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Pistons rout another decent team and are half a game out of the playoff picture

Denver Nuggets 109 Final
Recap | Box Score
126 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 6-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -14

Let’s just look at what happened when Monroe played and sat in this game:

8 minutes on court, Nuggets outscore Pistons 23-14
4 minutes on bench, Pistons outscore Nuggets 16-6
5 minutes on court, Nuggets outscore Pistons 15-8
7 minutes on bench, Pistons outscore Nuggets 27-17
17 minutes on court, Pistons outscore Nuggets 41-39
7 minutes on bench, Pistons outscore Nuggets 20-9

Yeah, that’s really bad.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 46 MIN | 14-27 FG | 1-4 FT | 10 REB | 8 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 30 PTS | +21

Smith keeps on putting the early season woes behind him. At this rate, he’ll look like he is worth his contract by season’s end.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 46 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +14

Singler sat just two minutes in this one. Not a great line, but he managed to stave off fatigue and move well start to finish. On the second night of a back to back. Without getting into foul trouble. This is from a guy who picks up more fouls per minute than Drummond. Excellent effort, Kyle.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 35 MIN | 8-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 15 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +22

Eight offensive boards on back to back nights, both in games in which the Pistons blew out a team I would have considered significantly superior to them.

When the Pistons win, Drummond usually isn’t their best player. And that was the case tonight. But credit where it’s due: both he and his team (he is still easily the best player overall this season) look to be on a roll.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 40 MIN | 11-22 FG | 7-7 FT | 1 REB | 12 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 35 PTS | +29

Efficient scoring? Check. 35 points on 22 shots, that’ll do.
Strong point guard play? Check. 12 assists to two turnovers is a ratio I’d happily take every night.
Good defense? Check. When Jennings was on the floor, he collected two steals while holding Ty Lawson (who’d probably be an all-star in the East) to 2 points on 1-5 shooting. That’s probably his best defensive performance this year.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +8

Jerebko played the last 1:37 of the first half. He had no impact on the outcome of the game.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 12 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2

KCP’s defense was mediocre at best as he was late on rotations and several times forced to foul. Also, he contributed nothing on offense. His play from earlier this season probably should have earned him some more minutes, but his play in this game didn’t.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 7-15 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +7

Stuckey played well. It’s a bit sad that Jennings did a better job of stopping Lawson than Stuckey did, but really that says more about how good Jennings was in this one than it does about Stuckey. Lawson is a very good player, after all.

Maurice Cheeks

I can’t say I approve of all of his decisions: playing just seven players (two minutes for Jerebko doesn’t count), playing three guys over 40 minutes, continuing to start the big three and Singler over KCP…

But wow, it worked in this one. Back-to-back blowouts of superior teams. Maybe this is fool’s gold; but if this happens a couple more times, I’ll have to seriously consider the possibility that Cheeks is starting to figure out how to use this roster.

Two Things We Saw

  1. For this season to be very worthwhile, I think the Pistons need to snag a sixth seed. To do that in this pitiful Eastern Conference, I expect they’ll have to be over .500. So let’s be really generous and say it will probably only take about a 42-40 record. That would still require the Pistons to finish the season 21-11. I don’t think they can pull that off. But over these past two games, the probability, in my mind, has gone from not a chance to very unlikely.
  2. The Pistons’ big three played 11 minutes altogether tonight. I’m not convinced that plying them all such big minutes can work consistently, but it appears to have more potential than I would have been willing to concede.

57 Comments

  • Feb 9, 20141:17 am
    by Smitty

    Reply

    Great win, Great write up Tim. Monroe should be traded, not because he is bad or that I don’t like him. He could bring back good players. Also Stuckey and maybe even Pope for good players. Although i still think Pope can be good.

    • Feb 9, 20141:53 am
      by Brandon Knight

      Reply

      I want the Pistons to trade Monroe so bad…Monroe is a disaster. Literally everything improves when Monroe sits down!  Smith and Drummond together are lethal !! 

    • Feb 9, 201412:23 pm
      by pablum

      Reply

      Tim knows his hoops, no doubt, but we did not “rout two decent teams.” We nearly choked up a  29pt lead to a Nets team with no Garnett, a historically and inexplicably slumping Joe Johnson, an AWOL Kirelenko, and no Lopez. Denver’s arguably even worse, no Lawson in second 1/2; Miller’s apparently quitting on the team, no Robinson, no McGee, suffice to say it is not reasonable to call the infirmity of squads that took the floor against us “decent.”
      And Moose gets an “F.”?! 6-9 for 14pts; 6 boards ;in 30 mins.; and he gets an “F” because of the vaunted +/- stat?! It’s a Bullwinkle grade. And for all the Moose Moaners ready to trade him because of Smith’s recent string of 3-4 of fine games, or whatever it is, where the hell were was all this bad-mouthing after his strong game in the Nets win, just 2 days ago?
      Most promising for our warriors though is what Tim noted at the end of his article on our “Big 3″ actually looking like they can be a force together. Have to watch at least another 7-10 games or so, but this appears to be a direct result of Singler replacing KCP (get that plate of crow ready, Dan.) Amazing what a legit 2 with a jump-shot can do for spectacular 1-on-1 players like Smith and Jennings.
       

    • Feb 9, 20145:04 pm
      by George

      Reply

      Smith put his shooting woes ‘behind’ him? 27 shots to get 30 pts? How many starters in the league could NOT do that?

  • Feb 9, 20141:25 am
    by Drew

    Reply

    I doubt the Pistons can keep this up in the next one against the Spurs while relying on so few players. 

    • Feb 9, 20141:44 am
      by jg22

      Reply

      Agree with pretty much everything in the write-up. You would think its hard to be as bad as Monroe was if you just read those +/- stats, but watching it live I don’t doubt it for a second. 
       
      It was like the moment he came in everything went to crap, and the moment he went to the bench everything turned to gold.
       
      He’s not a bad player, but I just think the Pistons are at their best playing this uptempo type game and he just doesn’t fit in that style. It just seems like the game is too fast for him, physically and mentally. And when we try to slow it down to his pace, he succeeds, but the rest of the team gets all out of sync. 
       
      I was still 50-50 on which to trade between Monroe/Smith, but I think this game finally confirmed it for me. What I saw from Drummond/Smith together tonight was what I had been envisioning since we signed him, and that was against a good frontcourt. I see the potential of that duo and its greater than the potential of Drummond/Monroe. 
       
      Smith may not be any longterm answer, but I think he can be our “David West/Carlos Boozer” type veteran PF that can help get you back to contention. Both West/Boozer are too old to be longterm PFs for their teams, but as soon as they got them, both teams were instantly elevated into legit playoff teams. I think once Smith is back in his natural position full time, he can help do the same for us.

      • Feb 9, 20142:02 am
        by Brandon Knight

        Reply

        Dude, I agree with you 100%. Young players playing together will never work out. Having Smith over Monroe is a much better option. Dumars must act now!! I was watching NBATV and after the game they were talking about how the Pistons should run and play fast game. I agree with them %100. Pistons players like Jennings and Smith are not good half court players…however they are great fast game players. If you never noticed it yet guys…>> We are lethal on the Fast Break! 

      • Feb 9, 20142:24 am
        by Brandon Knight

        Reply

        You know who would help the Pistons so much and also complement them in every single way. My boy Gerald Green!!  He is 6-8 so I think he can play the SF. But off course he is not enough for Greg Monroe. Phoenix must include in some assets or picks. But really Gerald Green is really good option for the Pistons right now. 
        Imagine the athleticism the Pistons would have!! Especially on the fast break….Jennings and Green on the fast break!! Wow that would be great to watch. 

        • Feb 9, 20146:04 am
          by gmehl

          Reply

          I don’t generally agree with too much you say on here but you might actually be onto something. I’d take a Gerald Green/1st rounder for Monroe. Problem is I don’t think they’d do it because much like us they have no need for a centre that excels in the half court. Josh Smith would fit there system way better than Monroe.

        • Feb 9, 20148:13 am
          by Gille

          Reply

          You’re a f*cking retard , trading Monroe? Please just support another team like Milwaukee and Leave the Pistons alone

  • Feb 9, 20141:52 am
    by Justin

    Reply

    Trading Monroe would make our front court so thin,  the only option I see is finding a way to get a wing scorer for CV,  jerebko, bynum.  They need Stuckey off the bench.  Tanking is not an option,  this team needs experience,  playoff experience

    • Feb 9, 20142:34 am
      by PistonFanSinceDay1

      Reply

      Good post.

    • Feb 9, 20146:10 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      I disagree. Harrelson and Jerebko are more than capable in filling in the leftover minutes at PF/C positions. They are below average players but if you gave bot those guys consistent minutes then they’d both do a decent job. The problem both those guys have is they play 5 or 6 minutes one game and then 0 for 2-3 games. If we could get Leonard from the Spurs then there is no reason yo worry about who’s going to play the backup PF/C minutes… that’s just silly.

    • Feb 9, 201411:55 am
      by Pistons

      Reply

      Worry about the starting 5 first. They play the most we live and die with them. Bench players we can find in the offseason. We already have Singler and KCP so 3 bench players and 10ish million and our MLE to figure it out. That part shouldn’t be that difficult plus we’re not winning a title this year so we have time to come up with a bench.

  • Feb 9, 20141:54 am
    by Justin

    Reply

    Monroe would have to bring back not only a wing player but a quality pf/c

    • Feb 9, 20142:03 am
      by Brandon Knight

      Reply

      We have Harrelson and Tony Mitchell. 

      • Feb 9, 20148:14 am
        by Gille

        Reply

        Yes because those 2 can replace Monroe… You’re so dumb that it hurts

  • Feb 9, 20142:18 am
    by Giles

    Reply

    I watched the game, and it hurts me, cause I like monroe…but he has to go. I don’t care about the josh smith shots as much as monroe gets pushed around and beat down the court….bring in a middle round draft pick and jeff green and kelly olynyk….and I’ll be good with that.

  • Feb 9, 20142:44 am
    by PistonFanSinceDay1

    Reply

    Wow. When Smith and Drummond are playing well and Monroe plays mediocre everyone always want to trade him.
     
    Good game by the Pistons. Monroe definitely played soft tonight but he played his role. Jennings, Smith and Drummond were incredible. And where is @Jodi? Singer has been playing great lately.

  • Feb 9, 20142:49 am
    by Domnick

    Reply

    Maybe will bynum will get traded

  • Feb 9, 20143:49 am
    by grizz3741

    Reply

    Just when I gave up .. the Pistons stop giving up .. and start playing to win .. bout time ..

  • Feb 9, 20146:28 am
    by Kaneda

    Reply

    wow, what a way to call out a player. Horrible grading on Monroe. I’m surprised you haven’t used that approach on Smith and Jennings in the past, when we were getting blown out in the 4th quarter collapses.

  • Feb 9, 20146:32 am
    by MoATL

    Reply

    Josh Smith played his best game, period. Overall great win. Jennings also  had outstanding game. A+ for both. When we go BIG and impose our will, we can beat anyone. I don’t mind keeping Monroe cuz he is matchup advantage on offense

  • Feb 9, 20146:42 am
    by Marcus

    Reply

    There are so many players out there that can help this team. We have to trade Monroe now!! How about Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster? Eric Gordon and Ryan Matthews, Afflalo etc. It’s not rocket science Joe D. Let’s rock now while the east is wide open!!!

    • Feb 9, 20149:48 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      which of those “so many players” are available?

  • Feb 9, 20146:50 am
    by spectorw

    Reply

    A change of pace…
    We know that KCP has had a rough week. Going from a starter that was beginning to producing decent numbers to being a bench player that barely getting 10 min per game (at lease this week). Boy I hope Mo Cheeks know what he doing because I do not see Singler going 45+ min per game for the rest of the season and still be effective.
    They will need KCP in the end. I just hope he will be in the game both mentally and physically.

  • Feb 9, 20147:13 am
    by sushi

    Reply

    Bad defense as usual, but Nuggets lost Lawson who was killing Pistons with P&R, and there was no PG for them.
    That’s why Pistons won.
    It’s not like they played a better basketball.
    Pistons were same.
    Relying on offensive rebounds, gambling for a steal, scoring in transition, and very unstable defense.
    Just Nuggets were worse than Pistons.
    I don’t think Pistons can beat good defensive teams with that style.
    Their transition offense is nice, but I wanna see a better D.

    • Feb 9, 201411:00 am
      by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

      Reply

      Lawson was 2-7 shooting he did have 7 ast but 3 to’s….wouldn’t call that killing 

  • Feb 9, 20148:11 am
    by jerrific

    Reply

    Great game from Smennings, but it doesn’t really came anything. The problem with both of those players has always been consistency. They’ve both had games like this before. Until I see them start to string together a solid month of good play, and stay at that level, I will continue to hope that the Pistons figure out a way to trade both of them for something worth while. 

    • Feb 9, 20148:12 am
      by jerrific

      Reply

      *mean not came. Damn swype. 

  • Feb 9, 20148:44 am
    by Jopl

    Reply

    It’s looking more and more to me that the upcoming home and home with the Bobcats will be the true test to the playoffs.   If they lose those then they need to board the tank train

  • Feb 9, 20149:24 am
    by MRCARTER

    Reply

    When giving credit to BJ for his defense on Lawson, in all fairness, you do realize that Lawson was injured during the game right? ijs

  • Feb 9, 20149:25 am
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    With it becoming more evident that Moose is on the way out (he can’t be pleased about being benched in the 4th every game and I’m sure David Falk loves it too), what about something like this:
     
    a really, really complicated 3-way trade with Cleveland and Chicago (keeping in mind these teams most likely won’t deal with each other and Deng can’t be traded with another player, so two trades would have to actually happen).
     
    Chicago gets – Varajao, Stuckey, Villanueva, Bynum
    Cleveland gets – Boozer, Monroe and one other piece (maybe Harrelson, Shengalia (same as Deng with other included in a trade)
    Detroit gets – Deng, Gibson and Hinrich 
     
    Tough, but gives Cleveland the best player in the deal and solves a huge problem for Chicago.  Gives us a backup big and PG along with a starting SF.  The numbers should work, but it’s hard to tell without being able to include Deng on the trade machine.  
     
    Thoughts?  

    • Feb 9, 20145:24 pm
      by pablum

      Reply

      I’d make you the GM if you could pull this off.

  • Feb 9, 20149:26 am
    by MRCARTER

    Reply

    DENVER GETS:
    -Andre Roberson
    -Charlie Villanueva($8.6 million expiring contract)
    -future 1st round pick(from Dallas via Oklahoma City)
    -2014 2nd round pick(from Detroit)
     
    DETROIT GETS:
    -Wilson Chandler
    -Steven Adams
     
    OKLAHOMA CITY GETS:
    -Greg Monroe

    • Feb 9, 20149:56 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      Very unlikely that OKC is paying Monroe big bucks without getting out of bigger contracts than that.

  • Feb 9, 20149:53 am
    by Seriouslynow

    Reply

    I don’t think Deng can be traded. Isn’t there a waiting period that ends after the deadline making Deng unreadable?

  • Feb 9, 20149:55 am
    by Huddy

    Reply

    I am fine with trading Monroe if there is a solid offer out there, but the posts on here over state how likely it is that a good trade exists (get it done joe?  Get what done?  desperate trades rarely work out for the desperate team).  A lot of this talk is really short sighted as well.  Monroe puts up an average and a bad game and all of the sudden he is the ruin of the entire team and they can not function with him.  Smith has a handful of good games following a season shooting historically bad and he has somehow definitely turned the corner and there’s no way Monroe is a better fit than him.

    • Feb 9, 201410:41 am
      by johnnyboy

      Reply

      You trade Monroe because his agent will most likely find someone willing to give him 58/59M for 4 years this spring/summer. His talent doesn’t match that salary.

      • Feb 9, 201410:45 am
        by Huddy

        Reply

        I am not confused about his free agency and specifically said I am fine with a trade.  I don’t understand how fans are under the impression that there are a bevy of good SFs and draft picks being offered for him.

      • Feb 9, 201410:53 am
        by johnnyboy

        Reply

        You are fine with a trade, yet think it is short-sited?

        • Feb 9, 201411:07 am
          by Huddy

          Reply

          I think the discussion about Monroe’s fit on the team and smiths play of late is short sited Because the praise for smith and knocks against Monroe are based on small samples that don’t reflect the season they are both having.  
           
          I am fine with a good trade and think a desperate one is short sighted yes.  Trading Monroe for whatever Mediocre SF is available and would fit better this year is not a future plan.  He has value now and will after signing a new contract that everyone knows he will get anyway.  He could be a sign and trade, in season trade next year, and even with a new contract the pistons have money to bring in another piece anyway.  When everyone in the league knows you need to move a player you don’t get equal value back, there is no getting around that.

          • Feb 9, 201411:26 am
            by johnnyboy

            None of us know what’s going on behind the scenes. Joe could have had casual conversations with a number of teams since this summer. We don’t know. I don’t see moving Monroe as a desperation move. If a team wants him, they want him. Getting Monroe now gives them the right of first refusal this summer. Not all deadline trades are desperation moves.
             
            Having said that, I agree, don’t give him away for nothing. He is a valuable commodity. Move him for a future core piece, draft picks, or a combination of both.
             
            The only problem with Monroe’s “fit” is the presence of Drummond. It forces Monroe to PF. He’s a much better center, offensively and defensively.

          • Feb 9, 201411:52 am
            by Huddy

            I don’t see it as a desperation move because it’s at the deadline.  It’s a desperation move because every major sports media outlet is writing about how it needs to happen, the fan base is calling for it, and the team is doing poorly.  I don’t see how other teams don’t look at a trade with the pistons knowing full well they have the leverage.

  • Feb 9, 201410:08 am
    by Marvin Madison

    Reply

    First of all im not gonna get into trade talk cause dumars wont trade nobody and im not gonna hoot and holler over a 2 game win streak its the same crap since kooter was here they win just enough to lose a lottery pick and lose enough not to make the playoffs thats been their motto since 2010 imma preach mediocre until better changes happen. 

  • Feb 9, 201410:16 am
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    @seriouslynow – he can be traded, just not with another player from Cleveland for two months, which makes acquiring him complicated, but not impossible.  
     
    @huddy – i am with you and think Monroe and Drummond can play together long term.  With Smith’s contract, there aren’t many teams out there willing to give anything other than an expiring (which Joe won’t just dump him) or an equally bad contract (Eric Gordon or something).  It also seems like they want to play an open court type of offense, with a frenetic defense.  Greg doesn’t really fit in with that, but does offer a nice counter to that style during other points of the game.  
    My first choice would be to move smith, but it is hard to see that happening.  
    Nothing is imminent, but even when Monroe plays well, he hasn’t been on the floor much in the 4th quarter.  I can’t imagine we are far off from him becoming annoyed with the situation and things escalating.  

    • Feb 9, 201412:57 pm
      by sebastian

      Reply

      JYD for Life, I agree that Moose is becoming increasingly frustrated with his play/role, but I got to believe that David Falk is becoming frustrated, as well. Falk’s commission drops with every second that Moose plays, as a Piston.

  • Feb 9, 201411:26 am
    by pistons moribund

    Reply

    The Nets are a horrible team.  No Garnett, no Lopez. And no one under the age of 50.  The Nuggets are saddled with injury as well, no Nate, Lawson injury(not good defense by BJ) and Miller banished.  No PG on the team.  Bullwinkle still the big wrench in the works.  Still arguing calls and getting back late on defense, still on the team.  If he is sitll here on the 20th, that would be reason enough to fire JD.  Rotation would be so much better balanced with him gone and the defense would be better with KCP and Singler playing their natural positions. Will get Siva and Michell a chance to play, and also a chance to see if Datome can walk on water.  Spurs are not going to be at full strength.  Home and Home against Bobcats will be a good measure of where the roller coaster will go.  Certainly makes for entertaining comments though.  Is it me or do the Pistons play better when Mo does not have time to mess around with the team during days off?!?  Would be interesting to see what their record is on back to back and one day rest.  Maybe that is why they play better on the road, no time to practice with Mo!

  • Feb 9, 201412:02 pm
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    Just read Month Cheeks gave been FIRED!

  • Feb 9, 201412:02 pm
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    Have been FIRED!

  • Feb 9, 20142:54 pm
    by MIKEYDE248

    Reply

    It’s funny how two games ago everyone was saying how dumb Smith was and we needed to trade him, now he has two really good games and everyone wants to trade Monroe saying the Smith is our savoir.  If Smith played like it did this last game, I would be all in favor of it, but he has only had a couple of games like this all year.

    • Feb 9, 20145:06 pm
      by George

      Reply

      “It’s funny how two games ago everyone was saying how dumb Smith was and we needed to trade him, now he has two really good games and everyone wants to trade Monroe saying the Smith is our savoir.  If Smith played like it did this last game, I would be all in favor of it, but he has only had a couple of games like this all year.”
       
      No kidding. And a GOOD game for smith is 27 shots to get 30 pts. Good???

      • Feb 9, 20146:09 pm
        by Tim Thielke

        Reply

        You think shooting 52% is bad?

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