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Andre Drummond excels, Kyle Singler steps up, Brandon Jennings sits, and everyone plays hard in eventful win

Atlanta Hawks 107 Final
Recap | Box Score
115 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 40 MIN | 10-17 FG | 2-6 FT | 15 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +14

Monroe played with great purpose on both ends. There was no wasted movement as he sought and got clear looks at the basket and snatched rebounds. He even contested shots on the other end, maybe even verging on being overly aggressive.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 37 MIN | 7-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | +13

Smith was really hustling defensively and on the glass, and when he plays like that, he gets more leeway in other areas – like leading the team in misses and turnovers.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 7-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | +16

At one point, George Blaha mistakenly called him “Kyle Korver” – a relatively minor mistake tonight. Singler shot 4-of-6 on 3-pointers, including a couple clutch makes to seal the game. Singler didn’t simply spot up from beyond the arc, either. He was hustling all over the court.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 33 MIN | 10-11 FG | 0-8 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | 0

Early in the fourth quarter, Drummond swiped a perimeter Atlanta pass, burst up court and dunked on Elton Brand. That put the Pistons up five, their biggest lead to that point. Not many big men can make a play like that. Drummond is special – and he showed it most of the night. But his weakness is glaring. Later in the period, the Hawks got back into the game by intentionally fouling Drummond, who missed all his free throws tonight. John Loyer had no choice but to pull him, and with that, went Drummond’s A+.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 3-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 2 REB | 14 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +7

Jennings forced too many bad shots, which partially explains his 0-for-8 start. But he passed well, and then Hawks got him going by fouling him a couple 3-point attempts. The Pistons have clearly tilted their defense to account for Jennings being the weak link. Still, I’m docking Jennings points for Shelvin Mack (21 points on 16 shots, six assists and one turnover) going off. If your team can’t trust you defend Shelvin Mack, that’s a problem. Jennings didn’t play in the fourth quarter, when he typically hijacks the offense and hurts the Pistons’ chances of winning. Jennings gets no demerits for that tonight, but he’s probably lucky he sat before his efficiency dropped.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -4

Every time he tries to do something offensively, it seems forced. At least he didn’t try to do too much tonight, and he even made a 3-pointer. He couldn’t defend without fouling, though.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | 0

Bynum got to the rim with ease, and he remained under control once he reached the paint – either scoring himself or dishing to a teammate. His defense, however, was suspect.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7

In his last three games, Caldwell-Pope has posted a combined 16 trillion. It’s as if he and Loyer are playing chicken, with Loyer reducing the rookie’s role and Caldwell-Pope trying to prove he’s not interested, anyway.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | 0

I’m generally OK with Contract-Year Rodney Stuckey hunting his own offense, because he’s one of the Pistons’ more efficient scorers. But when he’s taking running hook shots, he’s probably gone too far. Once Stuckey reigned it in just a little, he returned to being effective.

John Loyer

After back-to-back losses to the Bobcats that were demoralizing while they were still being played, the Pistons could have packed it in. They didn’t, instead playing some of their most-passionate basketball of the season. Loyer deserves at least some credit for that. He definitely deserves credit for sitting Jennings in the fourth quarter and avoiding the trend of Jennings commandeering and hurting the offense. I also thought Loyer pulled Drummond at the appropriate time, after Atlanta sent him to the line twice. One quibble: The Pistons play far too passive defense to excuse how many open 3-pointers they allow. Atlanta shot 13-of-31 (42 percent) from beyond the arc. I really thought the Pistons would get more aggressive defensively under Loyer, but they haven’t.


  • Feb 21, 201410:33 pm
    by Eric


    Thanks again for the post game grades! I appreciate the work you put in to these. Since I don’t get the games on TV this is the next best thing!

  • Feb 21, 201410:50 pm
    by Cry Lawson


    Tom Gores seems like a really smart man with very deep pockets from my understanding. I believe that with my calculations if we release everyone theoretically speaking we would have about 14.5 million in cap space enough for a big time free agent. The pistons are very young, with lots of talent and with a respected coach such as Hollins (i don’t believe that izzo would leave) we could be a prime location for another FA. Not saying this part will happen but I would love to see Kevin Love play alongside Drummond. With my fantasy out of the way other FA that are possible to come to detroit could be Deng, Bledsoe, Hayward, L stephenson, or I Thomas. After we sign one or two FA not based upon just talent but need I say we sign back Monroe and Stuckey to reasonable deals putting us over the tax of course but able to compete with big name teams. These are all theoretical but make sense. What do you guys think?

  • Feb 21, 201410:55 pm
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)


    When Drummond was on the fast break I was like please do not try to lay the ball up….Dunk that sh!t and he did I went crazy

  • Feb 21, 201411:06 pm
    by Parsons


    I’ve noticed grades go up quicker when we win. Not a complaint or anything just an observation.

    On a game related note Jennings didn’t play the 4th. Kind of shocking. It doesn’t really matter that we’re hurting the value of certain players at this point so I really think now we’ll change up the rotation and this may be a start. Really though no one on the team is stepping up and taking these opportunities so even changing the rotation won’t help if only a few players care. You can count the interested players on one hand. I don’t know how you change that but it needs to change. A good coach would help but a GM has to come first. Our GM seems less interested than the players.

  • Feb 21, 201411:08 pm
    by pablum


    Biggest difference in game was at SG with Singler. We still wouldn’t have beaten Bobcats with Jefferson playing like the best Big in the game right now, but the games would’ve been closer.
    Fine fine read on Jenning’s and 4th quarter minutes, which I don’t think is a small deal. He clearly didn’t appreciate it in his body language and I give all the credit in the world to Loyer for this startegy. The kid is 24 and likely has yet to be “reached” by a coach, certainly not the NBA. (And I don’t use the word “kid” lightly: recall Jennings let out to the press some time ago in a bad stretch that he “lost confidence” in his shot. (When have you ever heard that before from an NBA starter?) And when Cheek’s got the axe, Jennings called him a “father figure.”
    The “one 50 and busted” crowd should chew on that.

  • Feb 21, 201411:22 pm
    by gidi


    Interesting that Monroe gets an “A” given that he is notorious for not running back in transition when his team loses the ball. He was again very obviously unwilling to do so today… and that is is one of the most basic basketball plays of all. In my opinion Monroe really needs to get his ass kicked every single night by a tough coach, if he wants to have a decent chance to ever be more than a nice prospect, wanna be all star.

  • Feb 21, 201411:54 pm
    by Smitty


    Bi polar Pistons.  Honestly probably got that 8 seed. Atlanta is terrible. Knicks are terrible. Cavs wow, may not be good for a very very long time.

  • Feb 22, 201412:15 am
    by Jodi aka "The Guru"


    This was probably the best I’ve ever seen Singler play…He’s a decent player…

  • Feb 22, 20141:31 am
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)


    I say it all the time….Singler has to play like. Semi all star for us to win… But Drummond really took the game over

  • Feb 22, 20141:59 am
    by Ken


    Singler is shooting 51% 3FG as a starter. I don’t imagine we could get much better shooting from a perimeter player than that. He won’t maintain that level, but he should be able to avg 40% 3FG, and if so it wouldn’t be so bad to keep him in the starting lineup next year. Everyone says we just need shooters to compliment our frontcourt, and he’s giving us that shooting. He also does all the little things you need from a complimentary role player.
    Depending on what position we can find the best talent at in FA (SG or SF) I wouldn’t be opposed to just keeping at the other position. Its good to have a role player like him in the starting lineup who doesn’t need a lot of shots, but makes the ones he gets and does other winning plays – and comes cheap.
    It would allow us to spend a little extra on the other perimeter position.

  • Feb 22, 20143:02 am
    by Javell


    Drummonds gettin good

  • Feb 22, 20143:35 am
    by @GPMasters


    Fun game to watch, especially Drummond’s steal-and-dunk, and Sheed and the bench’s reaction, but the W doesnt help us.

  • Feb 22, 20147:19 am
    by sebastian


    One grade that was left out was is Assistant Coach Rasheed Wallace. I am certain that ‘Sheed laid into their asses, during halftime.
    An for this assumption, I would give ‘Sheed an A+, as this was the Pistons best second half of the season, in a 19 point turnaround after the break.
    ‘Sheed probably ripped into all of their asses during the break, because the bigs (Dre, Moose, yes even Moose, and Josh) played like they gave a damn during the second half.
    These guys have to play every remaining possession of the season, like they f@ckin’ care for the remainder of the season to have any NBA dignity.

    • Feb 22, 20141:36 pm
      by MitchEPooh


      It was Loyer who ripped the team at halftime, according to Bynum. Questioned their heart, shamed them into playing harder.

  • Feb 22, 20148:04 am
    by Linda


    I am glad the Pistons won.  But I don’t like the idea they are using KCP as the scapegoat for what is wrong with this team.  Why don’t the Pistons develop their rookies?  Impress me beat Dallas. The Pistons defense needs to get a whole lot better.  When they played Charlotte they weren’t stopping nobody.  I am glad Singler had a good game, but he would not have gotten all those points if they had not passed him the ball.  Usually, they treat him just like they treat KCP like an after thought. 

    • Feb 22, 201410:50 am
      by zdh


      im not sure KCP has been the “scapegoat” for what is wrong with the team, but i agree he should be getting more minutes and touches.

      • Feb 22, 20141:38 pm
        by MitchEPooh


        Not a scapegoat. Just a bust.

    • Feb 22, 20145:47 pm
      by Rob


      Completely with you, he is way too passive when he touches the ball. They never pass to KCP so when he does finally touch it he needs to be more selfish and take some of these shots, he sees Jennings and Smith jacking up terrible shots, I don’t see why he feels like he doesn’t have the right to shoot

      • Feb 22, 20145:48 pm
        by Rob


        well I mean when he was actually getting minutes, now he don’t see the floor…

  • Feb 22, 20149:02 am
    by starlight0997


    I know I know, i was joking about tanking in my last post. But if the Pistons play like this where they actively deflect passes, hustle, and dive to the floor for loose balls, I will certainly take the wins.

  • Feb 22, 201410:07 am
    by Rodman4Life


    WTF!  I thought we were tanking!!

  • Feb 22, 201410:16 am
    by Corey


    I hope like hell next year’s coach plays KCP and tells them to pass him the damn ball once in a while. judging by the rotation, Loyer is purely in “try to win enough to make people thinki can be a head coach” mode.

  • Feb 22, 201410:37 am
    by JYD for Life


    This team needs a psychopath like Thibs to coach it. 
    That guy squeezes everything out of his roster.  He would probably coach this Pistons roster to the EC Finals.  
    not sure who that guy is, but it’s not Lionel HolliNs and certainly isn’t George Karl.  

  • Feb 22, 201411:23 am
    by Vic


    Little tweaks like removing Jennings in the 4th quarter could have saved the season a long time ago.
    Next step, play KCp at the 2 and Singler at the 3, and watch them both hit 3s and play better D

  • Feb 22, 20141:15 pm
    by MitchEPooh


    It’s official. KCP is a bust. It was a mistake to draft him, that’s on Joe D. They say they wanted an outside shooter, he can’t shoot. 3 straight games of just running up and down the floor. No stats. Good defender? I don’t see it.
    Loved you Dumars, but it’s time to face the music for all your glaring errors.
    The poor drafting.
    The contract extensions to players who needed to go.
    The absolute worst free agent signings in all of the NBA.
    The coaching hires since LB.
    Giving away a 1st round pick so that someone would take one of our highest paid players.
    Giving away talent in return for nothing in trades.
    Not using the amnesty provision.
    We have not yet absorbed the pain from all of his bad decisions.

    • Feb 22, 20145:50 pm
      by Rob


      Its not a huge deal he didnt put up any stats in the last 2 considering he only played 3 mins a piece

  • Feb 22, 20141:30 pm
    by MitchEPooh


    That may have been the worst half Jennings has played this year. Thank God we have a coach willing to sit him down. Sometimes that is what you have to do. Treat him like a child, give him a timeout when he does not behave. Loyer ain’t coming back so he might as well ingore the contracts and just play the players who are willing to hustle and play within the scheme of the team. Next time it might be Josh. I would also bench any player immediately for jawing at an official instead of running back.
    Barkley is an asshole, but he was right about this team. All talent, no heart or brains. A coach that could harness this talent would be a start. A GM that knows the league will help.

  • Feb 22, 20141:54 pm
    by Smitty


    MCW or Trey Burke would have been better picks at this point. Shit even Tony Snell dropped 20 last night! I’m not giving up on KCP yet but he needs to start scoring the ball.

  • Feb 22, 20143:07 pm
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)


    Jennings finished with 14 ast…1 to….lol..just horrible for a PG

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