Category → Game Review
|Greg Monroe, PF 31 MIN | 3-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -10
Monroe played mostly meekly, typically unable to establish good post position or beat Spurs for rebounds. But Monroe wasn’t completely passive. When he challenged San Antonio, he found success. If only he did that more often tonight. In a twist, Monroe asserted himself much more defensively, using his quick hands to get a few steals.
|Josh Smith, SF 43 MIN | 10-19 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 24 PTS | -18
Smith was EVERYWHERE early. Early in the second quarter, Smith’s line was: 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, five rebounds, five assists, two steals, one turnover. After that: four points on 2-of-8 shooting, one rebound, zero assists zero steals, two turnovers. To start the contest, Smith fearlessly sought to impact the game on both ends – and he did. Turns out you can’t rely on Smith when he’s unafraid to take jumpers and gamble defensively.
|Kyle Singler, SF 34 MIN | 7-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -8
Singler cut well to get a couple baskets, and he also made a couple jumpers off a single dribble. He’s a real master of creating room to shoot. Still playing shooting guard, Singler had trouble defending the Spurs quicker guards.
|Andre Drummond, C 40 MIN | 7-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 17 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | -11
Drummond wasn’t quite as good as his numbers, yielding a couple hustle plays to the Spurs. But his ability to get putbacks is so darn valuable. I really don’t think enough people understand how important that skill is. Drummond, often singlehandedly, turns a bad offensive possession into a good one. On the other end, he prevents opponents from doing the same.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 13 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -13
Jennings didn’t play in the second half due to a sore toe. Before leaving the game, he took a backseat to Smith and didn’t do much when behind the wheel himself.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -3
Jerebko played the last few minutes of the third quarter, and though he showed good defensive energy, he looked a little lost.
|Tony Mitchell, PF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3
Played the final 46 seconds and did nothing
|Luigi Datome, SF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3
Played the final 46 seconds and did nothing
|Peyton Siva, PG 1 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +3
On the Pistons’ final possession, Siva pushed the ball upcourt and made a 3-pointer. That ought to be good for his confidence.
|Will Bynum, PG 31 MIN | 9-18 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | +3
Starting the second half for Jennings, Bynum wasn’t shy about getting his own offense. He was more effective than not, but not overly so. Offensively and defensively, Bynum played at his usual levels, just with more volume.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 11 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +4
A corner 3, a mid-range jumper off the dribble and impressive defensive effort – Caldwell-Pope excelled in his first-half run. In the second half, he did little more than miss a few shots.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 31 MIN | 6-13 FG | 5-5 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | -3
Contract-Year Rodney Stuckey hunted his own shot in the first half, but he scored efficiently, so I didn’t mind. Asked to initiate the offense a bit more in the second half without Jennings, Stuckey was a bit shakier.
The Pistons’ rotation players gave up down 13 points in the final two minutes. Did Loyer empty the bench to send a message?
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 40 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-6 FT | 17 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -9
The Pistons got killed on the glass (50-39), but it would have been worse if not for Monroe. He also scored effectively, notching his fifth-career game with so many points and rebounds.
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 38 MIN | 14-20 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 4 TO | 32 PTS | -2
A strong post-up game formed the base of Smith’s offensively successful night, and making his jumper complemented it. When Smith prioritizes getting inside, that limits what can go wrong. His risk-reward gauge on passes, though, needs a big overhaul. Smith makes some of the Pistons’ most impressive passes, but for each one, he has too many turnovers. Smith didn’t score in the final 16:40 of the game, though he at least defended well in that final stretch. Still, he finished with 32 points, a season high
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -4
Singler had his worst offensive game since becoming a starter, though I somewhat attribute that to the bar being superficially high. I don’t believe he’s anything more than an OK offensive fit with the other four starters. I think he just went through a random hot streak that coincided with his move into the starting lineup. A Jennings-Singler-Smith-Monroe-Drummond lineup remains awful offensively, though.
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 20 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -7
Drummond started strong (by playing like himself), but once he got into foul trouble, he never recovered. He was just too timid, too disjointed after long stretches on the bench. Drummond must learn to play with foul trouble and have a confidence to keep playing his game. His coach can help with that, though I’ll cover that in the John Loyer section.
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -14
Jennings left before the midpoint of the third quarter and didn’t return until the Pistons trailed by nine with 3:23 left in the game. Loyer isn’t showing trust in him late, and the way Jennings played earlier, there was no reason to.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 10 MIN | 1-2 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -9
Jerebko was lively on both ends, a welcome sight. His strong cuts, whether as the roll man in a screen-and-roll or crashing the glass, stood out.
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -4
The Mavericks played Bynum to crash relentlessly to the rim, but he showed a hesitation game that really helped him set up his teammates well. Bynum also hit his long 2s for an overall impressive offensive game against a defense that took away his bread and butter.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 14 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -7
Look who finally put up some numbers. He was probably about net-neutral, anyway, but at least the effort is more apparent.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 24 MIN | 2-9 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +1
Stuckey is a willing transition passer, but once the Pistons get into their halfcourt offense, he’s looking to score.
A combination of a high willingness to help, switching on pick and rolls and zone defense had the Pistons facing several mismatches defensively, and the Mavericks took advantage. That’s what Dallas does, and Loyer didn’t turn the tide by outcoaching Rick Carlisle – not that anyone expected Loyer to have the upper hand tonight. Loyer must also allow Drummond to play confidently with foul trouble. These quick hooks help nobody. Drummond just gets out rhythm, and when he plays, he’s too passive. Not to mention the Pistons go long stretches without their best player on the floor. Drummond didn’t even foul out anyway. What are you saving him for? At least Loyer had the Pistons, who are steadily slipping from playoff contention, playing hard once again.
Up Next: vs. Golden State on Monday, at San Antonio on Wednesday, at Houston on Saturday. The Pistons will be big underdogs in each of those games.
Andre Drummond excels, Kyle Singler steps up, Brandon Jennings sits, and everyone plays hard in eventful win
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 40 MIN | 10-17 FG | 2-6 FT | 15 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +14
Monroe played with great purpose on both ends. There was no wasted movement as he sought and got clear looks at the basket and snatched rebounds. He even contested shots on the other end, maybe even verging on being overly aggressive.
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 37 MIN | 7-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | +13
Smith was really hustling defensively and on the glass, and when he plays like that, he gets more leeway in other areas – like leading the team in misses and turnovers.
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 7-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | +16
At one point, George Blaha mistakenly called him “Kyle Korver” – a relatively minor mistake tonight. Singler shot 4-of-6 on 3-pointers, including a couple clutch makes to seal the game. Singler didn’t simply spot up from beyond the arc, either. He was hustling all over the court.
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 33 MIN | 10-11 FG | 0-8 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | 0
Early in the fourth quarter, Drummond swiped a perimeter Atlanta pass, burst up court and dunked on Elton Brand. That put the Pistons up five, their biggest lead to that point. Not many big men can make a play like that. Drummond is special – and he showed it most of the night. But his weakness is glaring. Later in the period, the Hawks got back into the game by intentionally fouling Drummond, who missed all his free throws tonight. John Loyer had no choice but to pull him, and with that, went Drummond’s A+.
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 3-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 2 REB | 14 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +7
Jennings forced too many bad shots, which partially explains his 0-for-8 start. But he passed well, and then Hawks got him going by fouling him a couple 3-point attempts. The Pistons have clearly tilted their defense to account for Jennings being the weak link. Still, I’m docking Jennings points for Shelvin Mack (21 points on 16 shots, six assists and one turnover) going off. If your team can’t trust you defend Shelvin Mack, that’s a problem. Jennings didn’t play in the fourth quarter, when he typically hijacks the offense and hurts the Pistons’ chances of winning. Jennings gets no demerits for that tonight, but he’s probably lucky he sat before his efficiency dropped.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -4
Every time he tries to do something offensively, it seems forced. At least he didn’t try to do too much tonight, and he even made a 3-pointer. He couldn’t defend without fouling, though.
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | 0
Bynum got to the rim with ease, and he remained under control once he reached the paint – either scoring himself or dishing to a teammate. His defense, however, was suspect.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7
In his last three games, Caldwell-Pope has posted a combined 16 trillion. It’s as if he and Loyer are playing chicken, with Loyer reducing the rookie’s role and Caldwell-Pope trying to prove he’s not interested, anyway.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | 0
I’m generally OK with Contract-Year Rodney Stuckey hunting his own offense, because he’s one of the Pistons’ more efficient scorers. But when he’s taking running hook shots, he’s probably gone too far. Once Stuckey reigned it in just a little, he returned to being effective.
After back-to-back losses to the Bobcats that were demoralizing while they were still being played, the Pistons could have packed it in. They didn’t, instead playing some of their most-passionate basketball of the season. Loyer deserves at least some credit for that. He definitely deserves credit for sitting Jennings in the fourth quarter and avoiding the trend of Jennings commandeering and hurting the offense. I also thought Loyer pulled Drummond at the appropriate time, after Atlanta sent him to the line twice. One quibble: The Pistons play far too passive defense to excuse how many open 3-pointers they allow. Atlanta shot 13-of-31 (42 percent) from beyond the arc. I really thought the Pistons would get more aggressive defensively under Loyer, but they haven’t.
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 37 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-4 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -10
Monroe used both his strength and craftiness to score inside, but he was at his best when relying more on the former. Josh McRoberts (3-for-5 on all 3-point attempts) was a tough cover for Monroe. Monroe also spent time on Al Jefferson (32 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists), but Jefferson is just too good for any Piston.
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 37 MIN | 5-17 FG | 2-6 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -15
Smith shot 0-for-6 outside the paint, sabotaging what would have been merely a solid game otherwise. I believe Tom Gores erred by demanding the Pistons make the playoffs this season, but once tasked with completing that objective and given the money to do so, Joe Dumars really blew it. Jefferson would not have been a great fit in Detroit, but he shows there were better splurging options available.
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 40 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -6
Singler made his share of very helpful plays, and his off-ball movement is welcome in Detroit’s stagnant offense.
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 34 MIN | 8-15 FG | 0-2 FT | 22 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -10
It’s a shame the Pistons are wasting Drummond’s present. His offense needs more polish, and Jefferson exposed his defensive weaknesses. But Drummond is so strong on the glass, that alone makes him extremely effective on both ends. Tonight’s loss puts the Pistons 1.5 games behind Charlotte for eighth place – the same distance Detroit is ahead of the Cavaliers, who’ve won five straight. The Knicks are just a half game behind Cleveland. The race for the No. 8 seed is getting more crowded, and the Pistons are poorly positioned to emerge on top. In a grander sense, the Pistons are right on track to lose their draft pick to the Bobcats and squander Drummond’s future, too. A win at Charlotte tomorrow won’t be easy, but it’s pivotal in avoiding The Disaster Zone.
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 7-18 FG | 8-9 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 24 PTS | -15
Jennings carried a larger offensive load than should be placed on him, but he handled it well. It also helped his offensive cause that he let up defensively.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 6 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -1
Jerebko didn’t play in the second half if that tells you something about his hold on a rotation spot.
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +2
Bynum pushed the pace in the fourth quarter and helped the Pistons cut Charlotte’s lead. Increasing variance is what Bynum does best. His own offense was so-so, and his defense was poor. But his impact on the game spread beyond his obvious individual contributions.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 10 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
Caldwell-Pope was solid defensively and invisible offensively.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 17 MIN | 1-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3
Stuckey made his first shot and then missed his next 10. Bleh.
Loyer gets creativity points for installing a 3-2 zone, but the Pistons played far too flat in such a pivotal game. Getting the emotional best from this team is a deep challenge for an interim coach, but that’s the request the Pistons doomed themselves to when hiring Maurice Cheeks. Keeping a theme, even if Gores wouldn’t pay enough to hire someone like Lionel Hollins or George Karl, there were far better less-heralded options available. One of them was sitting on the visiting team’s bench tonight. Steve Clifford has the Bobcats prepared and syncing at a level the Pistons haven’t approached in years.
Andre Drummond’s Rising Stars Challenge MVP says a lot about his future, even more about his present
The Rising Stars Challenge Trophy split in two, and its presenter, the president of the company that sponsors the game, looked flummoxed. He quickly jammed his microphone into someone else’s hands, picked up the trophy and tried in vain to screw the pieces together.
Andre Drummond smiled and laughed. Calmly, he took the trophy from the presenter and held the pieces together proudly over his head.
It was as if Drummond had done this a million times before.
Of course, he hadn’t. Whether it was accepting a broken trophy or his insane output – 30 points and 25 rebounds in 28 minutes – Drummond had an exceptional Friday.
But here’s what’s most amazing about Drummond’s breakout performance: It wasn’t a complete anomaly.
Drummond didn’t hog the ball like so many other MVPs in these exhibition games. Though he took 21 shots, 50 percent more than anyone else on his team, half his points came on putbacks. Drummond was simply just beating everyone on both teams to unclaimed balls.
His field-goal percentage in the game (57.1) was actually lower than his season mark (61.1). Though his impressive (for him) 6-for-8 free-throw shooting boosted it his true shooting percentage to 61.2 Friday, he’s bested that in 24 games this season.
His rebounding was more exceptional, but even that wasn’t totally out of line for the NBA’s best rebounder. Based on a quick back-of-the-envelope estimate, Drummond grabbed about 40 percent of available rebounds Friday. As incredible as that is, he had a rebounding percentage of 46.1 in the Pistons’ win over the Heat in December. He grabbed 18 rebounds in that one, his total rising Friday thanks to the faster pace, but the percentage is more meaningful.
This is who Drummond can be on a team that features him prominently. Right now.
He won’t produce numbers like this every night. That’s not reasonable. But he can play like this.
“I had the mindset this year of coming out here … and showing the league that I could play in Sunday’s game and that I’m able to hang with the big guys,” Drummond said after the game.
That is absolutely true. Drummond should have been an All-Star this season, but he left the door too wide open for others to be selected ahead of him.
Soon enough, Drummond will make the big game, and I look forward to it. More than that, I look forward to the time Drummond plays like this frequently for the Pistons.
It could come any day now.
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 7-13 FG | 2-4 FT | 9 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | -3Monroe was the guy we keep asking him to be early on. He demanded the ball early and often, worked mismatches, and put the team on his back, getting Detroit out to an early 13 point lead. Then he kinda stopped doing that and the Cavs slowly but surely came back and won the game.
Also, Thompson beat him for a ton of putbacks down the stretch.
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 40 MIN | 7-15 FG | 3-6 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -7Smith’s play wasn’t always perfect, but he was hustling harder than anybody and didn’t wind up with a bad line. I’ll take it.|
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 41 MIN | 2-9 FG | 8-8 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -3Singler’s work at the stripe was nice, but his team could have used a couple more of his shots falling. Especially when you acount for the fact that several of his trips to the line had and-1 potential. And his airball from about 10 feet was just ugly.But I can’t complain too much when his counterpart, who is a better player, goes 0-9 for four points.|
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 35 MIN | 7-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 17 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +4Drummond grabbed 10 offensive boards. That’s amazing. Unfortunately, he had a couple boneheaded plays late, most notably his goaltend to give the Cavs a tie with 5 minutes remaining. That ball didn’t look like it was on its way in.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 36 MIN | 3-14 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -3Jennings was laying bricks tonight. And his awful defense was a big part of Thompson’s huge night. Jennings kept letting Irving past, a Piston big would help, Irving would miss the shot (most of his misses were due to the big men, not Jennings), and they’d be out of possession to rebound allowing Tristan to soar in for the put back. Jennings earned as much credit for this loss as anyone.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 13 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2So Jerebko is a legit part of the rotation now? He did well enough in this one, I guess.|
|Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -3Bynum’s defense was possibly even worse than Jennings’. But at least he was hitting some of his shots.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 9 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | 0KCP is barely playing these days and the level of his play fits that. So it’s a chicken-and-egg question. Is his role diminishing because he is stinking it up, or does he need lots of minutes in order to play well?|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 12 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -7Stuckey comes into the game to score. He shot 1-5 and turned it over three times. If the other PGs weren’t playing poorly in this one, I would believe that Stuckey entering the game was the difference between a win and a loss.|
Loyer isn’t magical. Now that we have that cleared up, his coaching looked comparable to the win over the Spurs but seemed less effective. The Pistons got progressively less aggressive as the game went on. Loyer should have found a way to prevent that.
|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
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.
|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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
|Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +11A solid, efficient game for Monroe in which he didn’t get burned by his counterpart. That doesn’t happen every day.|
|Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 9-16 FG | 4-5 FT | 8 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 1 TO | 23 PTS | +19Over his past dozen games, Smith has been shooting better than 47%. Still not great, but a huge uptick from the sub-40% level he had been shooting at for the season before this stretch. It helps when he can finish even with a defender’s finger in his eye.|
|Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 39 MIN | 6-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | +8Singler was the team’s worst starter tonight and he still put together an above average game.|
|Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 40 MIN | 7-12 FG | 2-8 FT | 22 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | +12Drummond continues to be a beast. Now if he could only hit some free throws…|
|Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 8-13 FG | 5-5 FT | 10 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 8 TO | 26 PTS | +21Efficient scoring, good defense, and a near triple-double? If he didn’t nearly get a quadruple-double due to turnovers, I’d be sorely tempted to give out my first ever A+.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +1Jerebko managed to not mess anything up too badly, but the Pistons were mostly at their worst with him on the floor.|
|Chauncey Billups, SG Shot Chart 9 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -5Billups is totally washed up. It’s hard to post a line this bad when your team throttles the other. Also, his defense was a primary culprit in letting the Nets almost get back into it in the 4th quarter.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +10KCP played well when he was on the floor in spite of missing a couple shots. He played some of the better defense I’ve seen from him so far and his steal and subsequent feed to Smith was huge. I’m not sure why he only played 8 minutes. But that did mean he didn’t end up doing a whole lot.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 29 MIN | 6-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +3Remember how fans always used to wish that Stuckey would become more consistent? Well, he’s now the epitome of consistency, but he’s not really any better.|
I’ve lost all faith in Cheeks, but I’d put the blame on him if this went the other way so I guess I have to give him some credit tonight.
Maurice Cheeks foolishly changes starting lineup then bickers with Will Bynum during blowout loss to Magic
|Greg Monroe , PF 31 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -11Monroe looked particularly lethargic early – calmly missing close shots, carelessly turning the ball over and lazily defending the post. He got it together later to salvage a decent enough line, but his overall performance was pretty sour.|
|Josh Smith, SF 41 MIN | 11-19 FG | 3-9 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | -13Smith was mostly a bystander as the Pistons fell behind double digits in the first half. He played very hard in the second half, mostly independent of his teammates. But by then, it was too late for his quality play to make much difference.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 32 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -22Singler was helpful offensively, making 3-of-4 3-pointers. And as hoped, his length both persuaded Arron Afflalo (5-for-14) not to post up and contest Afflalo’s jumpers. As feared, though, Singler was too slow to cover the shooting guard. Afflalo got space to set up his teammates, collecting seven assists. With the Pistons rotations strained as a result, the Magic all moved the ball well, dishing 29 assists. That’s much more Maurice Cheeks’ fault than Singler’s, though. Singler handled a difficult assignment the best he could.|
|Andre Drummond, C 39 MIN | 6-10 FG | 3-5 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -12Drummond was particularly aggressive on the glass early, really snatching rebounds regardless of who else was in his vicinity. Considering Drummond already leads the NBA in rebounding percentage (minimum: 400 minutes), that’s saying a lot. By the third quarter, Drummond was reduced to shaking his head while Cheeks talked during a timeout. This team will do that to you.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 43 MIN | 5-23 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -16Dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, shoot. Repeat. Mix in a few passes. Dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, shoot. Repeat. Jennings’ nearly had as many shots blocked by Kyle O’Quinn (four) as the point guard made (five).|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 9 MIN | 1-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +3Jerebko got his turn in the rotation, and he didn’t do much – positive or negative – in his meaningful minutes.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +6Datome played the final 1:43 and made an uneventful 12-footer.|
|Will Bynum, PG 3 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -4Bynum had a rough few minutes to open the second quarter, and Cheeks benched him. That’s where Bynum’s night really got interesting. Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 13 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +7As a starter or reserve, Caldwell-Pope has been prone to deferring. I know he got in the game. I saw him on the court once and everything. But I was shocked to see he played 13 minutes. It seemed like much fewer.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 27 MIN | 6-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -8Stuckey showed up and got his points. That was about it.||
Cheeks made his big move before the game began, starting Singler over Caldwell-Pope at shooting guard. Predictably, it didn’t work. Whatever advantage he had in a one-on-one matchup with Afflalo, Singler harmed the team defense more. He’s just too slow to guard the shooting guard position. That’s a critical problem when the Pistons also start Smith, Monroe and Drummond – a big frontline with its own foot speed issues. The foursome just can’t cover enough ground defensive. When Singler played shooting guard with the big three tonight, the Pistons’ defensive rating was 125.5. For the season, the Magic have an offensive rating of 98.6 – 25th in the NBA. The Pistons turned one of the league’s worst offense isn’t a juggernaut.
Alternate grade: A+ (if you want the Pistons to tank)