets meaningful minutes, and he leads the team in shot attempts. Yes, the third worst shooter on the team who is getting meaningful minutes (Jennings) has him just barely edged out in shots per game, but Smith leads the team in total shot attempts. That seems like the team is working in a twisted manner to me. Plus playing him at SF kills Detroit’s defense. I get that the team hasn’t used him well, but you can’t pretend like his terrible play isn’t a large part of the problem. I’d say that there is clear evidence that he has in fact distorted the team.
         
        Also, the advanced stats don’t say that Smith is better on both sides of the ball. He is much more productive at PF than at SF, but being better than Monroe is at best debatable. He really hasn’t been that much better as a shooter at PF (according to 82games.com his effective field goal percentage is all of 2% higher at the 4 than the 3). Combining bad shooting with lots of shooting makes him into a harmful offensive player. He’s definitely been the worse offensive player of the two, although he’s obviously a much better defensive player. Keep in mind that Monroe is also at a huge disadvantage in this comparison. When Smith plays PF he always has an actual wing player at the 3. The vast majority of Monroe’s minutes at the 4 is him playing with Smith at SF. I honestly don’t know who the better PF is, but I suspect it’s too close to really call one way or the other.

        • Jan 13, 20143:56 pm
          by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

          Reply

          I was not questioning your intelligence….i was questioning the word “distort” more about Frankie than u
          Josh Smith is not the blame for this team struggles, and as for as this season he is that light at the end of the tunnel if we want to make the play-offs…
          Defensively he is better than Monroe in every way, offensively Greg shoots a better percentage…but overall Josh Smith is the key…
           
          I could go on and on…but I hate long post

          • Jan 13, 20144:35 pm
            by oats

            Smith deserves an awful lot of the blame for the team’s struggles. They paid him a lot of money to make him the starting SF. Say what you will about people’s predictions for how this would work out, it seems really obvious that plan A was have Smith be the starting SF. It was obvious that he was going to struggle offensively, but most people thought he would be a good defender at that position. You’ve linked to that article labeling him one of the best perimeter defenders. Turns out that if he is asked to do it full time he doesn’t really understand rotations and ball watches too much to stick with his man when he doesn’t have the ball. Smith has been an awful perimeter defender. On top of that, he would help the team by just shooting less. He refuses to acknowledge the flaws of his game and just keeps jacking up shots. Some of this is on the coach, but there is no excuse for him to shoot more often than Wade. I thought he would be pretty bad at SF, but I had no idea he’d be this bad. It really doesn’t make sense that he fell apart because he is being asked to play SF a bit more since he has always played spent some of his time at SF. Smith deserves a lot of blame for being significantly worse than what should have been anticipated.
             
            Josh Smith doesn’t do much on offense that Greg doesn’t. They have been similar passers for their careers, they are similarly turnover prone, and neither of them have a jump shot. I guess Smith has a small advantage as a passer so far, but it’s pretty minimal. The biggest difference is Smith mistakenly thinks he does have a jump shot while Greg knows he doesn’t. That’s why Greg is a much better offensive player, he actually works to take shots that are within his limited range. Smith makes it up at the other end though. That’s why I see them as similar in terms of production at PF, they just do it on opposite ends of the court.

  • Jan 12, 20144:35 pm
    by anacaniwelk

    Reply

    Drummond’s 3-7 from the free throw line almost cost the Pistons ANOTHER game. Drummond remains completely useless in the half court offense.  Bout time he started blocking some shots.  Drummond has been very disappointing in blocking shots this year.  B- for the game for him.  Hate to imagine where this offense would be without Jennings distributing the ball so well. 

  • Jan 12, 20146:45 pm
    by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

    Reply

    Very disappointing he was ranked 9th before the last 2 games….lol you guys

  • Jan 12, 20149:19 pm
    by Parsons

    Reply

    Peyton Siva on his way back to the Pistons. That comes from his twitter. My question is why is he coming back? There’s no reason for it he won’t play here but he was playing with the Mad Ants and playing pretty well. We play 2 sometimes 3 point guards at a time if you still count Stuckey why do we another? My “I’m thinking way too much” theory is that Chauncey will get released soon. We didn’t bring up Mitchell who could actually find playing time unless we’re that attached to CV. I know nothing we do really ever has any sense attached to it but that seems logical to me. Siva could scratch out some kind of playing time without Chauncey here (not as much with the Mad Ants though) plus we would need a 13th player. Also without Chauncey we could use that open roster spot for another younger player or sign a shooter. Seems kind of logical to me. Even if Dumars doesn’t have any freedom to make moves I would think he could do that much.

    • Jan 12, 201410:05 pm
      by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

      Reply

      no way we release Billups

      • Jan 12, 201411:45 pm
        by gmehl

        Reply

        I agree that we won’t release him but you can see it in his eyes lately that he knows the end is neigh. Unfortunately i think that achilles injury he had has effected him more than we we all thought. He was never that fast to begin with but looking at him now i think he has lost a gear which is clearly effecting him to the point where simple plays have become hard for him. Come to think about it I don’t Jerebko is the same since his achilles injury either. He seems like he lost that extra bounce he had which is a shame because i really loved the way he played his rookie year. He was like a Swedish Dennis Rodman the way he hustled for loose balls.

  • Jan 13, 20143:29 am
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    Who would trade Josh Smith & Greg Monroe for Anthony Davis? Let’s say Monroe would resign with the Pelicans?
     

    • Jan 13, 20143:33 am
      by Brandon Knight

      Reply

      I know this trade would never happen. But Imagine Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond on the same team. Volleyball..

      • Jan 13, 20144:55 am
        by gmehl

        Reply

        If you know it won’t happen then why even mention it?

        • Jan 13, 20145:11 am
          by Brandon Knight

          Reply

          Well that’s my opinion! Idk about others!

    • Jan 13, 20144:13 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      @BK. Davis is about as close to untouchable as there is in the league. His trade value is just too high for him to realistically be moved any time soon. LeBron is still the single highest value player, and Durant is the second most valuable. Davis is battling it out with Paul George for the 3rd spot, and I think Davis is the one with the higher trade value of the two. For Detroit to get him they would need to include Drummond, Monroe, KCP, and probably at least 3 first round picks.

      • Jan 13, 20147:07 pm
        by Brandon Knight

        Reply

         No man that’s too much. 

        • Jan 13, 201411:02 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Right. The only way he moves is for a ludicrous haul. If your gut reaction isn’t to say that’s too much, then it isn’t enough for New Orleans to even entertain it. To be honest, I don’t think that offer is nearly enough to give them real pause. Detroit doesn’t have the assets required to make an offer that New Orleans would seriously discuss taking. They have a guy that will be contending for best player in the league in a few years, and he has a complete enough game that he would fit in with any roster or any scheme. He will stay in New Orleans at least for the next 4 years unless they can trade him for either Durant or LeBron.

  • Jan 13, 20147:45 am
    by Corey

    Reply

    Not going to happen. Doubt they’d trade Davis for Drummond, but that would at least be a conversation. No way they trade Davis for Smith and Monroe.

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