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Pistons blow 16-point fourth-quarter lead, nine-point lead in final three minutes – and it’s glorious!

Cleveland Cavaliers 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 6-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +21Monroe was solid, but he got buried on the bench down the stretch.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 44 MIN | 11-23 FG | 1-3 FT | 8 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 24 PTS | +6Good and bad, Smith stuffed the stat sheet as we all know he can. He spent eight minutes tonight at center, to the Pistons’ detriment both offensively and defensively. But you won’t hear me complaining about Detroit experimenting with lineups or Smith airballing a free throw, which he did.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +2Singler was excellent as a spot-up shooter, making 4-of-6 3-pointers. His defensive effort was strong, though his defensive execution fell just a tad behind that standard.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 26 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-4 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -3The Cavaliers mostly kept Drummond off the offensive glass, limiting his ability to score. In time, Drummond will develop the offensive repertoire to exert his will. At least he hit the defensive glass hard.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 41 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 13 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +6The Pistons really moved the ball well, and that started with Jennings. He rarely attacked the rim, but when he’s making his jumpers – 5-of-9 on 3-pointers tonight – that works OK.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -13Nice rushed hook shot to beat the first-quarter buzzer. Otherwise, meh.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -7I always appreciate Bynum’s eagerness to feed Drummond, and he hit the big man with a lob on his first possession. But the Cavaliers overplayed Drummond on subsequent pick-and-rolls, and Bynum had no counter. The Pistons’ offensive rating with him on the court tonight: 47.0.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 13 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -8Caldwell-Pope came out gunning, scoring five quick points after entering the game in the first quarter. Then, he faded into the background.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 2-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -9Shot 0-for-6 outside the restricted area, had as many turnovers as assists, earned the right to play the entire fourth quarter.

Dion Waiters

question mark The Palace heckler Jason Lloyd of Ohio.com:

11. The Cavs owe a big part of this victory to the heckler who inspired Jarrett Jack. When Jack entered the game in the fourth quarter, a Pistons fan began shouting how Jack is a terrible shooter and has always been a terrible shooter. Jack looked up and engaged him (the Pistons were shooting free throws), telling him he needed a seat closer to the floor.

12. On the Cavs’ next possession, Deng found Jack at the 3-point line and he made the 3, then immediately turned and looked at the fan. Jack was 3-for-9 through the first three quarters, then shot 4-for-6 in the fourth quarter and scored 11 points.

13. “He got me going,” Jack said of the fan. “I told some of their guys it’s the old dude’s fault I caught fire a little bit. He got my attention and woke me up. Whoever he is, I definitely want to say thanks.”

14. Pistons crowds are always sparse, so hecklers are easy to hear, particularly those sitting close to the court. Plus Jack conceded he hears everything and often engages the fans.

15. “I’m very immature so I respond all the time,” he joked. “It’s always fun. I always interact with the fans but I try not to let it take away from my focus.”

John Loyer
This is how you tank – at least in hindsight. Boy, that big lead had me worried. The Pistons led by 16 points entering the fourth quarter. So far this season, teams with such large advantages entering the fourth quarter had gone 224-1. And the Pistons still led by nine points in the final three minutes. But they blew it. Oh boy, did they blow it. The Pistons surrendered a game-ending 10-0 run as the offense stagnated, possibly because Jennings – who played the entire fourth quarter and 41 minutes overall, his most playing time since Loyer became coach – became fatigued. The Pistons played hard all game, and maybe using Bynum even briefly in the second half would have won Detroit this game. But Loyer stuck with Jennings, a needless test of valor that produced the desired result.The Pistons now have the NBA’s eighth-worst record and a two-game cushion over the ninth-worst Cavaliers. Detroit is now closer to the sixth-worst Lakers than to Cleveland. My hopes are officially up for the Pistons keeping their first-round pick, which goes to the Bobcats unless it falls in the top eight of the draft.

But please stop guarding opponents spotting guarding opponents like this:

image

On Cleveland’s next possession, Loyer was headed over the sideline to trap until Cleveland moved the ball to the middle of the floor:

image

I’m definitely of the Zach Lowe school on this, though we don’t agree exactly. Although I don’t like it, I have no huge objection to coaches yelling at opposing shooters. But I hate when coaches crowd the sideline – especially when they, as Loyer is prone to doing, reach over it. Until more players follow Jason Kidd’s model, though, I don’t see a good way to stop it. I don’t want to tell coaches they can’t stand, but they ought to stop abusing the privilege.

Pistons shut down Trey Burke, but not doubts about their own draft planning

Detroit Pistons 114 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Utah Jazz
Greg Monroe, PF 30 MIN | 9-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | -1

Monroe finished well inside, confidently took jumpers (making 3-of-5 shots from mid-range) and rebounded like he should. He even defended Derrick Favors (1-for-5) well in the halfcourt

Josh Smith, SF 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +6

In the first few minutes, Smith made a 3-pointer and then airballed twice. (At least I think he did. It’s possible the second shot grazed rim). It seemed we were headed toward another game of Smith throwing everything toward the basket. Weeeeee. Instead, he settled down and played mostly within himself. He even made half his free throws. The Pistons are paying Smith to noticeably and positively impact games, but with him, the quietly decent games sometimes beat the alternatives.

Kyle Singler, SF 28 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | +1

Singler was pedestrian offensively and a notch below that on the other end, where Gordon Hayward (32 points and six assists) had some success against him.

Andre Drummond, C 34 MIN | 9-10 FG | 1-3 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +12

Drummond was an absolute beast finishing inside and on the glass. But, defensively, he too often ceded interior position to Enes Kanter (14 points and eight rebounds). Drummond must become a more-physical man-to-man defender.

Brandon Jennings, PG 30 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -1

Jennings successfully got the Pistons into transition and semi-transition and was competent enough in the half court. He deftly balanced when to score and when to pass. His defensive shortcomings didn’t really cost the Pistons tonight. As Greg Kelser said during the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast, the Pistons prepared specially to defend Trey Burke. And it worked. Burke shot 6-of-15 with just two assists and two turnovers. I don’t know how many rookies receive that type of attention, but count Burke among them. That he struggled against a gameplan created to stop him shows, for all the promise he’s displayed this season, he must improve to become one of the NBA’s better starting point guards.

Jonas Jerebko, PF 24 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +18

If Jerebko maintains this resurgence, would he consider opting out of his contract next season? Considering he’s owed $4.5 million, I doubt it, but it would at least require a moment of thought.

Tony Mitchell, PF 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +4

He didn’t put himself in position to do anything but make free throws, but at least he did that perfectly.

Luigi Datome, SF 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +4

Nice tip-in.

Peyton Siva, PG 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +4

Siva drove by Burke – where have I seen that matchup before? – to set up a short Mitchell shot. He also lost Burke on the other end, allowing the former Michigan point guard to make a jumper.

Will Bynum, PG 17 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +17

Bynum came in focused on setting up his teammates, and he did a superb job of it. Only five other reserves – D.J. Augustin, Eric Bledsoe, Cory Joseph, Phil Pressey and John Salmons – have had a game this season with so many assists and no turnovers.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 16 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +19

Caldwell-Pope might have given up something with his positional defense by spending so much energy on the other end, but he made up for it. One, he scored well. Two, he hawked the ball, getting a couple nice steals.

Rodney Stuckey, SG 27 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +17

Stuckey had a big fourth quarter, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the final period. Yes, the Pistons led by between 12 and 22 points the entire quarter. Why do you ask?

John Loyer

One key tanking strategy is not altering your gameplan by opponent. If you run into a bad matchup, you stick with what you do and suffer the consequences. Loyer screwed that up by successfully implementing a plan to contain Burke. It’s as if Loyer doesn’t care whether a team that will surely let him go in a few weeks gets a better draft pick for the next coach! But I care. The Pistons are just a half game “ahead of” the Cavaliers for the No. 8 seed in the lottery, a margin for error tonight’s game shrunk. Loyer probably isn’t on board with tanking – and I don’t blame him – but as the face of the organization in these game reviews, his grade gets dinged for not steering the franchise where it should go – i.e., getting a top-eight first-round pick and avoiding sending it to the Bobcats.

Pistons continue to slide; Jazz, Kings, or Celtics might be able to catch them yet

Detroit Pistons 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
112 Los Angeles Clippers
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -13

Monroe played a solid game. His defense did little to slow Griffin. But few players are slowing Blake down lately.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 6-16 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 12 PTS | -14

Smith jacked a bunch of bad shots and mostly missed. And he wasn’t doing much else for Detroit. His perimeter defense was ok, but he made up for that by failing miserably on defending the paint in this one.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 19 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -6

It’s good to see Singler getting relatively few minutes. At this point in the season, minutes are precious; they can be used to evaluate prospects. unfortunately, KCP and Datome aren’t getting his minutes, Jerebko is.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 38 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -13

Drummond is a beast. He really deserves to be on a better team. Hopefully he will be soon and that better team will still be the Pistons.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 5-16 FG | 5-7 FT | 7 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | -24

Jennings wasn’t perfect, but at least he contributed in this one. He was hitting threes and grabbing boards at much better rates than his norm. However, he also allowed Paul to have a huge night–even by his own lofty standards.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 27 MIN | 8-12 FG | 1-4 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +8

I don’t even care about the terrible free throw shooting. This was probably Jerebko’s best game of his career (hitting 5 threes gives it the edge over his game against the Bobcats on Jan 13, 2012). His final line was arguably better than Griffin’s. And Griffin had a good game.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 24 MIN | 2-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +8

Like Jennings, Bynum played well in several ways tonight. Like Jennings, defense and shooting weren’t among those ways.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 4 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +4

Caldwell-Pope’s per-36 stats tonight were 36 points, 9 boards, 9 dimes, and 9 steals with 0 turnovers. Not that he would have put up that line even if he’s played 48 minutes, but Kentavious should really be seeing the floor a bit more.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 27 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +5

I’m amazed that Stuckey was able to play for 27 minutes and only end 11 possessions with a shot, assist, turnover, or trip to the line.

John Loyer

Loyer, I’d like to introduce you to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Luigi Datome, and Tony Mitchell. Those are three prospects who might be worth having int he rotation next season. But how are we supposed to know when you glue them to the pine? I do not approve f the work you’re doing.

Will Bynum and Brandon Jennings duel for John Loyer’s affection in loss to Suns

Detroit Pistons 92 Final
Recap | Box Score
98 Phoenix Suns
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 6-16 FG | 4-7 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -1

Monroe’s shooting percentage isn’t great, but he offensively rebounded three of his own misses and tried to putback two of them, converting one. It’s a good way to make it seem as if he were sucking up possessions when he really wasn’t. All things considered, Monroe defended pretty well, too.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 43 MIN | 7-19 FG | 0-8 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -2

0-for-8 from the free-throw line? Are you freaking kidding me? Smith once shot 0-for-7 from the stripe with the Hawks, but he upped the ante tonight. Only one other player in the last three years has shot so many free throws in a game and missed them all, and I don’t need to tell you whom it was. Andre Drummond went 0-for-8 from the stripe against Atlanta last month. But Smith missing so many free throws means something different than when Drummond does it. For Drummond, it’s a structural issue. For Smith, it symbolizes his unfocused game. Beyond the free throws, Smith shot 3-for-13 outside the paint, turned the ball over thrice and repeatedly gave the man he was guarding too much space on the perimeter. The last one isn’t completely Smith’s fault – playing small forward, or even power against these Suns, doesn’t suit him – but with a little more defensive discipline, he could have performed better. It’s a minor miracle Smith somehow salvaged a passable grade, a product of playing hard with his athleticism even while he’s playing without focus.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -3

Singler defended with energy. He also missed a dunk and a layup.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 36 MIN | 5-7 FG | 3-7 FT | 16 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -7

Great to have Drummond back in the lineup. He just quietly went about his business, scoring inside and rebounding everywhere. He must make more of a defensive impact, though.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 14 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -11

The Suns successfully channeled Jennings’ dribble into the mid-range, forcing him to make quick decisions from no-man’s land. Guess how that went. Jennings missed both his shots and committed two turnovers with no assists before John Loyer pulled him for Will Bynum, the Pistons’ first sub. Maybe it was because Jennings had two fouls, and maybe Jennings was hooked again two minutes into the second half because he’d committed four fouls. But considering Jennings didn’t return for the game’s final 22 minutes, it really seems Loyer just trusts Bynum more.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-3 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -2

Jerebko has looked a lot more athletic lately, especially when he finished a twisting layup while being fouled on a fastbreak. He also had two steals while the Suns were pushing the ball, not an easy task. He missed two 3-pointers, but both were wide open and good looks.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 8 PTS | +1

Loyer gives Bynum a much longer leash than Jennings gets. The Pistons’ offense had many more quality possessions with Bynum, rather than Jennings, running the show. But there were also a lot more negative possessions. Overall, the Pistons’ had a lowly offensive rating of 80.6 while Bynum played. Bynum also gave plenty of room to operate to Eric Bledsoe, who scored 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the second half.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 9 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -2

Caldwell-Pope hit a confident runner in the lane and a garbage basket late, but his defense wasn’t his sharpest.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 31 MIN | 10-19 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 23 PTS | -3

With 8:33 left in the game, Stuckey made a 3-pointer. That put the Pistons up four and gave Stuckey 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including 2-for-2 on 3-points. From there, Stuckey missed all five of his shots and got hit for a double technical with Goran Dragic while Detroit blew its lead.

John Loyer

Loyer chose to ride with Bynum rather than Jennings. In the end, it might have cost the Pistons a win.* I commend Loyer for both.

*We know the Pistons the Pistons lost with Bynum getting his most playing time in the last 31 games. Who’s to say what would have happened if Loyer went back to Jennings?

I want competitive games and losses. Loyer had the Pistons positioned to seize both.

Detroit owns the first half almost enough to absorb Indiana’s second half beatdown

Indiana Pacers 112 FinalRecap | Box Score 104 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 41 MIN | 6-12 FG | 5-6 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -4In the absence of Drummond, Monroe shined. My takeaway is that playing all three bigs together is a stupid strategy. But I could see this being used as evidence that Drummond and Monroe are incompatible or that there is something magical about Moose at C rather than at PF.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 10-23 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 4 BLK | 3 TO | 23 PTS | -12Another bad offensive game for Smith. And he didn’t take advantage of Drummond’s rebounding vacuum either. But he was solid defensively, so there’s that.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 46 MIN | 3-7 FG | 6-6 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -9Singler chose his spots often enough to be a significant contributor. Ideally, he would be a bench player, but a good team can have one or two players like Singler, because he plays to his limited strengths, not to his limitations.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 5 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -1For just five minutes, Drummond was piling up stats at a fantastic rate. On the other hand, just five minutes.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 37 MIN | 3-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 12 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -10Typical Jennings game. He piled up a ton of assists and shot terribly. But he didn’t throw the ball away excessively, his defense was mediocre, and he shot “only” 13 times. All told, if he could play like this every game, the Pistons would win more often.

Charlie Villanueva, PF Shot Chart 12 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -4Why is Charlie getting precious minutes? Why????But he did play well in this one.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 10 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4People like to say that getting involved offensively just isn’t KCP’s role on this team. Sure, he’s not one of the first couple options on most plays. But the problem is that he rarely situates himself to be an easy release valve when what his teammates are doing isn’t working.When you’re one of few players on a team who can (ostensibly) shoot from deep, you have to do that.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +2Last game was Bynum’s turn to be good…

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 44 MIN | 6-17 FG | 7-9 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | -2…This game was Stuckey’s turn.

John Loyer
The Pistons built up a huge, 25-point lead in the second quarter. Then the Pacers steadily shipped it away for the rest of the game.On the balance, getting to overtime against Indiana is no mean feat. Well done, Loyer. And Detroit got the L, too. So hooray for that.

Ho hum, another Pistons loss, this one to the Raptors

Detroit Pistons 87 Final
Recap | Box Score
101 Toronto Raptors
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 5-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -2

Monroe put up solid numbers but got absolutely torched by Johnson in the first half. He played a bit tougher in the second.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 37 MIN | 5-17 FG | 1-5 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -10

Smith returned to form in this game, shooting the Pistons out of the contest.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | -9

Singler is spared a failing grade by the many offensive rebounds he tapped out, keeping Piston possessions alive but without receiving credit.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 34 MIN | 6-10 FG | 4-8 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -33

Drummond pretty much played to reasonable expectations.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 10-15 FG | 0-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 24 PTS | -15

Apart from missing all his free throws, throwing very few dimes, and his really ugly turnover in the third that must have been caused by a complete lack of awareness, this was a gorgeous game from Jennings. It was pretty much an A game for a shooting guard, especially his three to close out the third.

Jennings also tried to throw an alley-oop to Drummond, but he just can’t place the ball optimally like Bynum can.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 7 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -4

Jerebko made the most of his minutes.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -2

Bynum was balling. He was shooting with even more confidence than normal and once again exhibiting superb chemistry with Drummond.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -5

KCP couldn’t blame a lack of playing time for his underwhelming performance in this game.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 26 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +7

Stuckey played 26 minutes and took six shots without getting to the line or scoring a point. That pretty much saved Detroit’s loss.

John Loyer

In an exceedingly streaky game, it never seemed like Loyer moved the needle much in either direction.

In a twist, get mad at Josh Smith for shooting really well (and hurting the Detroit Pistons’ lottery odds)

Sacramento Kings 89 Final
Recap | Box Score
99 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | -1

Monroe made a few nice passes, but that doesn’t begin to hit reasonable expectations for a starting power forward.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 33 MIN | 10-17 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 24 PTS | +8

Somewhere in this world, there’s a person who has seen Smith play only tonight and believes he’s a great jump shooter (6-for-10 outside the paint, including 2-for-2 on 3-pointers) who adequately uses that skill to set up his inside game (4-for-7 in the paint).

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 40 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 5 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +4

Four of Singer’s six highest-minute games have come since John Loyer replaced Maurice Cheeks, and the wing has really responded with some strong all-around efforts. His energy level is almost always high.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 33 MIN | 6-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 5 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +13

Cousins dunked on Drummond early, but after that, Drummond really applied more pressure defensively. Cousins has clearly outplayed the debate between himself and Monroe. How about Cousins vs. Drummond? Who would you take? That gets interesting. (I’d take Drummond due to youth, but Cousins is further ahead right now.) Drummond appeared to jam his finger at one point, and though he played well through it, it seemed to bother him at times. I don’t expect the issue to linger, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 28 MIN | 1-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +5

In the first half, Jennings shot 0-for-5 and couldn’t keep his man in front of him at all. In the second half, he really stepped up, shooting 1-for-5 and playing forgettable defense.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +2

I bet Jerebko would have graded well offensively by EPV tonight. He shot well, kept the ball moving and hit his right spots.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 4-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +3

Bynum was, to say the least, not a model of efficiency tonight. It’s games like this that make me believe he should be used only to increase variance when his team trails late.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 8 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +6

Caldwell-Pope forced a steal and beat everyone downcourt for a fastbreak dunk. That effort play earned him eight whole minutes of playing time.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 8-16 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 23 PTS | +10

Entering tonight, Stuckey averaged 19.6 points on per game on 48.6 percent shooting against the Kings – his best marks against any opponent. And he still topped both numbers in this game. What about the Kings gets him going?

John Loyer

The Pistons’ defensive focus improved from the jump after halftime, and the Kings responded by wilting. Did the Detroit players hold themselves accountable in the locker room during the break? Doubtful. So, in absence of other evidence, I’m giving Loyer credit. Sacramento made one mini-run late, but Loyer shut that down by calling timeout and refocusing his charges once again. If only I didn’t believe the Pistons’ head coach should be guiding his team toward losses at this point, Loyer would have graded well. I can’t too upset with him, though. How do you lose to the Kings at home? It’s not an easy task.

Pistons ride big games from big three (Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond) to tanking victory (actual loss)

Detroit Pistons 111 Final
Recap | Box Score
118 Boston Celtics
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 39 MIN | 8-15 FG | 6-7 FT | 14 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +3

Monroe’s offensive energy level was extremely high, and he did everything you’d want from an interior scorer. He frequently put himself in good position before receiving an entry pass. When he caught the ball further out, he worked his way inside with little wasted movement. He hit the glass hard, generating scoring looks that way, too. Add a few nice passes, and this was a really strong offensive game for Monroe. But also kept taking himself out of position defensively, losing track of where the action was headed. At least he defended well on the ball.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 39 MIN | 12-24 FG | 1-5 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 28 PTS | -2

Smith overcame his shot selection for efficient scoring output. Defensively, he repeatedly erased the Celtics’ at the rim, showing real skills as a backline defender.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 38 MIN | 2-7 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -2

Singler was mostly quiet, but the defensive issues with him playing shooting guard remain.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 38 MIN | 8-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 22 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -9

Forget versatility. The ability to grab a high percentage of available offensive rebounds and then convert those into points is an important and underrated skill, and Drummond might rank as the NBA’s best at it. As long as he can do that, he’ll remain near star quality overeall. If the rest of his game comes together, watch out.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 5-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -3

Jennings isn’t as good as Rondo, and it’s unfair to ask him to be. But watching Rondo (18 assists, 0 turnovers to the Pistons’ 17 assists, 16 turnovers) turn this lemony Boston roster into lemonade, even if the juice is only mediocre, just magnifies the disparity between Jennings and the NBA’s high-end point guards. Also, Jennings must do a better job getting back on defense.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8

Jerebko’s defense makes me sad. It’s not just that he’s too tentative, which he is. But after seeing him play without abandon earlier in his career, I just long for that fearless Jerebko.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 4-9 FG | 10-12 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | 0

Bynum scored 15 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter. For the season, Bynum has scored an incredible 47 percent of his points in the fourth quarter. That period is just, um, a quarter of the game, man.

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

So trill.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 17 MIN | 1-4 FG | 1-3 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -7

Stuckey really squandered a chance to pad his scoring average against the Celtics’ replacement-level guards.

John Loyer

The Celtics broke the game open when Jeff Green shot 3s over the Pistons’ zone. Loyer gets points for creativity. More points for losing and improving Detroit’s lottery odds. But Loyer watching a seemingly prepared team go through the motions doesn’t exactly instill confidence in anybody.

Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings and John Loyer get technicals as Pistons frustratingly lose to Bulls

Chicago Bulls 105 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 44 MIN | 12-20 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 27 PTS | -5

He seemed spooked by Joakim Noah early, but Monroe got really involved – and successful – offensively soon enough. He even made 3-of-6 shots outside the paint. This was not his strongest game defensively.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 41 MIN | 6-21 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 6 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -1

The Bulls did an excellent job keep Josh Smith from getting inside, holding him to just four shots in the restricted area. But rather than deferring to his teammates on a night he was contained, Smith got his shots elsewhere. He shot 5-for-17 outside the restricted area. On the bright side, Smith defended well and successfully passed ahead after getting stops. He also got frustrated and picked up a technical .

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 36 MIN | 5-11 FG | 6-7 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | 0

Singler scored the Pistons’ first eight points, but he faded into the background after that. He shot 0-for-5 on 3-pointers, and it remains an open question just how good a shooter he really is.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 38 MIN | 7-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | -16

Drummond padded his scoring stats once the Bulls went up 15 late in the fourth quarter. Prior, the Bulls attacked him, and his defense was not sharp.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +8

Jennings looked for his teammates before looking for his own shots, and it worked for him. He has the skills to become a solid true point guard, but not the mindset (at least beyond tonight). He also got a technical for arguing a foul.

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 16 MIN | 1-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -19

Avert your eyes.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -9

Committed a foul to avoid the trillion.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -13

Stuckey is a mediocre to slightly above average scorer focused almost solely on scoring. In 2014, I’m not sure that will get him the big contract this offseason he’s surely seeking.

John Loyer

Loyer joined Smith and Jennings in getting technical fouls. Hey, that’s not a bad way to tank. 1. It shows your players you care, and they can feed off your passion. 2. It gives the opponent easy points.

Andre Drummond rebounds from potentially trying couple days personally

New York Knicks 85 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 31 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +4Monroe seemed to have dead legs. Early, just corralling the ball inside was a struggle. Eventually, Monroe upgraded that to finishing problems. Plus, he allowed an over-the-hill Amar’e Stoudemire (22 points on 9-of-11 shooting) to carve him up. At least Monroe rebounded well, and that afforded him a few extra points.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 42 MIN | 5-17 FG | 5-9 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +7Brick city. His defense on Carmelo Anthony (28 points on 11-of-21) was up and down, which isn’t bad considering Melo’s offensive prowess.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -1Singler moves really well to get open. If only his shooting stroke were a wee bit better. Oh, well. Players combine those two skills to produce points, and Singler does so reasonably efficiently. His method just skews toward the pre-shot end of the spectrum.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 46 MIN | 6-9 FG | 5-7 FT | 26 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +13Jennette McCurdy recently went on Pete Holmes’ “You Made It Weird” podcast and discussed her relationship with Drummond. She said she was never as into it as he was, laughing as she shared details that sort of made Drummond look immature. Really, she didn’t say anything awful about Drummond, but it was a little more revealing than I would have preferred personally. Then again, their entire relationship was more revealing than I would have preferred personally. Drummond responded to TMZ:

“I found [Jennette's comments] funny. There’s a lot of false info in there, but I’ll be the mature person about the situation and let it die out.”

He also posted this Vine:

Then, lingerie shots of McCurdy appeared online, causing many to speculate Drummond leaked them. Just 45 minutes before game time, he tweeted:

For all the speculations about leaking anything, I have nothing to do with it. I’m focused on basketball. Thank you

Drummond backed that up in a big way. He scored with a craftiness indicative of, with all his other skills, a future superstar. His 26 rebounds matched Dwight Howard for most by any player this season and were most by a Piston since Ben Wallace in 2002. Defensively, Drummond both cleaned up his teammates’ mistakes and forced the Knicks into new problems. He even made 5-of-7 free throws. Drummond was the total package.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 30 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 9 PTS | +3Jennings, for better or worse, kept the ball moving.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 10 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +3Jerebko crashed the boards hard to make his impact. What is this, 2010?

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 18 MIN | 5-10 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | +8Bynum drove to the rim with ease, but the results were only moderate once he got there. He can be an effective defender when playing for steals, and this sorry Knicks backcourt allowed him to play for steals.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +7Turning strong man-to-man defense on J.R. Smith into a steal saved Caldwell-Pope from another trillion.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 27 MIN | 6-16 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | +11High-volume Rodney Stuckey is high volume.

John Loyer
Loyer has a difficult job, developing players and keeping them engaged while losing. Whether or not direction from above dictates tanking, the Pistons should tank, and I’m grading Loyer on his ability to guide the Pistons on the path they should go. It’s great Drummond played so well while on the court, and I wouldn’t root against that for a second. But did Loyer really need to give Drummond 46 minutes, his career high in a non-overtime game? Rest your top player a little more, and maybe the Knicks win the pivotal contest for lottery positioning – though probably not. Even a typical amount of playing time from Drummond would have likely been enough to beat New York. The Knicks are awful, and they’re not tanking. Even tanking teams can’t lose every game, anyway (except the 76ers). Loyer hurt Detroit’s tanking cause, but I suspect it was out of his hands anyway. Dear Knicks, please get better.