Category → Game Review
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 6-14 FG | 8-11 FT | 12 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +12
Monroe was OK finishing near the basket, but he offset that with the foul calls he often doesn’t get. His pick-and-roll defense was poor, especially in the second half. The repeated miscommunications seem like a coaching issue, but Monroe didn’t execute, either.
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 38 MIN | 11-16 FG | 2-3 FT | 11 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | +10
With the game tied, 26 second remaining and the shot clock expiring, Smith made his only 3-point attempt of the night. Pistons win, right? Not yet. Then, he fouled Gerald Green on a 3-pointer, and Green made all three free throws? Pistons lose, right? Nope. They didn’t even make it to overtime. Smith drove for a layup, the type of aggressive play he said he regretted not making after settling for a badly air-balled jumper in a similar situation against the Knicks. Pistons win, right? Yes, finally. Before his late-game dramatics, Smith played well. He ran the floor hard, putting himself in excellent position to receive Jennings’ passes, and Smith led Detroit in finishing Jennings’ assists tonight with five. Though Smith took too many longs 2s – seven – he made a respectable three of them.
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 27 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-7 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 5 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +2
Drummond protected the rim like Mutombo, shoring up many of the help-defense complaints lodged against him lately. Add his typical strong performance on the glass and buckets inside he makes look easy, and I’d take this every night from Drummond.
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 42 MIN | 4-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 18 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +13
With 11 first-quarter assists, Jennings tied Isiah Thomas’ franchise record for assists in a quarter. With 16 first-half assists, Jennings tied Thomas’ franchise record for assists in a half. Jennings ran the offense excellently tonight, setting an NBA season high for assists in a game by pushing the ball and making pinpoint passes to the right players. I don’t want that to get lost. But in the midst of that stellar point guard play, Jennings brought the ball up and immediately forced an off-balance 3-pointer with 27 seconds left in the first quarter and 19 seconds on the shot clock. The Pistons probably should have held the ball to prevent Phoenix from having a chance to run a full play, but at minimum, they should have worked for a better shot. I don’t want to make too much out of a single bad decision, but it’s infuriating when Jennings does something like that, because fixing the problem takes just a little mental discipline. Tonight, it was a small negative mark in a strong body of work – that was also brought down by poor shooting and unimpressive defense – but what about if the stakes become higher? Jennings wasting possessions could be a huge deal if the Pistons grow like management hopes, and for all his progress, Jennings has given little indication he’s ready to quit forcing bad shots.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 27 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -6
Caldwell-Pope hit a 3-pointer and then beat everyone upcourt for a transition layup for a personal 5-0 run after the Suns tied the game at 92-92. That was a huge sequence for the Pistons and the rookie. On Detroit’s first possession, Caldwell-Pope brought the ball upcourt and initiated the offense, perhaps a symbol they trust him more? Or just Maurice Cheeks becoming infatuated with Jennings playing off the ball?
|Charlie Villanueva, PF Shot Chart 8 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -4
Villanueva got all his playing time to start the second quarter, most of those minutes coming with Drummond. If Villanueva was on the court to stretch the floor and create looks for Drummond, it barely worked. Drummond had two shots in the six minutes they shared – a quick miss right after a Phoenix turnover in which Villanueva wasn’t even in the picture and later a made layup off a cut through the paint, but on the latter, the defense ignored Villanueva beyond the arc to focus on Drummond, who converted anyway. Whatever Villanueva was supposed to do on offense as a member of the rotation, the downside was greater. Detroit had an offensive rating of 86.0 with him on the court tonight, lowest of any Piston.
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 6 TO | 6 PTS | -3
Singler was active inside on both ends, following an impressive Smith transition block with one of his own when the ball bounced right to a Sun. Ultimately, Singler was too sloppy and too cold from the perimeter.
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 6-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -11
The offense’s downturn from Jennings running it to Bynum running it was immense. But Bynum hit a few key shots as the Pistons were floundering in the second half and really losing their way. Bynum has been through too much in his life to get frazzled by blowing a second half lead.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 21 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -3
Stuckey never seemed integrated in what the rest of the team was doing. His 21 minutes were his most in 19 days, which included a three-game absence due to injury. He’s back, but clearly needs more time to be back.
The Suns opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run against lineups of Bynum, Jennings, Caldwell-Pope/Stuckey, Singler and Drummond/Monroe – three guards plus Singler at power forward. I’m starting to see why these second-half collapses – the Pistons led by 18 early in the third quarter – are happening. Or is Cheeks just tanking? Quirky lineups are a classic move by tanking teams. If Cheeks isn’t tanking, his rotations were horrid tonight. This was one of the occasional games where Smith, Monroe and Drummond played well together. They had energy to run the floor and cut, and the Phoenix doesn’t have the size to match them. Smith, Monroe and Drummond were +2 in 13 minutes. But the Suns made a few 3-pointers, and Cheeks panicked. Cheeks gave 11 minutes to a lineup of Bynum, Jennings, a third guard (either Caldwell-Pope or Stuckey) and Singler as the power forward. For a majority of that time, Smith was the nominal center, though Drummond and Monroe also had turns. In those 11 minutes, the Pistons were -16. -16 in 11 minutes! On a cursory level, I at least get the idea of going small to contest Phoenix’s 3s, though I didn’t think the Pistons’ 3-point defense was struggling because Detroit was too big. But slotting so many players into assignments they’re not used to is asking for disaster. Bynum or Jennings defending the two? Caldwell-Pope or Stuckey defending the three? Singler defending the four? Smith defending the five? When so many players don’t know they’re doing, the problems grow exponentially. Somehow, the Pistons overcame that tonight.
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 27 MIN | 5-6 FG | 5-8 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +1Monroe scored very efficiently, he got a ton of boards given how little time he spent on the floor, and he even defended pretty we… no, not really. His defense was awful. But he contributed more than he gave up, so that’s better than we’ve seen lately.|
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 43 MIN | 8-23 FG | 4-6 FT | 13 REB | 7 AST | 4 STL | 5 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | +10Smith shot too much and he sucks at shooting. But wowsers, he was huge in every other facet of the game.|
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 31 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-3 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 6 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +4Drummond looked like a rookie again. He was dominant defensively but was not providing much on offense. And even what he did bring tot he table wasn’t all that efficient. But 12 boards, 6 blocks, and a win? I’ll take it.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 28 MIN | 4-10 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | +1This is the kind of play I want to see consistently from Jennings. He wasn’t going off, but still managed to be a big positive by keeping the ball moving, stretching the defense, and shooting relatively infrequently but well from deep.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 30 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -6KCP was sloppy at times, but he gave Detroit exactly what they needed in this one.|
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 36 MIN | 6-17 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +14Kyle Singler’s shooting and defense were ugly, but his rebounding went a long way to redeeming him. Just about every Piston contributed to Detroit winning the glass, but some of Singler’s caroms were particularly impressive.|
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 34 MIN | 6-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 5 TO | 16 PTS | +20Bynum was so Bynum in this one. He was electrifying, sloppy, and a crucial part of a comeback. I don’t know if he could have a more self-characterizing game.|
|Chauncey Billups, SG Shot Chart 7 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +3What little we saw of Billups on offense was pretty solid. But he is so helpless on D these days that he may as well hang out on the other side of the court, let his teammates play 4-on-5 and get a couple easy baskets on long outlet passes.|
The Pistons reversed their typical norm by coming out flat and storming back into the lead. However, Cheeks’ rotations looked as misguided as ever.
Two Things We Saw
- The Pistons won this one because they out-rebounded Philly by 20. That’s not an easy thing to do. Credit to basically every Piston, especially the back court players.
- Beating a 12-24 team should be no cause for celebration, but the Pistons have been flailing so hard that they just needed any win against anyone.
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 29 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +3If you really care about individual matchups, no Piston “won” his more than Monroe. He missed a few bunnies early that were painful at the time. But given the second half, they didn’t really matter.|
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 31 MIN | 5-12 FG | 3-9 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -10I still don’t understand why Smith couldn’t defend a shooter if his life depended on it.|
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 35 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-6 FT | 16 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -24In spite of ending up with 5 fouls, Drummond picked them up relatively late, so at least he was able to be in for much of the game. His help defense was good, but Valanciunas worked him over. Drummond kept biting on pump fakes that allowed Jonas to blow by him for uncontested dunks.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 34 MIN | 6-19 FG | 7-9 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | -11Sadly, this is the best Jennings we’ve seen in a while. His big numbers were hollow, but at least they existed.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 30 MIN | 6-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +2Caldwell-Pope had a huge first half. He was probably the most instrumental Piston in causing them to be ahead at the intermission. Unfortunately, he seems to be the Pistons who most consistently vanishes after the break.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF Shot Chart 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4I’m not sure whether Harrellson gets his couple minutes because Cheeks wants him to play or because he doesn’t understand the concept of staggering.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4Did nothing in garbage time, who cares?|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF Shot Chart 11 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -11Villanueva was missing his shots, that makes him useless.|
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -11Singler has never been so invisible. You have to make your presence felt at some point if you play 26 min.|
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 14 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -21He missed too many shots, but I actually liked Bynum’s play. He hustled on both ends.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 4-13 FG | 6-8 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -12Stuckey looks like he still has some recovering to do.|
Meshing the talents on this roster is probably a tougher task than most coaches face, but Cheeks is doing a terrible job. If there were some sort of Worst Coach of the Year award, Cheeks and Kidd would be in a stiff battle for it right now.
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 8-15 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | -15
Monroe was strong offensively, taking advantage a New York frontline that, lacking Tyson Chandler, is pretty unimposing. Defensively, Monroe struggled, but that’s nothing new. He sat with seven minutes remaining in the game, returning in the final seconds only to get pushed under the basket as the Knicks offensively rebounded their own missed free throw to seal the game. If Maurice Cheeks re-inserted Josh Smith after the reserves helped Detroit’s comeback, why didn’t Monroe get a real second chance?
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 40 MIN | 6-14 FG | 8-9 FT | 12 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 8 TO | 21 PTS | -8
For three quarters, Smith was horrific. He protected the ball as if it were covered in grease, coughing up eight turnovers, including seven live-ball giveaways. Smith got going late, scoring 13 of his points on five shots in the final 14:15 and defending better down the stretch. Carmelo Anthony and Mike Woodson helped Smith’s defensive turnaround, though. Anthony was giving Smith fits for much of the game, working off the ball on the perimeter and taking advantage of the Knicks’ strong ball movement. Late, the ball stagnated with Melo, and Smith is far too of a defender to struggle in those isolations. With 27 seconds left and the Pistons down only one after trailing by 17, Smith even took a charge on a Melo drive. But on the ensuing Detroit possession, after Jennings held the ball too long and erased much of the shot clock, Smith sized up Melo while also holding the ball too long and forced an airballed jumper. The possession, including the shot, was a mockery.
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 36 MIN | 4-8 FG | 4-6 FT | 17 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -14
Drummond played brain-dead defense, and unfortunately, this was only one example. Still, his physical profile almost makes it difficult for him to have a really bad game. Because he’s so big and agile and strong and sure-handed, he beasted on the glass and scored effectively inside.
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 31 MIN | 2-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -11
Jennings shot very poorly, though it seemed his baskets came when the team really needed them (which is meaningless, but was just how it felt). He had a couple nice passes too, but this was not a good distributing day for him. Ultimately, despite a couple fine flashes, he shoulders the blame for a game in which the Pistons had sustained offensive ineptitude. Jennings gambled far too much defensively, without defending his man much, to justify the result.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -9
Caldwell-Pope’s lone basket was a fastbreak layup, and he was mostly invisible within the halfcourt offense. Caldwell-Pope defended fine, but Maurice Cheeks was giving Kyle Singler minutes at shooting guard just to keep Caldwell-Pope off the court.
|Josh Harrellson, PF Shot Chart 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
Harrellson entered the game only when Monroe got his second foul late in the first half. A guaranteed contract obviously doesn’t get you playing time.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF Shot Chart 10 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +12
Villanueva, a DNP-CD regular, didn’t enter the game until the Pistons trailed big in the fourth quarter. Detroit cut into the deficit while he was on the court, but it wasn’t really because of him. Sure, he made a shot here, a good pass there. He wasn’t bad, but he definitely didn’t drive the comeback.
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +13
Singler went after loose balls, helping his own offensive cause in the process, and hit a big 3-pointer late. Not bad, but if he’s going to make a push for the starting lineup, which I really think could happen soon, he needs to raise his game a bit.
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +7
The lobs to Drummond were nice. The rest was OK at best. This has sort of become a description of Bynum’s place on the team.
|Chauncey Billups, SG Shot Chart 8 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +5
Billups is too far over the hill to make a habit of breaking off the offense to force his own shot, but he did it repeatedly tonight.
He took two timeouts within 1:40 of each other as the Knicks went on a 15-0 run in the third quarter. I guess Cheeks wanted to talk it over, but I didn’t see much change after the timeouts. When his team is struggling, Cheeks seems to have the philosophy of more intervention. More practices. More meetings. More timeouts. More, more, more. But is anything actually getting accomplished?
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 8-17 FG | 3-5 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | -8Monroe played a good game, even doing a solid job on defense in the first half. In the second half, well, no Piston did.|
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 6-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | -18On offense, Smith took lots of stupid shots. On defense, he got burned outside the paint. Inside the paint, he’d do a decent job until failing to ever box anyone out and got beat for tons of second chances.|
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 36 MIN | 6-10 FG | 3-8 FT | 14 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -2Memphis played Drummond smart. They tied him up whenever he tried to make a post move. Meanwhile, Drummond did not play smart, getting into foul trouble (again), resulting in Cheeks stupidly yanking him early (again).
Drummond was pretty much the only good thing Detroit had going, he can’t lose it like that, especially with the technical he picked up on his way off the court.
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 35 MIN | 2-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -14All those assists look nice, but shooting 14% is unacceptable.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 27 MIN | 6-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -9KCP isn’t good enough for his performance to usually swing a game either way, but he gave Detroit all they could ask for in this one.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF Shot Chart 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -17Harrelson can’t seem to get many minutes of late. If that were because of smart big man staggering by Cheeks, I’d be pleased. Unfortunately, it’s probably because his D has been pretty weak since November.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -13Jerabko probably only saw the floor because of Singler’s foul trouble. He did what he was supposed to. No more, no less.|
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 14 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -18Singler was somehow on pace for more than 17 PFs per 48 minutes in this one. Normally, I don’t care how much bench players foul, but that was kinda crazy.|
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 21 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -17Bynum was the best Pistons PG in this game. He set an astonishingly low bar that nobody could beat.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -3Datome only played meaningless garbage miutes.|
|Chauncey Billups, SG Shot Chart 14 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -21“Mr. Big Turnover” is washed up. The Pistons need Stuckey back.|
The Pistons got off to a good start as the Grizzlies tried to bring the ball inside and the Detroit bigs shut them down.
But it couldn’t last and switching to a zone certainly didn’t help. Neither did pulling Drummond (or Singler). Why are coaches so worried about their players fouling out. The worst that can happen is that they come out of the game. And that’s what happens when you pull them out preemptively, anyway.
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 38 MIN | 7-17 FG | 8-12 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +8Monroe played like a team’s best player. He called for the ball early and often and aggressively went into the teeth of the defense. You’d like to see him make some more of his shots, but this was the attitude so many have been claiming he is missing.|
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 43 MIN | 6-19 FG | 4-6 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | -1Smith has been playing better perimeter defense of late, but not in this one as any Wizard playing SF burned Detroit from beyond the arc.|
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 32 MIN | 7-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 16 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -16Drummond once again put up a fabulous line, especially for his minutes. But his defense was not all that stout and, on a related note, he was picking up too many fouls.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 5-16 FG | 3-4 FT | 0 REB | 14 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 15 PTS | +7Jennings played how we want him to, but it didn’t go well in this one. Those were good shots he was missing, but he still missed them. He didn’t play particularly turnover prone ball, but still got 6 of them. And his defense was no worse than normal, but Wall requires better D.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 35 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +8KCP had an incredible first half. He was the main reason the Pistons led after 24. He was good enough that, even after a complete dud of a second half, it was still a good game for him. But he did nothing, on either end, in that second half.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2Harrellson didn’t make any meaningful impact in 3 minutes.|
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -7Some players are referred to as “quietly putting up (whatever numbers)”. Singler must put his up very noisily, because he always makes a couple impressive plays and then I look at the stat sheet and it’s highly underwhelming.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -3The Pistons should have gone to the break up 12. Datome did a great job of getting past his defender on an inbounds play with a couple seconds on the shot clock. But when he got hacked, he missed both free throws. The Pistons needed those freebies from their best shooter (on paper) on a night when missing free throws was the primary reason for the loss.|
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 9 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -14Bynum got torched on D every moment he was on the floor.|
|Chauncey Billups, SG Shot Chart 12 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -15See Bynum above. Also, Billups missed his shots.|
The Pistons looked much more prepared and played much better against the Wizards than they did in their last game. The Wizards are just playing really, really well these days. In spite of that, the Pistons might would have won if they just hit their normal, league-worst free throw percentage. And much as I’m not a Cheeks fan, I can’t put missed free throws on him.My main gripe is that he didn’t try putting KCP on Wall, who was torching all the lousy defenders (Jennings, Bynum, Billups) he did use.
|Greg Monroe, PF 24 MIN | 6-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -26|
|Josh Smith, SF 18 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -18|
|Andre Drummond, C 29 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -27|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 32 MIN | 4-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 7 TO | 13 PTS | -22|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-1 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -6|
|Josh Harrellson, PF 23 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -1|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 15 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +2|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 13 MIN | 0-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 3 PTS | +2|
|Luigi Datome, SF 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2|
|Kyle Singler, SF 21 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -18|
|Will Bynum, PG 27 MIN | 3-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -3|
|Chauncey Billups, SG 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -2|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 6 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1|
Orlando Magic pack the paint, frustrating Josh Smith-Greg Monroe-Andre Drummond trio in deflating loss
|Greg Monroe, PF 21 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -17
The Magic’s pack-the-paint strategy clearly bothered Monroe. He was so frustrated inside, he even showed more willingness to shoot his mid-range jumper, but that didn’t go so well. On defense, Monroe just looked tired.
|Josh Smith, SF 22 MIN | 2-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -11
The Magic gave Smith no advantage near the basket, using the strong Tobias Harris and pressure from other bigs who didn’t fear leaving their man. Smith shot just 1-for-9 in the paint. He was tenacious on some defensive possessions, lethargic on others.
|Andre Drummond, C 23 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-4 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -20
Drummond got some decent looks inside, but he was just off target. He’s so big, I don’t think Orlando’s heavy presence in the lane affected him as much as it did Smith and Monroe, but it didn’t help. Drummond is such a talented offensive rebounder, though, it’s hard to shut him down. Unfortunately, Drummond’s defense was poor.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 31 MIN | 7-16 FG | 6-7 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | -17
Jennings was very aggressive, which was needed tonight, because his teammates were stuck in the mud. He continues to produce on offense. As for defense, he had a nice steal that he turned into a fastbreak. Otherwise, Jennings took a pass on playing defense tonight.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 24 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8
Arron Afflalo (23 points on 9-of-11 shooting) carved up Caldwell-Pope, even though Caldwell-Pope had a nice steal, block and deflection in the matchup. Caldwell-Pope was invisible on the other end of the floor, which beats detrimental. It’s the small victories.
|Josh Harrellson, PF 24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +5
Sweet pick-and-pop for a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, and that kick-started a solid individual offensive outing. Harrellson’s size allows him to clog the lane on defense, a valuable skill. But quicker bigs, or nearly any big determined to race him down the court, create problems.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 13 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +4
Jerebko hadn’t played more than five minutes in any game the last two-and-a-half weeks, and he responded exactly how you’d hope he would when given a chance. He played with good energy on both ends, bringing life to a dreary team.
|Luigi Datome, SF 21 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -2
Datome took all his shoots in the fourth quarter, and I understand the game situation didn’t lend itself to inspired play, but it was like Datome was trying to his best impersonation of an inefficient gunner. Nick Young would be proud, but nobody else. Datome spent about three quarters of his playing time with only one of Detroit’s bigs, making him either a stretch four or combo forward most of his minutes. He worked hard to hold his own in one-on-one defensive assignments, but the Pistons got killed on the glass with Datome in the game.
|Kyle Singler, SF 26 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -10
Singler got beat like a drum defensively. At least he moved well around the court, both in transition and the halfcourt, to make a few shots.
|Will Bynum, PG 20 MIN | 8-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | -4
This is where Bynum comes in handy. With the Pistons down 19 points entering the fourth quarter, Bynum took over, scoring 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the final period. Turning Bynum loose lowers expected value but increases variances – an excellent tradeoff for a team already down so much. If Bynum leads a comeback, great. If he doesn’t, so what? The game was a likely loss, anyway. Tonight, Bynum did his job, but the deficit was just too great.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 14 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -5
Stuckey didn’t play in the second half after appearing to injure his shoulder. He stayed in for another couple possessions, including a turnover after looking uncomfortable dribbling. He quickly stole the ball back, a nice display of effort from a hurt player. Before that, Stuckey made a couple post-up turnaround jumpers and a layup and missed a few pull-up jumpers.
This was bound to happen to Cheeks. The Magic packed the paint to an extreme degree, a tactic I actually I thought more Detroit opponents would use. And it worked perfectly for them. When Smith, Monroe and Drummond played together, the Pistons’ offensive rating was an astonishingly bad 78.0. Those three couldn’t get any space to operate inside, and when they drifted to the mid-range or beyond, they predictably missed jumpers. Cheeks, adjusting his rotation to minimize the amount of time the trio shared the court, resorted to strange and ineffective lineups. Beyond tonight’s dismal result, it will matter how Cheeks adjusts to such extreme paint packing going forward, because I suspect this won’t be the last time the Pistons see it.
|Greg Monroe, PF 31 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | +3
Monroe is at his best running hard down court and posting up a single defender. When not every defender has found his man, it’s harder to help on Monroe. But when operating in a more crowded post, a negative effect of the Pistons’ jumbo lineup, he’s more prone to struggles. Monroe provided more defensive resistance than usual tonight. He also made a mid-range jumper, but that’s not a big deal until he does so more consistently.
|Josh Smith, SF 31 MIN | 10-18 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | +19
Smith got hot, making 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions late in the first half. That bolstered his strong interior scoring, though, of course, Smith bricked a few long jumpers for good measure. As a playmaker, Smith too often tried to thread the needle with his pass or dribble. Although that led to a few impressive plays, the overall risk outweighed the reward. The Cavaliers tried to challenge Smith’s liabilities as a perimeter, but that played right into Detroit’s advantage. Alonzo Gee (1-of-4 on 3-pointers) and Earl Clark (2-of-8 on 3-pointers) aren’t the player to punish Smith. In other situations, Smith defended well.
|Andre Drummond, C 34 MIN | 7-10 FG | 0-2 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +19
Drummond is fast for his size, and that got him a few open-court dunks. In the halfcourt, his size and hands make him such an easy target inside, and he finishes well, too. Add quality rebounding, and the total package begins coming together. Defense? Drummond provided that, too. Andrew Bynum (0-for-11, two turnovers) is no longer a good offensive player, but Drummond absolutely dominated him.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 32 MIN | 6-11 FG | 7-8 FT | 4 REB | 13 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 21 PTS | +26
Jennings was aggressive looking for his own shot in the pick-and-roll, which should help the Pistons’ bigs going forward. It didn’t hurt that Jennings was converting his looks tonight, either. The point guard showed excellent court vision as the Pistons broke open the game in the fourth quarter. Defensively, Jennings skillfully doubled in the post to give Cleveland’s bigs trouble. Kyrie Irving (21 points on 14 shots) tore him up, but Irving will do that nearly everyone.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 17 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -2
Caldwell-Pope is a fine defender. He especially stands out on the Pistons, whose defense – especially by their guards – has been unimpressive. But when the rest of the team is defending better, as was the case tonight, he hardly makes an impression on that end. All that’s left is a bad shooter.
|Josh Harrellson, PF 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1
Harrellson was effectively pulled from the rotation in favor of Luigi Datome. Harrellson played only late in each half, after Drummond picked up a foul in the first and after the game was effectively decided in the second. Put in position to help on Kyrie Irving a couple times, Harrellson fouled him once and allowed a mid-range jumper. Not a fair matchup, but about all we have to grade Harrellson on tonight. That and a quick catch and pass to Smith for one of Smith’s 3-pointers, so although none of it was significant, it wasn’t all bad.
|Luigi Datome, SF 17 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +4
Datome made one 3-pointer in five tries, but wow, was it beautiful. His was form perfect, and his release was quick. The arc he put on the shot was incredible. Then, it just splashed through the net. I see why people fall for his shooting, regardless of the results. He actually did a better job inside the arc, going toward the basket. His steal and fastbreak dunk in the final seconds was a nice moment for someone who delivered after not playing this much in more than a month.
|Kyle Singler, SF 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +23
It seems like Singler is rebounding really well this season, but his rebounding numbers are down a little from last year. Is Singler secretly a good rebounder? He also hit both his 3-pointers, so definitely a good night.
|Chauncey Billups, SG 16 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -3
All Billups’ shots were 3-pointers, and on his lone make, he looked like vintage Billups, sticking a shot in a defender’s eye. Otherwise, Billups just slowed the offense.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 31 MIN | 6-16 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 5 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +25
Stuckey finished poorly, making just 3-of-11 shots in the paint, but that doesn’t tell the whole story of his offensive contributions. The Pistons’ movement, player and ball, was better with him on the court, and it started with him moving and passing well. That gave his teammates better lanes to make cuts and passes themselves. Defensively, Stuckey was seemingly everywhere, collecting five steals.
As I’ve said before, it seems Cheeks does his most significant coaching between games rather than during them. Fox Sports Detroit reported during tonight’s telecast the Pistons focused on defense before this one. Because the game was played at such a fast pace, the final score underrates how well the Pistons defended tonight. Their defensive rating was 88.0, which would rank first in the NBA – by a wide margin – over the full season. The Cavaliers’ season-long offensive rating is just 97.4, 27th in the league, so this wasn’t the toughest opponent. But considering the Pistons’ season-long defensive rating is 104.1, 20th in the NBA, this performance was definitely stronger than usual. And aside from Stuckey, I can’t identify a single player whose individual defense greatly bested his usual level. The Pistons played excellent team defense, and given the timing, Cheeks deserves credit.
|Greg Monroe, PF 26 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -1Monroe played better defense on Dwight Howard than any other Piston. That’s not saying much.|
|Josh Smith, SF 29 MIN | 8-20 FG | 3-7 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | -9Smith is looking to score every trip down the court.He’s not very efficient; but until someone else not named Jennings decides to force the issue, the Pistons need this from Smith.|
|Andre Drummond, C 29 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 4 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -17The things you think you can count on from Drummond are defense and rebounding. Howard moved Drummond around wherever he wanted and Drummond’s rebounding was decent at absolute best. Also, two of Drummond’s blocks were clear goaltends.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 32 MIN | 2-11 FG | 4-5 FT | 1 REB | 10 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -7Jennings plays almost exactly the same every game. Sometimes a decent number of his shots go in, sometimes they don’t. Tonight, he couldn’t hit a thing.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -16No Piston defended well in this game. That makes it tough to grade out well for a Piston whose entire value is his defense.|
|Tony Mitchell, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-4 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2Mitchell’s cameo was meaningless garbage time and his play inspired no reaction, positive or negative.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1Harrellson was put in to slow down Dwight. He didn’t, but he wasn’t given a real chance either.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2Jerebko’s cameo was meaningless garbage time and his play inspired no reaction, positive or negative.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 5 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-3 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -7Charlie came into the game and did what he was supposed to. He shot a lot and hit enough of his shots. But he contributed nothing more.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 13 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -4Gigi looked fantastic in this one. Too bad it was all too little, too late.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -1Singler was the only Piston who could keep up with the Rockets on the break.|
|Will Bynum, PG 23 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -2Bynum went at the Houston defense. He briefly made it feel like the Pistons had a shot.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 23 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -24Stuckey played hard… on offense. He didn’t even try on D and he wasn’t that effective on O. Unacceptable.|
I don’t know what Cheeks could have done differently in this one. Detroit just got torched by Howard. But he certainly didn’t make a positive impact.