Category → Game Review
|Greg Monroe, C 38 MIN | 10-18 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 24 PTS | +10
Monroe played as effectively as he typically does in his good games, but his form was a bit more polished. He made most of his shots outside the restricted area, and he even shot 2-for-2 outside the paint. Monroe hadn’t had this many assists without a turnover this season.
|Andre Drummond, C 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -9
Drummond didn’t have his his usual energy. Maybe his lack of stamina after sitting for so long is catching up to him.
|Jose Calderon, PG 43 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +11
Calderon has one of the best shooting strokes in the league, and he could take advantage of it as much as he did tonight more often. Best of all, he didn’t stop running the offense to score his most points since before Valentine’s Day. Raptors fans gave Calderon multiple standing ovations in his return to Toronto, where he spent his first 7.5 seasons. Calderon even headed toward the home locker room at halftime before realizing his mistake and reversing course. He’s an excellent player, and that’s why the Raptors miss him on the court. He’s also a class act, and that’s why Raptors fans miss him in every respect.
|Brandon Knight, PG 29 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -5
DeMar DeRozan is more physically mature than Knight, and the Raptors guard used that advantage to score at times tonight. DeRozan isn’t efficient enough to really make Knight pay, but this game shows how much adding a little muscle this offseason could help Knight defensively.
|Kyle Singler, SG 19 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -9
Rudy Gay is a gifted scorer, and he used all his moves on Singler, who struggled to disrupt Gay in even the slightest.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 28 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +19
Jerebko really upgraded the perimeter defense behind Singler. Jerebko played exactly how I’ve been hope he would all season: hustling, rebounding and defending. When he’s not trying to be the alpha scorer, he’s still one of the league’s best off-the-bench role players.
|Khris Middleton, SF 25 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +16
Middleton displayed a body control I hadn’t seen from him before. He’s had a higher field-goal percentage only once before (a 1-for-1 game), and he pulled it off by twisting and leaning through traffic to make several shots.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 28 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +17
Stuckey dribbled the air out of the ball as usual, but he can still be very effective when playing that way. The question about Stuckey is not whether he’s any good. He is. The question is whether he’s good enough for a team to thrive when allowing him to play the high-usage role that suits him best.
Frank often plays the starters together or the reserves together for long stretches of the second half if either unit is playing well. A problem with that strategy is subpar players on one unit get to play at the expense of superior players on the other unit just because their linemates are doing well. It’s a bit more difficult to mix and match players and determine which will click well in unorthodox lineups, but good coaches do it. Tonight, Frank did it. Behind a Calderon-Stuckey-Middleton-Jerebko-Monroe lineup, which was +13 in 13 minutes, the Pistons befuddled the Raptors, going on 13-0 and 10-0 runs in the fourth quarter.
Most Valuable Player
Rudy Gay. Gay, deservedly, has a reputation as an inefficient shooter, but he didn’t live up to it tonight. Gay had scored this much (34 points) six times before, but he’d always needed at least four more shots to get there than the 18 he took tonight.
|Greg Monroe, C 32 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | +8Monroe had a productive all-around game and was pretty sound defensively. It helped that Joakim Noah was out, but Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson routinely brutalize the Pistons’ frontcourt and both were quiet tonight.|
|Andre Drummond, C 23 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-3 FT | 14 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +11When Drummond is on the court, the Pistons are at least competitive with the middle-tier teams in the league. Tonight, they built leads every time Drummond was in the game, including into double figures in the first half. When Drummond left the game, those leads evaporated quickly. Drummond’s had better statistical performances in his young career, and he did pick up three fairly quickly first half fouls that caused an early exit, but he was a game-changer for all 23 of his minutes. I do have to mark him down slightly for this though. Ouch.|
|Jose Calderon, PG 34 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | 0Calderon didn’t rack up a large number of assists (Drummond cost him one by botching a perfect lob that should’ve been a dunk, although Drummond did get his own rebound and convert), but he ran Detroit’s offense perfectly. Calderon does a lot of things well offensively, but I love watching him watch for the right moment to hit players coming off of curls to quickly catch and launch. He does it perfectly nearly every time.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 37 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 5 PTS | +6Credit where it’s due for Knight — after re-injuring his ankle and breaking his nose in Friday’s game, he came back two days later and played 37 minutes. Unfortunately, they were pretty unproductive minutes.|
|Kyle Singler, SG 27 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -2Singler, once again, was remarkably average. He hit open shots, he helped on the glass and he was overmatched trying to guard Chicago’s quicker wings. As has been written relentlessly this season, Singler was a great find for the Pistons in the second round who will be a valuable rotation player once he’s playing in the right role in that rotation. Starting and playing big minutes at the two or three isn’t the right role at this point, but he’s doing an admirable job competing at that spot.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 18 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -11After Jerebko was one of very few bright spots on Friday, it was disappointing to not see him get more minutes tonight. But I’ve long ago given up on trying to figure out how minutes are distributed/justified on this team.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 24 MIN | 4-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -10It was nice to see Villanueva playing aggressively and looking to drive when Chicago was closing hard on him when he caught at the 3-point line. His shots were falling and he had a few tough misses on floaters that were good looks that he’d normally hit.|
|Khris Middleton, SF 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1Middleton played a few forgettable minutes and is still struggling to find the confidence and aggressiveness he had for a handful of games a few weeks ago.|
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 29 MIN | 10-19 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 25 PTS | -8And the Stuckey madness continues. Before the comments start harping on this — yes, Stuckey had the ball in his hands more tonight. But no, he was not exclusively used in a scoring point guard type role. He actually was finding success as an off-the-ball wing playing with Calderon, something his defenders firmly say is all Lawrence Franks’ fault for asking him to do in the first place. Stuckey can be successful working off of screens, not dribbling the air out of the ball and working at times as a catch and shoot player in the mid-range. He just doesn’t do it all the time, which makes the times that he plays has well and as tough (he took a shot to the head that had him blinking an eye most of the game) as he did tonight all the more frustrating.|
|Kim English, SG 12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0Twelve minutes is decent burn for English, but he looked a little tentative. He did manage to help out on the glass, but didn’t attempt a three. I’d still love to see him flash a little acumen for that corner three by the end of the season.|
|Lawrence FrankI’m not sure how much Frank planned to play Drummond, but the fact that he couldn’t use him more in the first half was Drummond’s fault for getting into foul trouble, not Frank’s, so I’m willing to give a pass for that. I think the Pistons could’ve used Jerebko more and I thought 37 minutes were way too many for Knight considering both his health and the fact that he wasn’t playing well.|
Andre Drummond returns, Brandon Knight re-injured ankle and breaks nose, Pistons lose big in front of another home crowd
|Greg Monroe, C 30 MIN | 3-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 13 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -16Monroe was solid on the glass and decent in the passing game, but he struggled with his shot and … well … let’s just not talk about the interior defense on Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas tonight.|
|Andre Drummond, C 19 MIN | 8-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -7Drummond’s defense wasn’t great, either, but he scored around the basket, he blocked shots, he rebounded and he didn’t look all that rusty considering he’s missed the last 22 games.|
|Jose Calderon, PG 31 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -16Calderon wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen him in other games, but for once, I can compliment his defense. He helped hold Kyle Lowry to a quiet game.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 26 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-3 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -24The bad news: Knight appeared to re-injure the ankle that caused him to miss games earlier this month. He also broke his nose. The good news: our grades tool now has the option for us to give ‘incompletes’ for players who are forced to leave due to injury. The bad news: Knight played a lot too poorly for too long in this game for me to to consider using the incomplete for the first time. Hopefully the Pistons didn’t rush Knight back too soon and hopefully his injury is not serious.|
|Kyle Singler, SG 33 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -15Same story with Singler — he was overmatched defensively against Toronto’s quick wings, but he hit open jumpers, rebounded and made enough hustle plays to make him among the better players on the court for the Pistons on a night when most of his teammates struggled.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 28 MIN | 9-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | -6Other than Drummond’s return, Jerebko was the lone bright spot for the Pistons. He was active offensively, moved without the ball well and, if he can (finally) add a consistent 3-point shot in the offseason, he’ll head into next season as a reliable rotation player again.|
|Jason Maxiell, PF 13 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -11Maxiell’s role was finally reduced, and if this had happened earlier in the season, perhaps Maxiell’s production wouldn’t have fallen off a cliff. All parties would’ve been better off with Maxiell in a smaller role much sooner than the last week of March.|
|Khris Middleton, SF 8 MIN | 0-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +10Middleton didn’t make a shot and continues his slump since he had a brief stretch where he looked like he was ready to carve out a backup role down the stretch.|
|Viacheslav Kravtsov, C 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | +6Kravtsov played a few cursory minutes and was his usual — big and awkward, but seemingly trying really hard.|
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 25 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -10An all-too-familiar scene this season — Stuckey playing significant minutes while barely making any kind of positive contribution to the game.|
|Kim English, SG 21 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +4English played a decent amount of minutes and shot 2-for-5 from three. On this night, that’s enough to make him one of the top players the Pistons put on the court.|
Frank immediately starting Drummond in his return from injury is enough to get him a (barely) passing grade on a night when his team looked awful in just about every way.
J.J. Barea dashed past Jose Calderon on the perimeter. Charlie Villanueva flashed high above the 3-point line to defend a screen Barea never used, and Jason Maxiell stood flat-footed near the free-throw line before turning around too late to catch a streaking Barea, who made a layup.
“Lawrence Frank wants a timeout. He may talk about the help,” Pistons broadcaster George Blaha said. “Wasn’t that a great movie?”
|Jason Maxiell, PF 22 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -3If Maxiell stops shooting so many mid range jumpers and gets to the bucket more, he shoots better? What a novel idea! I wish someone would have thought of that before!|
|Greg Monroe, C 29 MIN | 2-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | 0This was a tough game for Monroe. His 2-11 from the field was not a misleading stat. He forced so many bad shots against competition that he should be clearly better than (Byron Mullens, Bismack Biyombo and Josh McRoberts). His defense was average, but again, he was playing against some of the worst starting big men in the league.|
|Jose Calderon, PG 30 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -8Calderon had another solid night. He was good shooting from outside, but probably could’ve gotten the ball inside a bit more (he did to his teammates, but took no shots in the paint himself). He had six assists, but probably could’ve gotten more if the big men could get all of their shots to go down. His defense wasn’t great, but Kemba Walker is a hard player to stop.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 37 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 10 PTS | 0In his first game back from his ankle injury, Brandon Knight was a disaster. He played a lot of minutes (a lot at point guard late in the game), but turned the ball over too much and shot very poorly. (16.5% from three). The only saving grace tonight for Knight was his stellar defense (see: Dan’s last post about Knight’s underrated defense).|
|Kyle Singler, SG 28 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -7Singler wasn’t too involved tonight, but when he was, he didn’t shoot too well and got in foul trouble. His defense was nothing too great, but he didn’t look lost.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 20 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +7Villanueva basically split time at power forward tonight with Jason Maxiell,and did about just as well in every facet of the game except for shooting, where he was good tonight long range. Oh, also, he had a monster dunk late in the fourth quarter.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 22 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -2Since the Pistons gave up on their season, Jerebko has been finding himself in the rotation more, and tonight was no different. Jerebko logged solid minutes but wasn’t very involved, shooting at a mediocre percentage and getting eight points.|
|Khris Middleton, SF 16 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +10Middleton has been finding himself playing a lot since the Pistons began tanking as well. Tonight he had six points and played surprisingly well on defense, forcing a lot of misses and turnovers.|
|Will Bynum, PG 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +1Unfortunately, Will Bynum didn’t play after the 5:35 mark in the second quarter due to his lingering hand injury. He didn’t really make an impact in his six minutes on the floor.|
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 30 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 13 PTS | +7Stuckey was expecting his minutes to go back down after Knight returned from his injury, but that was not the case. He played a lot tonight and shot well, but the best part of his game was the way he ran the offense. He has eight assists and was spreading the ball around very nicely.|
|Lawrence FrankFrank coached the Pistons to a win and did a nice job managing the team in crunch time, but it was against the Bobcats. It would have been nice to see Kravtsov and English log some playing time instead of Bynum and Stuckey. It was good to see him get Jerebko and Middleton some rotation time, however.|
The Pistons haven’t had much of anything to play for for weeks now, and their 10-game losing streak and often disinterested play is a reflection of that. But we got a nice reprieve tonight as the Pistons gave a game effort and actually led at halftime as they took their turn at trying to end Miami’s historic winning streak. Not surprisingly, they weren’t successful, and that’s OK. It was nice to simply see some fight — including Jonas Jerebko, who always seems to irritate the Heat whenever the teams play, inducing a flagrant foul out of Mario Chalmers and Greg Monroe having one of his best games of the season with 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. Also, Kim English continues to be highly entertaining — he played solid defense in his 12 minutes of action. A little too solid. He picked up six fouls and fouled out in those 12 minutes.
The Pistons have had plenty of halftime leads and seen them evaporate this season, but tonight’s three-point lead seemed particularly unsafe. The Heat have been toying with bad teams a bit of late, including overcoming a 27-point deficit to beat the Cavs earlier this week. The Pistons, at the very least, played hard, played physical and made the Heat work hard. Or, at least work as hard as any team can make the Heat work right now.
Grades generator is down, so you’ll have to settle for text only tonight. Box score is here if you need it.
Jose Calderon (B-) – He shot the ball well and also moved pretty well without the ball — Monroe and Jason Maxiell both found him on nice cuts to the basket. But he was uncharacteristically sloppy with seven turnovers and he lost Mario Chalmers a couple times for open threes.
Rodney Stuckey (B-) – Stuckey didn’t shoot well, but the fact that I’ve watched so much college basketball the past two days has made me less harsh about that (seriously … college basketball is the worst). Stuckey played hard and did a pretty good job defensively against Dwyane Wade.
Monroe (A) – Monroe had his entire, beautiful offensive game on display tonight. He beat guys off the dribble. He passed from the high post. He took pretty good care of the ball. He made post moves. He even hit an elbow jumper. Monroe has been less consistent this season than we’d been accustomed, but there is no doubt that he’s one of the most skilled big men in the league offensively, and the more weapons the Pistons can put around him next season, the better he’s going to be.
Kyle Singler (A) – Singler made open shots, he rebounded, he moved without the ball and he had one of his best games of the season. He didn’t guard LeBron James particularly well, but who does?
Jason Maxiell (C+) – Maxiell had a nice pass to a cutting Calderon in the first, then also had an early turnover trying to make an extra pass, not bad for a guy who rarely looks to pass.
Jerebko (B) – Jerebko didn’t shoot well, but he did make an open three (something that is vital for him to improve if he’s going to be a rotation player), he grabbed eight rebounds and he was the feisty irritant and hustle player that made him gain so many fans in the first place
Will Bynum (F) – Bynum only played 13 minutes and made no impact in a game the PIstons really could’ve used his scoring off the bench.
English (C-) – English continues to shoot poorly, but he gave the Pistons good minutes defensively, even if he was too foul-happy. He took a good, hard (and clean) foul on James on a run-out that would’ve been a dunk in the first half and he handled himself well defensively against Wade and Ray Allen. I have no problem with is aggressiveness, even if he did pick up quick fouls.
Charlie Villanueva (F) – Ditto what I wrote for Bynum. If the Pistons got any offense at all out of either of their two bench guys whose job is solely to provide offense, they would’ve had a chance to win this game.
Lawrence Frank (A) – After weeks of this team playing like they didn’t care all that much, Frank deserves credit for getting the Pistons prepared enough to compete hard against the Heat. Whether he’s the coach here beyond this season or not, that’s a sign that he’s still respected in the locker room and, even in a lost season, can still motivate the team, even if trying to end Miami’s winning streak was also a motivating factor. The Pistons had a good gameplan. They were physical with Miami, they let Monroe dominate inside against Miami’s collection of stiffs they throw out there at the center position when Chris Bosh isn’t in and, if they got any shooting at all from Bynum or Villanueva, they would’ve had a chance to win on the road against the probable NBA champions who are playing out of their minds right now. Not a bad night for Frank.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 23 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -14
The Pistons grabbed 55 percent of available defensive rebounds when Maxiell was on the court tonight, the lowest mark on the team during a game nearly everyone rebounded poorly, according to NBA.com/stats. He had five defensive rebounds himself, but he didn’t help the Pistons rebound better.
|Greg Monroe, C 32 MIN | 8-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 6 TO | 17 PTS | -28
Monroe established great inside positioning to create many easy looks for himself, and he made some whizzing passes to create sure-fire baskets for his teammates. He even defended his position OK. But six turnovers, even not all of them were his fault, is still much too high. Monroe was in perfect control when taking shots, but those moments between gave him some problems.
|Jose Calderon, PG 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -11
Calderon left the game with flu-like symptoms. His hair must have been wet when Deron Williams (14 of his 31 points in the first quarter) breezed by him all those times.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 34 MIN | 3-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | -21
Stuckey raises expectations and then underwhelms? I am shocked.
|Kyle Singler, SG 29 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -25
Didn’t guard well, didn’t shoot well,
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 19 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -19
Lawrence Frank must be itching to pull him from the rotation.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -17
Villanueva hasn’t scored or rebounded more than this in a game in the last 10 days.
|Khris Middleton, SF 21 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -12
It wasn’t that long ago Middleton raised his 3-point percentage above league average, but he’s sub 30 percent again. Let’s no overreact, in either direction, to fluctuations for someone with such a small total of shots. I stand by my previous opinion: Middleton has not proven he’s a good outsider shooter.
|Viacheslav Kravtsov, C 7 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -5
Didn’t play until garbage time, but he dunked in transition, which is the perfect garbage-time move. He’s getting it.
|Will Bynum, PG 30 MIN | 8-19 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | -28
Because he led the team in scoring, Bynum will be the first Piston mentioned in any old-school, non-nuanced article about this game, but that doesn’t mean he actually played well. Bynum should not have taken nine more shots than anyone else on the team. I’m certainly not opposed to Bynum shooting, but many of these were forced looks, especially early, when the game wasn’t totally over.
|Kim English, SG 18 MIN | 3-7 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -5
English has played 99 minutes and appeared in each of the last seven games – that Frank coached. In the six games with Brian Hill at the helm, English played just six minutes and collected five DNP-CDs. If that isn’t evidence the two coaches disagree on English, I don’t know what is. English rewarded Frank’s faith with a not-terrible performance, which put him a step above most his teammates.
|Brandon Knight, PG DNP SPRAINED LEFT ANKLE
Knight had a fantastic night. This happened, and Jason Terry is now the victim of the latest, greatest dunk (and new hero of the anti-fun crowd).
In a moment that symbolizes Frank’s night, Brook Lopez, whom Frank coached with the Nets, ran over to wish Frank well in his return to coaching after dealing with his wife’s illness. However, 5:44 remained on the clock when Lopez approached Detroit’s bench. At that point, though, the game was long over.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 32 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -15
Maxiell went after rebounds like he wants to earn more than a minimum contract next season. He even made both his jumpers outside the paint.
|Greg Monroe, C 39 MIN | 4-16 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -12
Monroe’s defensive has never been stellar, but it has really fallen off lately. In the last six games, the Pistons have allowed 120.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor (107.7 off). The Warriors’ parade of dunks wasn’t completely Monroe’s fault and probably not even mostly Monroe’s fault, but he didn’t do much to stop it.
Monroe usually makes up for his positional-defense struggles on the other end, but he didn’t do so tonight. Not overly athletic, Monroe especially lacked elevation. He had four layups blocked. Andrew Bogut is an excellent defender, and that partially explains Monroe’s struggles, but Monroe can play well enough offensively to supersede good defense. He mostly got good shots tonight. He just missed most of them.
Monroe also must master arguing calls while running back on defense. Standing beneath the opponent’s rim and yelling at the ref is part of the reason his defensive rating is so poor.
|Jose Calderon, PG 30 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -8
Calderon wasn’t really involved much tonight. He hasn’t had so few shots and assists this calendar year, and he’s fallen below six shots and seven assists in this many minutes only twice prior in his career. Calderon’s defense on Stephen Curry was lacking, but that wasn’t the primary problem.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 38 MIN | 8-18 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | -14
Stuckey guarded Curry more closely than Calderon did, but it didn’t matter much. Curry (31 points on 17 shots and eight assists) is an offensive wonder.
More importantly, Stuckey played with life for the first time in… [checks calendar] … [flips back another month] … [and another] … [hopes nobody notices I didn't complete this sentence]. You could easily argue the cause and effect are revered, but I believed Stuckey had energy because he knew he’d have an opportunity. With Brandon Knight (fourth on the team in shots per minutes) out injured and and Charlie Villanueva (second on the team in shots per minutes) benched, Stuckey knew, not only would he spend nearly all his minutes at the preferred position of shooing guard, he’d have opportunities to handle the ball. Before we get too carried away, Stuckey barely exceeded the minimum of “played energetically,” but for him, that’s huge progress.
|Kyle Singler, SG 29 MIN | 8-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -19
While you were reading this, Harrison Barnes just beat Singler for another dunk.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 24 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +11
Jerebko took several shots that looked awful leaving his hands, but to his credit, a few went in. His performance wasn’t encouraging, but it got the job done tonight, at least.
|Khris Middleton, SF 21 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +11
Detroit cut its rotation to eight players, and Middleton still played. The Pistons are clearly giving Middleton a chance to prove himself down the stretch. This is exactly what they should have done with Vernon Macklin last season – except that was even more pressing, because Macklin had an expiring contract, and Middleton’s is guaranteed for next year. Middleton didn’t stand out much tonight one way or the other, but he added data to his sample of his plays.
|Will Bynum, PG 28 MIN | 8-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +6
Bynum scored efficiently, but he appeared at first glance to score more efficiently than he actually did. He neither made a 3-pointer nor attempted a free throw. Still, Bynum’s job is create an offensive spark off the bench, and he did that.
In Hill’s five games as head coach, the Pistons’ offensive rating (93.8) and defensive rating (114.2) would rank last in the NBA over the full season. For reference, Detroit’s offensive rating ranks ranks 23rd overall, and its defensive rating ranks 24th. Perhaps, this is a simple as bad team like the Pistons going through a rough spot while playing a tough stretch of the schedule. But I think the Pistons missing a coach – let alone the head coach – plays a big factor. Lawrence Frank delegated responsibility based on having a full staff, so every coach working now is spread thinner than usual.
All that said, I was mostly pleased tonight given the circumstances. Unlike against the Jazz on Monday, the Pistons appeared to actually run offensive sets. Plus, by benching Villanueva, Hill showed Detroit’s coaching is not completely on autopilot with Frank out.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 29 MIN | 5-14 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -10
Maybe Jerebko deftly establishes tendencies then breaks them once the opponent overreacts – but I don’t think so. Jerebko has stopped shooting all the time, but he always looks like he’s readying himself to hoist. I hate repeatedly watching Jerebko size up the rim while he holds the ball, even if he’s been been passing more often lately. Jerebko has been a terribly inefficient scorer this season, and I just wish he’d go back to the low-usage, highly awesome Jerebko we knew and loved. However, Jerebko, who started for an injured Jason Maxiell, might be a slightly reduced role from going the other direction.
|Greg Monroe, C 41 MIN | 7-15 FG | 1-1 FT | 13 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | -2
Monroe played fine, maybe even well. But his production didn’t stand up to his comments Sunday, when he called out his teammates for lack of effort. But Monroe put in 41 minutes during a game the Jazz led since the first quarter. His teammates who have been mailing it in lately can’t say that, so tonight isn’t the time to challenge Monroe in the locker room.
|Jose Calderon, PG 37 MIN | 6-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -2
Calderon watched the Pistons force jumper after jumper before deciding, "Hey, if we’re going just jack up long 2s, a good shooter might as well take them, and I’m the only one here." Calderon shot 6-of-7 outside the paint. His teammates shot 9-of-30 from the same zone. Calderon’s lack of lateral quickness and strength limits him defensively, but at least he was active on that end tonight. Calderon kept buzzing around, using his smarts to be in the right position a little more often than not, and got his hands on a couple steals, two defensive rebounds and even a block.
|Brandon Knight, PG 4 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
Knight might have read his own obituary when DeAndre Jordan dunked on him Sunday, but Knight didn’t succumb until Monday. He sprained his ankle just four minutes in and immediately left the game for good. Knight was already having the toughest week in the NBA, and somehow, it got worse. If you believe in basketball karma, Knight certainly temped his fate by forcing two bad shots early, but I would have thought admirably standing up to the backward norms that are ruining basketball and getting dunked on would have bought him a little more leeway.
|Kyle Singler, SG 23 MIN | 1-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -1
Took shots, scored little.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 21 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8
Took more shots, scored less.
|Khris Middleton, SF 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -12
Middleton made 4-of-5 3-pointers, pushing his season total to 8-of-21 (38 percent). After so much hype about his form, Middleton has finally passed the line to become an above-average 3-point shooter. Of course, we’re still dealing with way too small a sample, but his production matched the aesthetic tonight. He still looks lost on defense, which is to be expected from someone who has played just 174 NBA minutes.
|Viacheslav Kravtsov, C 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8
The Jazz selected Kravtsov to shoot Knight’s free throws when Knight left the game in the first quarter. As Haralabos Voulgaris pointed out, Brian Hill didn’t call timeout to sub out Kravtsov. In Hill’s defense, a Calderon-Singler-Jerebko-Monroe-Kravtsov lineup actually makes a ton of sense – if you’re tanking.
|Will Bynum, PG 19 MIN | 4-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -11
I’m grading Bynum more favorably than his standard-box-score numbers suggest he deserves, but Bynum was the Pistons’ main source of scoring when they needed it most. He scored 10 of Detroit’s 18 second-quarter points, shooting 4-for-6 in the period when his teammates shot 2-for-11. Bynum missed his five second-half shots, but the Pistons were stuck in the second quarter and had to call on Bynum to take over. You take that every time and the consequences that come with it.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 35 MIN | 6-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -9
First half: four points and two turnovers in 17 minutes.
Second half: 11 points and no turnovers in 18 minutes.
It’s like Stuckey realized the Jazz were playing lackadaisical enough he could try a little bit and produce, keeping Monroe off his heals for another week. If you’re going to sleepwalk through a season, you have to pick your moments to play hard so it’s not completely obvious.
The Pistons miss Lawrence Frank – badly. Their offense devolved into quick jumpers, and it’s clear they’re missing a coach who can implement a gameplan. Brian Hill is in a tough spot, because he’s surely trying to guess what Frank would do and emulate that while doing what he believes is best. I don’t envy Hill’s challenge, but at this very moment, with a full chance to establish his system, Frank is a much better coach than Hill. Although I want to give Hill slack, how hard is it to tell the players to run some sets rather than just taking terrible shots?
Most Valuable Player
Mo Williams scored seven points during a 12-3 fourth-quarter run that iced the game, coming up big for a balanced Jazz team when it was most needed. Williams finished with 20 points and six assists.
That was.. expected
The Pistons have lost 10 straight in Utah, six straight overall and all 12 road games against Western Conference teams this season. So, it wasn’t a surprise the playoff-hunting Jazz pulled away late. It was a surprise the down-and-out Pistons hung around so long.
If any of you have anything constructive to say about tonight’s game, feel free to do so in the comments. The Clippers shot 63 percent for the game (and would’ve been pushing 70 percent if they didn’t empty their bench). Blake Griffin had 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting in his first six minutes of action, and would’ve done even more damage if he didn’t pick up three quick fouls. Chris Paul had 20 points, 14 assists and no turnovers in just 31 minutes. In short, the Clippers completely picked the Pistons apart, Detroit played no defense and there was literally nothing redeeming to take away from this game. Grades below.
|Brandon Knight, PG 19 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -28Any nondescript losing team like the Pistons struggles to get national news coverage throughout the season as interest wanes. But not every losing team has a selfless up and coming player like Knight, who selflessly goes out of his way to get his team headlines all over the national media. Players all over the league could learn a thing or two from the way Knight approaches his job.|
The only two Pistons who played reasonably well were Jose Calderon, whose solid offensive contributions were dwarfed by those of his counterpart Paul, and done so relatively easily, and Jonas Jerebko, who got the bulk of his points when the benches had been emptied.