|Greg Monroe, PF 29 MIN | 8-10 FG | 5-9 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | +26
Monroe was the offensive hub tonight he could be many nights. The ball went through him, and he either got a good shot or found a teammate for one. Why don’t the Pistons put Monroe in this role more often? Perhaps fueled by his expand offensive responsibility, he had a little extra pep in his step defensively. The results on that end weren’t perfect, but when Monroe is using his quick hands to get steals, his fundamental defensive issues matter a heck of a lot less.
|Josh Smith, SF 30 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-5 FT | 9 REB | 7 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 9 PTS | +25
Late in the second half, Smith got a steal and then tried to bring the ball upcourt himself. Against only mild defensive pressure, he lost control of his dribble out of bounds. This is a player who does not know his limits. But his talents are so diverse, he can still positively impact the game.
|Andre Drummond, C 23 MIN | 10-11 FG | 2-5 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 5 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +15
Offensively and defensively, Drummond was a beast – and he makes it look so easy. It’s not reasonable to expect him ever to produce like this every night, but watching him actually do it, somehow it seems possible.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 37 MIN | 6-17 FG | 6-7 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +27
Jennings – as he does from time to time – found trouble. (Or, if you prefer, trouble found him.) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope fouled Evan Turner on a drive late in the first half. As Turner continued past the baseline under the basket, he blindly threw the ball back toward the court. At best, he was trying to keep the ball in bounds in case the foul wasn’t called. At worst, he was carelessly tossing the ball into a crowd. Either way, the ball hit Caldwell-Pope in the face. Jennings ran to scoop up the ball and chucked it at Turner’s legs. Jennings got a technical foul, but he was lucky not to be ejected. Expect the NBA office to look at that one again. I like that Jennings stuck up for his teammate, but he could have done that verbally rather than physically. As for Jennings’ play, he got as easy of a 20 points as someone shooting 35 percent can get. Thanks to the effectiveness and increased role for Detroit’s frontline, Jennings could just hang back, attempt way more shots than anyone else on the team and pad his scoring numbers.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 21 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +14
Caldwell-Pope was aggressive early, probably even a little too shot-happy. But he got going midway through the third quarter, scoring and defending at an elite level for a short stretch.
|Josh Harrellson, PF 13 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1
Harrellson was much more ineffective than helpful, even if he had a couple OK moments.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -11
Any interest in using your limited minutes to make a rotation case? No? OK, whatever.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 6 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -10
What about you? No? Alright. No skin off my back.
|Luigi Datome, SF 7 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -11
I understand that it’s not easy to come in cold as a shooter, but Datome played seven minutes – his most action in more than a month – and he still couldn’t get warm enough to make a single shot? Maybe Datome would perform better in regular role, but there’s just no way to give him one.
|Kyle Singler, SF 35 MIN | 6-12 FG | 5-6 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +5
Singler gave the Pistons three players with 20 points and 10 rebounds in a game for the first time since 1997, when Grant Hill, Bison Dele and Lindsey Hunter (!) did it in a win over the Suns. Obviously, Monroe and Drummond were too impactful inside for the 76ers. But I really think the Pistons could have started Singler as a stretch center in place of either of those two and still won. Philadelphia is awful inside, and the absence of Michael Carter-Williams removed some of their best counters for offsetting that.
|Will Bynum, PG 23 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -3
Bynum was moderately helpful off the bench, focusing on passing until garbage time. Then, he looked for his own shot a bit more.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 9 MIN | 0-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | +7
Stuckey left the game during the second quarter with dizziness and didn’t return. He had a scary incident a few years ago due to something similar, but he turned out fine. Hopefully, that’s the case again. Encouragingly, the concern level tonight never even approach the previous case. Before leaving the game, Stuckey was off.
Sometimes, less is more. The Pistons didn’t do anything fancy. They just gave the biggest responsibilities to their best players against a bad team, and it worked beautifully.
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