By losing to the Cavaliers tonight, the Pistons guarantee they’ll at least tie three ways for the No. 8 seed in the lottery. That means they’ll enter the offseason with at least a 30.8 percent chance at keeping their pick, which goes to the Bobcats unless it falls in the top eight.
Before the lottery, though, those odds would change significantly – as a coin flip would determine whether Detroit, Cleveland and/or New Orleans would get a higher pick if any don’t move into the top three.
However, don’t count on it getting to that point. Another Pistons loss would clinch at least sole possession No. 8 seed – and at least an 82.4 percent change of keeping the pick. Another Cavaliers win would eliminate them from tying Detroit, bumping the Pistons’ odds of keeping the pick to 44.25 percent. Ditto another Pelicans win. Or if both Cleveland and New Orleans win another game, Detroit would get to 82.4 percent without losing itself.
In other words, barring catastrophe, the Pistons will finish the season with at least an 82.4 percent of keeping their pick after the lottery. It’s a good night.
|Greg Monroe, PF 33 MIN | 7-18 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -22
Monroe struggled to guard Spencer Hawes (6-of-8, including 3-of-3 on 3-pointers) on the perimeter, and even Anderson Varejao pulling him out of the paint presented issues. But Monroe still made solid contributions offensively and on the glass while his teammates let the game slip away. Monroe didn’t do much to save it, but it wasn’t his fault the Pistons fell behind 69-37 at halftime. On the bright side, that deficit all but ensured the Pistons could do whatever they wanted in the second half without risking a win.
|Kyle Singler, SF 28 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -14
Singler was OK. Offensively, he didn’t look as good as what he produced. Defensively, he didn’t look as bad as what Luol Deng produced against him. Net result = OK.
|Andre Drummond, C 29 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-7 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -17
Drummond lacked his usual lift on the second night of a back-to-back, a team-wide issue that was most evident with him. That he still grabbed 14 rebounds in those conditions says a lot about his talent. Drummond also goaltended on both ends of the floor, saying something about his focus.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 31 MIN | 5-17 FG | 6-8 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | -18
Three of the Pistons’ first 11 possessions ended with Kyrie Irving stealing the ball from Jennings. Jennings also missed his first 10 shots. But he heated up in the third quarter just enough to post a decent total in the points column.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 28 MIN | 4-14 FG | 7-7 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -18
If Stuckey ever plays for a team that warrants serious advance scouting, I wonder whether teams would just stop fouling him and dare him to finish after making his quick and strong moves. He excels at putting defenses on their heels, placing them in position where fouling usually makes sense. But he finishes so poorly, maybe the line should move in favor of letting him shoot.
|Tony Mitchell, PF 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | +7
Mitchell was sort of all over the place, missing a jumper and pulling in rebounds. But at least he got in the game, playing his most minutes since Dec. 10. That’s how he’ll get better.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 26 MIN | 5-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -12
Jerebko’s defensive versatility proved to be an asset, as he stuck with Cleveland’s outside-inside bigs better than Monroe could (though Jerebko didn’t exactly shut anyone down). Jerebko raining 3s, making 4-of-7, was a bonus. No Piston was better tonight, and it’s nice to see Jerebko’s late-season surge continue.
|Luigi Datome, SF 12 MIN | 2-3 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +6
Datome played the entire fourth quarter, only the second time in the 2014 calendar year he’s played at least eight minutes. He made a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer and put the ball on the floor for another made jumper, flashing the perimeter-shooting skills he was expected to bring this season.
|Peyton Siva, PG 22 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -11
Siva had a chance to get ahead of the crowd dribbling in transition, but without breakaway speed, he let a Cavalier catch up and block his shot. Then, Siva couldn’t get back quick enough on defense, and Matthew Dellavedova made a 3-pointer. Siva’s lack of speed was a theme throughout, but at least he made another 3-pointer.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 23 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -11
Caldwell-Pope made one shot, a dunk after getting a steal and taking the ball immediately to the basket. Otherwise, he just settled for jumpers and missed them all. His defense can get him going offensively, but he didn’t play enough defense for that to happen tonight.
|Josh Smith, SF DNP LEFT KNEE INJURY
Will Smith play again this season?
The Pistons-Cavaliers series in recent years has been defined who wants it more, and by "it," I mean to tank. I haven’t forgotten how Cleveland fell behind 100-50 two years ago, essentially giving Detroit no chance to win the tanking battle that game. Well, the Pistons – flat from the get-go – reversed the script best they could tonight. (They’re not bad enough to do 100-50, but they did enough.) By halftime, the loss was in the bag, and then Loyer played the young reserves. He probably should have inserted them earlier, but for him, this is major progress. And as noted above, this loss was huge.