Category → Game Review
|Greg Monroe, PF 26 MIN | 1-6 FG | 5-6 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +9
Monroe seemed a step slow on both ends of the court, and that frustrated him into two technical fouls. At least Monroe played mostly within himself prior to his ejection. He kept the ball moving on offense and cleaned the glass on defense. That doesn’t negate his overall poor play, but Monroe’s low-usage game shows a little maturity. I’d much rather get 1-for-6 than 4-for-18 when a player feels off.
|Josh Smith, SF 35 MIN | 8-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +22
If Smith’s teammates didn’t play so well, his tendency to force bad jumpers would have been more glaring. Three times, Smith took a bad long 2-pointer for no other reason than he looked impatient about not having shot lately. Because those attempts to waste possessions didn’t matter, we can focus on everything Smith did right. He made 3-of-5 3-pointers – all of them at least OK looks – and finished well inside. Smith gets a break for his low rebounding numbers on both ends. The Pistons made 57 percent of their shots with Smith on the court, so there were few offensive rebounding opportunities for him. His interior defense was excellent, and when he’s busy forcing misses, it’s his teammates’ responsibility to grab the boards (which they did). Smith’s perimeter defense remains suspect, however – a real problem for a small forward.
|Andre Drummond, C 33 MIN | 12-15 FG | 7-18 FT | 19 REB | 0 AST | 6 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 31 PTS | +25
Drummond was an absolute beast on both ends. His career highs in points, rebounds and steals to go with two blocks give him marks in those four stats that nobody else besides Hakeem Olajuwon achieved since at least 1985-86. And Drummond was as good as the numbers indicate. The 76ers just couldn’t account for him on either end, so they went to hack-a-Drummond. Drummond made just 6-of-14 free throws when sent to the line for two attempts, and the .857 points per possession on those plays probably justified Brett Brown’s strategy, even considering that Philadelphia’s offense would get practically no transition opportunities after free throws. Maurice Cheeks sat Drummond during one stretch of intentional fouling, and if Drummond can raise his free-throw percentage even slightly, Cheeks probably wouldn’t have to do that.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 38 MIN | 7-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 6 REB | 12 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 20 PTS | +10
Jennings did a good job of getting the Pistons into transition, and he did a great job of setting them up for good shots once they were running. His handling of the halfcourt offense was a little dicier, but because he pushed the pace effectively, that didn’t comprise a large portion of his game. He also had a very heads up play trying to shoot a 3-pointer just before the 76ers intentionally fouled Drummond. Jennings didn’t quite get it off, but that play could be an effective counter to hack-a-Drummond. The key is getting upcourt quickly enough to get a decent shot before the intentional foul, just in case the foul isn’t called.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 29 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +7
Caldwell-Pope ran the floor hard, made 2-of-5 3-pointers and defended pretty well. He wasn’t his best at any part of his game, but he was solid at all of them. Games like this, where he plays within himself and complements Detroit’s better players, justify his starting spot.
|Tony Mitchell, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
Mitchell had a nice block and baited (watched?) a Philadelphia transition miss in a mostly uneventful three minutes.
|Josh Harrellson, PF 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +9
Harrellson bothered the 76ers whenever they drove into the paint with him on the court. He also set an illegal screen, which was not only his only notable offensive play, but also wiped out his most-used offensive weapon.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 12 MIN | 1-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 5 PTS | -11
Jerebko was up-and-down all game. He had the ball stolen from him in the backcourt by Michael Carter-Williams, who made a quick layup. Then less than a minute later, Jerebko harassed Carter-Williams on an inbound to get a steal and layup of his own. Later, Jerebko made a nice cut then muffed the pass for what would have been a layup. His defense was also hit or miss, and his shot selection was fine, but one negative play stands out. Jerebko missed a 3-pointer, and while he watched the shot, Evan Turner beat him upcourt for an easy layup.
|Luigi Datome, SF 3 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
Datome worked hard enough on defense and on the glass to justify a rotation spot for a dead-eye shooter, but he also missed both his shot attempts. Really, these few-minute glimpses of Datome tell us next to nothing about him.
|Kyle Singler, SF 16 MIN | 1-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -2
Singler didn’t make much impact, though a couple garbage-time misses make his underwhelming shooting line look worse than it really was.
|Peyton Siva, PG 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -1
Siva applied excellent defensive pressure. The offense appeared to be rather basic when he ran it, even in the second quarter while played with other rotation players. On a related note, the offense was very ineffective when Siva directed it.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 32 MIN | 7-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +11
Stuckey is an absolute bull. He uses his strength to get to the basket and create short mid-range attempts. This was far from his best performance of the season, but Stuckey’s style makes him consistently good when he’s engaged, and right now, he’s engaged. Also, Stuckey defends really hard after making mistakes.
A game after bungling Drummond’s minutes, Cheeks did much better. Sitting Drummond in the third quarter when the 76ers were intentionally fouling made sense, because several Detroit players were playing well offensively. There was no need to disrupt their rhythm and rely on Drummond’s free-throw shooting for scoring. Other nights, that decision might not be so easy, though. Also I wouldn’t have minded if Drummond chased his 20th rebound, but props to Cheeks for sitting the center late. A 30-20 game isn’t a “thing,” and a 31-19 game is just fine. The Pistons’ best player, but a flawed player, got 33 minutes in a resounding win. That’s enough.
Detroit dominates the paint, LA dominates the arc, Refs prove to be the tiebreaker as Lakers sweep Pistons
|Greg Monroe, PF 35 MIN | 9-15 FG | 1-3 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | -3Monroe ran the floor well, kept at the boards (although many ended up in the hands of his teammates), and played stout D as long as he was just standing his ground. Also, he got the Pistons’ first bucket from outside the paint.The Lakers couldn’t back Monroe down, but they could go around him. Cheeks needs to figure out how to optimize that strength/weakness combo.|
|Josh Smith, SF 44 MIN | 4-16 FG | 0-4 FT | 19 REB | 8 AST | 5 STL | 2 BLK | 5 TO | 8 PTS | -2Smith was a beast everywhere. He played exactly the kind of manic intensity game you hope to see from him every night. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hit a shot if his life depended on it. As was the case with Monroe, Detroit needed Smith to hit his free throws.|
|Andre Drummond, C 16 MIN | 5-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +9Drummond piled up stats at an obscene rate while on the floor. Unfortunately, he was committing too many fouls and getting whistled for too many that he didn’t commit. Drummond also hit 3 straight free throws after failing to make consecutive ones so far in any other game.Cheeks should know he probably won’t play Drummond down the stretch for fear of Hack-A-Dre. Why on earth does he pull him out of the game with 4 fouls in the 3rd quarter?|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 41 MIN | 8-17 FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | -2Jennings put up good counting stats yet again including a gorgeous fast break oop to Pope. And he carried the Pistons down the stretch. Unfortunately, if Jennings is the guy carrying you, it’s tough to win. Then Jennings missed two huge free throws with a chance to tie up the game. He needs to hit those, but in a game when he made as many shots from outside the paint as the rest of Detroit combined (3), the blame for letting a big lead slip away really belongs elsewhere.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 15 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +6Pope hustled, made athletic layups, and looked decent out there. But the Pistons got torched by Johnson and Williams from beyond the arc. Pope should have been the one stopping them, or at least Johnson.A commenter referred to Pope as “one of the better shooters in the draft”. I had to conclude he hasn’t watched much Pistons’ ball this year.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF 12 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +3Harrellson was active on offense and useless on defense. He deserved his limited minutes in this game. Also, what was he doing inside? The Pistons desperately needed shooting, more in this game than any other, and he is one of the best options to provide it.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 4 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2Villanueva tapped a rebound away from Jennings into Sacre’s hands. He got lucky that Sacre bobbled it out of bounds, but stealing boards from teammates is a pet peeve of mine. I lambasted Siva for it a few games ago and Villanueva earned the same.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 33 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -17Singler played good help defense inside, but the Pistons desperately needed someone to step up and stop the 3 point barrage. After Pope, Singler was the best candidate. He gets the plus on his D though for hitting the Pistons’ only 3.|
|Peyton Siva, PG 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -2Siva played good defense (Farmar was 1-4 with Siva in) and mostly avoided sloppiness. One of his TOs was just a terrible call. Both of his feet were clearly in.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 33 MIN | 8-17 FG | 6-9 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | -10Stuckey bulled his way inside time and again, hitting a high percentage of his shots. Toward the end, though, he settled for jumpers. I would blame him for that much more if the refs hadn’t been complete idiots. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone besides LeBron and Howard absorb that much contact without getting the whistle.To wit, on one drive, he had two different Lakers hit him in the face without getting a call. On another drive, Wesley Johnson held his forearm down as he tried to shoot and again, no call.|
Cheeks was useless. Most notably, his asinine decision to bench Drummond that I mentioned earlier. But he needed to make tighter coverage of Lakers behind the arc the biggest point of emphasis. Also, in the Pistons’ worst shooting game of the season, he stubbornly refused to give much burn to their few plus shooters.
Three Things We Saw
- The officiating was awful. There weren’t many 50/50 calls to go either way, but blatantly bad calls were repeatedly made in the Lakers’ favor. I mentioned some of the missed hacks on Stuckey earlier and the ridiculous Siva TO. Also, Drummond picked up his 4th foul on what would have been a no call if Hill hadn’t rolled his ankle. Pope got whistled for fouling Johnson on a play when he never touched him. Jordan Farmar clearly knocked a ball out of bounds late in the fourth but it was called Lakers ball and then he immediately buried a three. And finally, Josh Smith’s game losing offensive foul doesn’t happen if Shawne Williams doesn’t push him into Nick Young.The Lakers incredibly sloppy offense and rebounding meant Detroit should have won this even with Williams and Johnson channeling the spirits of Curry and Thompson. But the repeated bad calls were too much to overcome. My grades may seem generous, but that’s because I think the Pistons easily win this contest if it is close to fairly officiated.
- The Pistons managed to go 29 minutes without ever hitting a shot from outside the paint. I don’t know if that has ever happened before to any NBA team, but I’ve certainly never seen it. Monroe finally hit one halfway through the third, followed by a Singler three and one jumper each by Stuckey and Jennings. Jennings got two more in the 4th and that was it. 6 jump shots all game.Jennings also actually hit a 60 footer just before the halftime buzzer, but it was waved off as a TO before the shot.
- Related to the previous point, the Pistons scored an NBA season high 76 points in the paint.
|Greg Monroe, PF 22 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -12
Monroe wasn’t imposing his will in any way. So, when Maurice Cheeks realized Detroit’s three-big lineup couldn’t cover the mid-range well enough against Chicago (see more in the Cheeks section), Monroe became the big to sit. Monroe’s 22 minutes are by far a season low, and that’s what he deserved tonight. Hopefully, the extra rest has him in peak form Friday.
|Josh Smith, SF 34 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-4 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 13 PTS | -17
He struggled to guard Luol Deng (27 points on 11-of-17 shooting), but Smith was fine defensively when matched up with Chicago’s bigs. Smith had some nice offensive moves, including a behind-the-back pass to give Greg Monroe a layup. But the flash was tarnished by Smith forcing a few too many bad shots and dangerous passes.
|Andre Drummond, C 39 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-2 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -20
Drummond covered a lot of ground defensively and was only occasionally successful. Is he playing his assignment in the Pistons’ aggressive defense, or is he getting out of position? I’d like to see him stay home more often, allowing others to apply pressure. Offensively, the Pistons have to get Drummond the ball more in the halfcourt. He’s too valuable to shoot only 10 times if most of the attempts come in transition or off offensive rebounds, as was the case tonight.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 33 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -17
In the game’s first seven minutes, Jennings was 3-of-3 for eight points. So, he forced the mother of all heat-check 3-pointers. Of course, it missed, and Jennings’ wasted only one possession attempting to prove the research of Sandy Weil. I suppose that could have been worse. After that, Jennings settled into his typical, but not extreme, poor shot selection. Defensively, Jennings is establishing himself as someone who can be an absolute pest on the ball and in passing lanes, but someone who can get lost in team defense.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 19 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -6
Every other Pistons starter made a shot in the game’s first four-and-a-half minutes, so Caldwell-Pope faded into the background. He can’t be that fragile. Passable defense – at times – saves Caldwell-Pope from failing on a night his offense ranged from passive to putrid.
|Tony Mitchell, PF 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2
Getting offensive rebounds is a nice first step, but now Mitchell must improve on what he does after that. Missing a pair of free throws is not the answer, and neither is falling while losing his balance. But that’s why Mitchell plays in these moments: To get more comfortable on the court and gain composure.
|Josh Harrellson, PF 8 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -4
Harrellson is adept at using his big frame to create creases in the post, and he’s not afraid to bang inside defensively. But when opposing bigs use speed moves on him, he’s in trouble.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 11 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -1
Jerebko played non-descript enough that this game won’t hurt his case for playing time, but it won’t be the impetus for his return to the rotation, either. Jerebko staring at the ceiling after missing a layup late summed up the night for the Pistons.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +4
When he entered the game in the second quarter, Villanueva played as if he knew he had a rotation spot. Unlike many nights, he didn’t immediately force his shot in a bid to prove his worthiness. Then suddenly, Villanueva tried to cross over Joakim Noah, who stole the ball, and then forced a 3-pointer at the next opportunity. He didn’t play in the second half.
|Luigi Datome, SF 2 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +2
Datome made both his shots in the closing moments of garbage time, but to be persnickety, both were long 2s that should have been 3s. But Datome was not aware enough of where he was on the court and set up just inside the arc. He also played tough defense on the perimeter to force a turnover.
|Kyle Singler, SF 22 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -14
Beside putting back an airballed Harrellson 3-pointer, Singler had only one notable offensive play – and it didn’t count. He got up court in a hurry, spotted up beyond the arc and made a 3-pointer. But he stepped out of bounds on the sideline before the shot. Someone check his glasses. Singler was involved so little offensively because he was working his tail off to do what Smith couldn’t: Defend Luol Deng. Singler had the best results of any Piston on Deng, and the second-year small forward might be positioning himself for a bigger role. If Cheeks ever brings one of the starting bigs off the bench, I’d be shocked if Singler doesn’t move into the starting lineup.
|Will Bynum, PG 15 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -3
The offense just flowed really poorly when he was in the game. Bynum didn’t shoot well and missed pass openings.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 29 MIN | 9-16 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 25 PTS | -14
It was once a huge deal whenever Stuckey dunked. Tonight, he dunked twice, including this hammer. He balanced those slams with a strong mid-range game, too. Stuckey was active on defense, but sometimes that was only because he had to after getting out of position.
The Bulls made 15-of-20 mid-range shots (75 percent), an incredible stat for two reasons. 1. League average from that range is just 40 percent. 2. It didn’t seem fluky the Bulls shot so well from there, because they were so open. As, I’ve mentioned before, Smith, Monroe and Drummond lack the foot speed to cover as much ground outside the paint as a frontcourt collectively should. Cheeks adjusted by going to more two-big lineups, primarily sitting Monroe. But the bigs weren’t the only issue. If the Pistons are going to play an aggressive defense, they’ll likely allow more than their share of open shots. That’s OK, at least in theory, because an aggressive defense can lead to more forced turnovers and, theoretically, more transition opportunities and a better offense. If the Pistons are going to grant open shots, I’m fine with mid-range looks to frontcourt players. That’s still better than allowing shots at the rim and 3-pointers. Taj Gibson especially took advantage by scoring 23 points on 11-of-13 shooting, getting many open looks from mid-range. Those mid-range makes were a huge reason the Bulls won tonight, but do it all over again, and I still might cede many of those attempts. Cheeks picked the right poison. The Bulls just had the antidote tonight.
|Greg Monroe, PF 34 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +8
Monroe just looked different in this game. Confident. Assertive. Large. He was producing with the same effectiveness he typically does in his good games, but everything just seemed to come more smoothly than usual. That very well could have a lot to do with the Nets, who now trail the Pistons in defensive rating, but Monroe still deserves credit.
|Josh Smith, SF 33 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-8 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +14
I didn’t like his shot selection, but he made enough of them, defended hard and was active on the glass. … I just re-read that sentence and realized, "but he made enough of them"-pending, that sentence probably works in every Smith post-game writeup.
|Andre Drummond, C 27 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-4 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -5
Drummond was very active around the offensive basket, both going for offensive rebounds and making himself available for passes. But he didn’t make enough of a defensive impact.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 41 MIN | 2-10 FG | 10-10 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +4
Jennings recently told Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, "I don’t have any confidence in my shot right now. That’s the reason I’m missing, because there’s just no confidence there.” It was clear Jennings was still hesitant Sunday, passing up shots he’d typically take. And he still took 10 shots! So, that probably says something about his approach to the game. What saved Jennings’ scoring line? Shaun Livingston, who foolishly fouled Jennings on an off-balance long 2-pointer as the shot clock was expiring and then on a 3-pointer, and the Nets committing a defensive three-second violation that got Jennings a free throw and then intentionally fouling with the game clearly decided to get him two more freebies. At least Jennings did a pretty good job of getting his teammates good looks, both in the halfcourt and transition.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 24 MIN | 2-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +7
I still believe Caldwell-Pope will get past his rookie jitters and find his shooting stroke, even if he has to keep taking a ton of long 2-pointers to build his confidence, which he did Sunday. But until he actually gets past his rookie jitters and finds his shooting stroke, he’s going to receive poor grades.
|Tony Mitchell, PF 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
Made no impact in 25 second of garbage time
|Josh Harrellson, PF 11 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +12
Harrellson’s size inside made it easier for his teammates defend aggressively further from the hoop, but he looked slow. That didn’t matter Sunday, though, because Harrellson ran hard all over the court.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 12 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | 0
On his first offensive possession, Villanueva posted up 18 feet from the basket because he couldn’t get better positioning. He caught the entry pass (as much a pass to someone 18 feet from the basket qualifies as an entry pass) and promptly whipped around to shoot an airball with nine seconds on the shot clock. But Villanueva Villanuevaed Villanuevaing this game. He actually hustled after loose balls, defended OK and passed willingly. I bet he’ll make the rotation for Detroit’s next game, too.
|Kyle Singler, SF 26 MIN | 3-7 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +7
Singler worked hard offensively, and that effort yielded good results. Defensively, he spent a lot of time scrambling to close out on open 3-point shooters, but I don’t think that all on him. The Nets, who made 14-of-26 3-pointers (54 percent), are just the latest team to take advantage of the Pistons’ poor perimeter rotations.
|Peyton Siva, PG 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
Made no impact in 34 second of garbage time
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 31 MIN | 10-16 FG | 7-8 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 27 PTS | +15
With Lawrence Frank on the sideline as a Nets’ assistant, Stuckey showed his old coach what he could do when not spotting up in the corner. Stuckey ran pick-and-rolls, drove to the basket, posted up, shot from mid-range, kept the ball moving and then still worked hard on defense. This was the liveliest I’ve seen Stuckey in quite some time.
The Pistons had lost seven of nine. Their highest-paid player was just demoted to the bench for missing practice. And then they were trailing the woeful Brooklyn Nets, on the road no less, at halftime. Recent Pistons teams would have thrown in the towel facing far less. But not only did the Pistons stick with it in the second half, they came out of the locker room defending hard and running harder. NBA coaches have a lot of responsibilities, but an important one is establishing the right mindset. I liked the Pistons’ mindset very much to start the third quarter, and teams’ play in that part of the game is often tied to the coach.
|Greg Monroe, PF 29 MIN | 4-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -1Millsap was at his best when guarded by Monroe. But that was expected and it’s not like he torched Detroit. Monroe’s offense, though, was lacking. He loses the ball far too often when trying to make post moves and was fortunate to escape with just two turnovers.|
|Andre Drummond, C 35 MIN | 6-7 FG | 3-8 FT | 16 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +3Drummond was a beast on both ends of the court. He continued to get rebounds and putbacks nobody else could, but what really impressed was when he helped Jennings guard Teague. It was probably the best defensive possession by Detroit this year as the Hawks got a 24 second violation without coming close to getting a shot off. Also, Drummond was “on fire” from the stripe as one announcer put it, hitting multiple free throws for the first time all year.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 38 MIN | 4-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 14 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 8 PTS | -8This game may as well have been a caricature of Jennings. He missed a ton of shots, played horrible D (except for when Drummond helped him out), and still racked up a ton of assists. The point total was surprisingly low and the turnovers too high. But I was happy to see him pass up a good look on the fast break to give Pope a better look. He hasn’t been doing that consistently.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 41 MIN | 9-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | -10Singler got a surprise start over Smith. He responded with a career high in scoring, and he did it very efficiently. He did get away with a blatant travel early and didn’t do enough else on the court, but it was a very good game for him. I loved his fast break block on Teague.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 28 MIN | 4-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +4Pope played some very good defense, but once again, his shooting was abysmal. This seems like it could wrap up every game he has played. If Pope can become a reliable outside shooter, he’ll be exceedingly valuable to Detroit. If not, he’s just another ill-fitting piece on the roster.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF 11 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -8Harrellson made the most of his time on the floor. He doesn’t look to have a ton of upside, but he is rapidly earning a larger role by hitting outside shots and hustling enough to not pose a liability as a big man.|
|Josh Smith, SF 20 MIN | 0-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -8Not all of Smith’s shots were terrible, but he took multiple long 2s early int he shot clock with a defender up on him. That is the epitome of the shot Smith should never take, and it worked out in the worst way possible. The Hawks blanked Smith and that was probably the difference between a win and a loss.|
|Peyton Siva, PG 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 0 PTS | -1Siva didn’t get much time on the floor, but he turned the ball over every chance he got. He didn’t even touch the ball on one of his eight played possesions and there was only one possession when he did anything more than bring the ball past halfway and pass it to a teammate without turning it over. Even if Mack hit only one of three shots with Siva on him, that is abysmal.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 31 MIN | 6-15 FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -10Stuckey continued to shoot the difficult shots he has been hitting this year. That’s bad news as they weren’t falling this time around. The really bad news: he may be the Pistons’ best chance of generating something on many possessions.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +4Jerebko didn’t play enough merit grading.|
Cheeks tinkered with the starting lineup, putting one of the bigs on the bench, he gave Siva a chance but quickly yanked him when he kept feeding the ball to Hawks, and he gave more minutes than normal to Harrelson and Pope (although he gave none to Datome). That may be all he did right, but that’s better than normal for him.
Three Things We Saw
- This game was pretty much deja vu. A competitive game for much of the night but when the Pistons fell behind late, it was hard to envision them making the run necessary to catch up.
- As Draper pointed out after these teams’ last meeting, the Pistons were hopeless against the pick and roll. They haven’t been destroyed by it nearly as much against other teams, so do the Hawks just cause bigger matchup problems for the Pistons on this play or have other teams just not bothered yet to catch on to the easiest way to dismiss Detroit.
- The Hawks were probably going to get the win anyway, but a couple terrible calls late in the game put it out of reach. First Singler got hit with a clear path foul when he had definitely reached in for the steal while still in front of Carroll. Then the refs failed to whistle Stuckey for an incredibly obvious foul on Millsap on the fast break. Because of that, Carroll got the offensive board for a three point play opportunity. Each mistake led to two extra points for Atlanta and about an extra 20 seconds coming off the clock.
|Greg Monroe, PF 34 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -19The Hawks shot 70 percent in the restricted area, according to NBA.com/Stats. That largely falls on Monroe, who a lot of trouble bodying up Paul Millsap (19 points). On offense, Monroe was mostly ineffective. It was not a great game for Monroe.|
|Josh Smith, SF 36 MIN | 5-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -18In his return to Atlanta, Smith tried to do way too much. He took a lot of unnecessary shots early in the shot clock and missed all his shots outside of the paint, including all four of his 3-point attempts. His saving grace is usually defense, but tonight, he slipped against the Hawks’ frontcourt and let DeMarre Carroll out rebound him 12-6.|
|Andre Drummond, C 35 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +1He didn’t shoot very well tonight and regressed with his offensive role. We’ve seen him start to work a little bit from the elbow, but he didn’t do that at all tonight). Still, in a game where with few upsides, Drummond provided two with his rebounding and his steals.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 41 MIN | 9-21 FG | 0-1 FT | 7 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | -16Jennings was very polarizing tonight, to say the least. He was all over the place, but he rebounded well, made 3-of-6 3-pointers and still managed six assists for a team that shot poorly. His biggest flaws were difficulty defending the pick and roll and taking care of the ball. He can’t keep that up.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 23 MIN | 1-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -8Despite his relatively effective defensive performance — probably the best in the Pistons’ backcourt — he was abysmal on offense, to say the least. After getting inside and building confidence in previous games, Caldwell-Pope took six of his nine shots from beyond the arc tonight and missed them all.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -3Harrellson played only six minutes. He made a 3-pointer and blocked a shot, but he didn’t play enough for me to give him a real grade out there.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 11 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +12Datome finally logged legitimate minutes, and he looked pretty good. He shot a bit above average from the field (his shot is so pretty) in only four attempts, but the most impressive part about his game tonight were his defensive efforts. He was matched up with Paul Millsap on multiple occasions when Cheeks ran a small lineup, and despite my predictions, he played very well against him.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 22 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +3Singler played much differently than usual. He defended well, shot well in the paint and grabbed seven boards. In his 22 minutes played — often as a power forward with Siva, Stuckey, Datome and Drummond — he stepped up.|
|Peyton Siva, PG 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +11Siva played well in his six minutes played, getting a rebound, assist and two steals, but didn’t shoot once and didn’t make an impact on defense. He didn’t play long enough to get a legitimate grade tonight.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 26 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3-3 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 18 PTS | -3Stuckey played well tonight. He shut down Korver on defense, scored a very efficient 18 points and knocked down all of his free throws. From an individual standpoint, there is not much more one could have asked out of Stuckey tonight.|
Cheeks ran some really weird lineups tonight. Siva-Stuckey-Singler-Datome-Drummond worked, although it admittedly wasn’t the best lineup to run against this Hawks team. My biggest problem with Cheeks’ coaching tonight was his refusal to try to talk to Josh Smith out of taking 15 shots when he was playing poorly. Oh, he also got thrown out of the game midway through the fourth quarter.
Three Things We Saw
- The Pistons are not good at closing games. The game was close for a good 41 minutes, and then they fell apart and eventually lost by eight points.
- This team, despite their best efforts, can’t guard the pick and roll at all. It’s such a simple offensive scheme; one would think it’s an easy fix. Mo Cheeks needs to do something about that particular aspect of defense.
- The Pistons shot 23.5 percent on mid-range jumpers tonight. It was probably a combination of Monroe testing his shooting limits and Smith/Jennings chucking early in the shot clock, but nonetheless, it’s an issue.
|Greg Monroe, PF 36 MIN | 6-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 16 PTS | +10Monroe’s offense was desperately needed int his one, but he didn’t assert himself often enough and his D was the worst I’ve seen from him this year. Bargnani went off on him early and whenever Anthony had success, it was typically because he was able to force Monroe to switch onto him.|
|Josh Smith, SF 41 MIN | 7-19 FG | 3-5 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +9Smith was once again way too eager to throw up long jumpers, but he shut down Carmelo and that was exactly what Detroit needed.|
|Andre Drummond, C 36 MIN | 6-7 FG | 1-5 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -6Drummond is starting to look like the most consistent player in the league. His play every night is the same. On offense, the Pistons don’t run anything for him but he regularly bails them out with good positioning to catch lobs or beautiful putbacks. On defense, he fouls way too much and doesn’t yet have the best instincts, but he hustles and comes up with several big plays. Chalk him up as pretty much a nightly 12 and 12 while hitting about 80% of his field goals and 20% of his free throes.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 27 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +3Jennings missed a lot of time in this one because he was ailing. If Bynum were available, he should have just sat out the game. Jennings was invisible for most of his playing time. Get better soon Jennings, I don’t love your trigger-happiness but Detroit really could have used your floor spacing while the Knicks stormed back from 15 down to a 5 point gap.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 29 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +12Pope’s shot looked a lot better in this one even if he still only hit 4 of 12. The next step is to work on his shot selection. He took several shots from waaaay beyond the arc or just inside of it. Those are low value attempts. His man-to-man D wasn’t as good as it’s been in other games either, but his help and rotations were crisp. Pope looks like he may take a while to put everything together, but he has a lot of very valuable skills.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 5 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -3For his couple minutes, Datome looked exactly as I expected going into the season. If he could extrapolate those stats to 20-25 mpg, Datome could be a very valuable contributor in Detroit this year. But that defense was awful and there was no way he was going to get 20-25 minutes.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 23 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +3Singler didn’t produce much, but I loved his activity around loose balls. And he did a very good job on defense, especially when he rotated onto Melo.|
|Peyton Siva, PG 11 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +4Siva didn’t look talented enough to be on an NBA court, he was sloppy, and he fought with teammates for boards. If he wants to ever carve out a niche in the league, Siva will have to play some much headier ball because I don’t see anything else he has to offer.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 31 MIN | 8-14 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | -2Make no mistake, I don’t want to see Stuckey shoot 20 footers with 4 hands in his face ever again. But against New York, he hit multiple such shots. His offense and Smith’s defense are the reasons Detroit got a win. Not bad for a guy who has taken as much flak in recent years as Stuckey has had to absorb.|
I still don’t like his rotations, but Cheeks made a very smart move putting in Singler for Drummond at the end. No need to allow a hack-a-Drummond strategy to ever even be an option. Given how few shooters the Pistons employ, Cheeks needs to drum it into their heads that,w hen on the floor, they need to be beyond the 3 point arc unless they are actively carrying out a play. The spacing down the stretch was abysmal.
One Thing We Saw
- There were no egregious calls, but nearly everything questionable went the Pistons’ way. They were fortunate to come up with this win. But wins often involve a bit of fortune. They’ll take it: 4-6 sounds way better than 3-7.
|Greg Monroe, PF 37 MIN | 8-14 FG | 1-8 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | -5Monroe played well and put up solid counting stats. But all the missed free throws made it much harder for the Pistons to scrape their way back into this one.His defense continues to be good this season in one-on-one situations but he’s not good at rotating and ending up where he is supposed to.|
|Josh Smith, SF 38 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | -5Smith was way too quick to shoot from deep, but he was hitting more than not in this game. His interior D is magnificent, but if he plays alongside Monroe AND Drummond, he really needs to work on his perimeter D. He has enough length to get a finger on a lot of jumpers.|
|Andre Drummond, C 38 MIN | 7-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -16Were you wondering how Drummond can help space the floor with that awful shot? Wonder no more, Drummond was setting phenomenal screens for the guards allowing them to repeatedly get open shots in the lane. Yeah, you can have a diverse offense even while getting most of your points at the rim. And his box score stats were pretty solid too.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 39 MIN | 8-22 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 14 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 23 PTS | -1Jennings was again trigger happy. The volume was ok. But he should only be shooting when he’s open or the clock is running down. Otherwise, move the ball around and see if you can get a higher percentage look. His assist count was deceptively high. Jennings wasn’t passing that well. His teammates just shot a lot after getting the ball instead of passing it further.Jennings’ breakaway alley-oop to Drummond was awesome, though. Because it wasn’t flashy for the flash, it was flashy because that was the only way he could get a clean pass to Drummond with two defenders right on them.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 26 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -22Pope had the most epic steal I’ve seen so far this season when he stuffed Blake’s pass with both hands. Apart from that, though, his defense was not as good as expected.|
|Tony Mitchell, PF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2Nothing of consequence happened in Mitchell’s 49.4 seconds.|
|Josh Harrellson, PF 1 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2Nothing of consequence happened in Harrellson’s 49.4 seconds.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -5Jerebko didn’t get much burn, but when on the floor he did a good job of taking what the Lakers gave him. When they backed off, he drove. When they collapsed, he kicked out, when they jumped out on the shooters, he established good position. He also played solid D but got torched anyway. For so little time on the court, he sure had a lot of threes drained over his hand in the shooter’s face.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +10Datome was useless. He probably should have played more, but not based on anything he did in this brief appearance.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -20Singler’s stat line fit my impression of his game. I felt like I could remember seeing him out there quite a bit, but I couldn’t remember any plays he was involved in.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 30 MIN | 8-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | -7Stuckey had some really ugly TOs. First he threw the ball directly out of bounds. I still have no idea who that pass was intended for. Then he tried to thread a pass by Xavier Henry. Look, there are just some guys not worth making risky passes around. Henry is one of those guys.But overall, his offense was good. Stuckey manhandled smaller guards on the block. Unfortunately, he didn’t do much to stop them from responding with open jumpers.|
I’m not sure if Cheeks understands the value of taking a timeout when the other team is playing well. It gives your team a chance to regroup and reenter the game feeling confident and ready to stop the bleeding.
Two Things We Saw
- The Pistons really need to work on their transition game on both ends.
- The Pistons played some solid defense down the stretch. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was pretty good. And the Lakers just kept draining shot after shot. Credit this one to a game well played by the Lakers.
There are no must-wins this early in the NBA season, but this was a necessary step for the Pistons.
They’d lost 21 straight road games against Western Conference foes and had gone just 1-38 record in their last 39 such games. It was a symptom of a team that often couldn’t win, but never believed it would, even when facing similarly weak opponents.
The Pistons lacked talent and were mentally weak. They clearly upgraded their talent this summer, but it hadn’t been clear whether they’d fixed the other problem.
It’s still not clear, but at least their condition has improved.
The Pistons are a much better team than the Kings and should win most games like this. This victory doesn’t deserve wide celebration, but a loss would have caused real worry.
Now that we know the Pistons are progressing, it’s time to set higher expectations – like seeing them win a Western Conference road game outside Sacramento for the first time in more than three years.
|Greg Monroe, PF 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +7
The once-oft-made comparisons between Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins have become less relevant now that the Pistons have surrounded Monroe with actual talent. Detroit’s success is no longer so desperately tied to Monroe (though Sacramento’s is still very reliant on Cousins), but I was still drawn to the matchup. I’m not sure which player I’d prefer given all factors, but games like this show why Cousins has a much higher ceiling. Cousins (26 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks) is an amazing athlete and has great size. At times, it seemed like he just flew around the court. Monroe can still produce, but because he’s not on that level athletically, he must labor to make more of his plays.
|Josh Smith, SF 44 MIN | 6-13 FG | 7-10 FT | 8 REB | 7 AST | 5 STL | 4 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | +11
He was more successful on his bad shots than his good shots, so hopefully this game doesn’t reinforce Smith’s desire to take long jumpers early in the shot clock. He was also aggressive getting to the rim and making plays for teammate, though. On the other end, Smith mostly did not force the Kings into offensive mistakes. Rather, they did that to themselves. But Smith put himself in position to take advantage of Sacramento’s miscues. In previous years, the Pistons haven’t had players who have the athleticism and defensive awareness to make opponents pay for making the ball available. I’d like Smith to force the issue more in the long run, but against a bad offense tonight, he successfully made the defensive plays available to him.
|Andre Drummond, C 36 MIN | 7-13 FG | 1-3 FT | 18 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 15 PTS | +7
Used his size well to score and rebound in traffic. As teams focus more on him, Drummond will have less space to operate, so this type of growth is imperative – especially on a Pistons team that struggles to space the floor.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 39 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +11
I didn’t love Jennings’ shot selection, but he did a good job of getting up court and the Pistons’ into their offense quickly. He threw an alley-oop off the backboard to Drummond, who looked stunned to receive it but still finished. Players should use the backboard like that more often.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 21 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +1
Caldwell-Pope is clearly a starter in name only, with Rodney Stuckey and Kyle Singler both playing more than him. But it seems Caldwell-Pope is a legitimate part of the rotation now, and that should only help his development. Generally, I believe players should hunt 3-pointers rather than long 2s. But Caldwell-Pope has clearly been jittery from long range early in his rookie year. I definitely don’t mind him scooting inside for slightly easier looks just to get his confidence up, as Caldwell-Pope did a couple times early. Hopefully, that helps put him on the right track.
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 7 MIN | 2-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -5
Jerebko made the most of his limited minutes, and games like this boost his case for re-joining the rotation. When he focuses on cutting and spotting up for open shots rather than over-dribbling, like he did tonight, Jerebko is effective.
|Luigi Datome, SF 1 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2
Only the very best shooters in the NBA can come in cold and knock down shots. Maybe we should accept that Datome is not one of the very best shooters in the NBA. He could still become a helpful rotation piece, but it’s time to lower expectations for the time being.
|Kyle Singler, SF 23 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +3
Singler was definitely active, leading both to shots inside on offense and fouls committed on defense.
|Will Bynum, PG 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -7
Might Bynum be headed out of the rotation once Chauncey Billups gets healthy? Bynum didn’t do much tonight.
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 30 MIN | 6-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +5
Stuckey played well from mid-range, both shooting and passing. He’s not a good 3-point shooter, and he struggles to finish at the rim. Perhaps, this is becoming his niche.
I was very curious what Cheeks would do after pledging lineup changes, but Billups’ injury forced his hand. Interestingly, Cheeks used Smith, Monroe and Drummond together 31 minutes, just shy of the season-high 32 minutes they played together against the Grizzlies. Is that a long-term shift? Not necessarily. Those three have struggled defensively as a trio, though they were excellent together tonight. Usually, Detroit’s jumbo front line leaves too many shooters open, because Smith, Monroe and Drummond lack the collective foot speed to cover enough ground. But the Kings, who are still getting used to running an actual offense after years of bad ball, weren’t prepared to take advantage with deft passing.
|Greg Monroe, PF 31 MIN | 6-15 FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -29Monroe’s offense was underwhelming and his defense brought back memories of last year. His two free throw misses to close out the first quarter were killers. The Pistons were struggling so much to put the ball in the basket and couldn’t afford to waste freebies.|
|Josh Smith, SF 19 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -15Smith continued to attempt bad shots. This time, they weren’t falling. And he wasn’t contributing in other ways either. Completely unacceptable.|
|Andre Drummond, C 29 MIN | 8-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +1Drummond was the only good Piston starter in the game. Without him, Detroit probably loses by 30+.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 27 MIN | 5-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -31This performance was the epitome of bad Jennings. He was quick to hoist shots, missed a lot more than he made, didn’t get his teammates involved, and had 3 TOs to no steals.|
|Chauncey Billups, SG 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -12Billups is still technically a starter. but probably not for much longer. His role is rapidly declining. With games like this, it’s no surprise. But Billups’ ineffectiveness is relatively excusable relative to many of his teammates’ because it wasn’t sustained over much time on the floor.|
|Tony Mitchell, PF 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -4Mitchell put Lee on the line on two separate occasions when he wasn’t even shooting. And he made a goaltend. His numbers were decent for how much time he spent on the floor but he wasn’t playing smart.|
|Jonas Jerebko, PF 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +1Jerebko only played garbage minutes, but he doesn’t look likely to get much more in most games these days. If he wants to regain a larger role, he has to do better in these limited opportunities.|
|Luigi Datome, SF 17 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +3Datome was a rare bright spot in this matchup. He shot well, defended adequately, and generally did a good job of being somewhere the ball could get to him. Performances like this should be consistently achievable. If that happens, Datome should team with Singler and maybe Pope to form a solid, reliable corps on the wing.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -5Singler needs to grab a few boards in 18 minutes. He was part of the reason the Warriors creamed the Pistons on the glass. Given how poorly his teammates shot the ball, Singler should have tried to take on a bit more of a scoring role. But his play in this game wasn’t going to move the needle much either way.|
|Will Bynum, PG 21 MIN | 4-8 FG | 6-10 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +13Bynum did exciting Bynum things. He came into the game, brought a ton of energy, didn’t get sloppy, scored efficiently (although not as rapidly as we’ve sometimes seen), and would have given Detroit a shot at a comeback if the hole wasn’t so big.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 24 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -1Pope’s shooting left something to be desired, but it looked a lot better than it has in some games. His D was also solid and he got his most minutes of the season. Here’s hoping he has played his way into a bigger role because his upside is a lot better than Singler’s or Jerebko’s.|
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 28 MIN | 2-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -11I would say that Stuckey’s shockingly good shooting to start the season had made him overconfident, but he’s always been that way. Stuckey, if you have to take a tough shot because the team’s sets got blown up, go for it and I hope it goes in. But they should be a last resort. Today, we saw more typical results to Stuckey’s shooting.|
Cheeks didn’t coach particularly well, but i don’t think he could have manufactured a win here by coaching the best game anyone ever has. Still his grade has to suffer for pulling Drummond with foul trouble, especially in the 2nd quarter. He was easily the best Piston on the floor. Trust him to rein it in a bit. Also, Smith should have gotten some more time. He was awful, but given the desperate situation, he was more likely to play superstar ball and bring the Pistons back into the game than almost anyone else on the roster.
Three Things We Saw
- The Pistons attempted 17 more shots than the Warriors! And they took more from downtown and got to the line more frequently. They had 12 steals and just 12 TOs, to Golden State’s 5 and 23. It’s really hard to lose when those sorts of numbers happen. To lose by 18? That’s insane.
- Apart from the lack of minutes for Smith, the lineups looked a lot better this game. Lots of time with two of Detroit’s “big three”. Relatively big minutes for Pope and Datome. I want to see how this rotation holds up when they’re not playing an opponent that hits 60% of their shots.
- The Pistons may have only been losing to better teams so far, but this is unacceptable. Worse teams beat better teams regularly. Any given loss is understandable, but the succession of them isn’t. Detroit should probably be winning at least 30% of their games against teams expected to make the playoffs.