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