Category → Game Review
|Jason Maxiell, PF 24 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +7
Leave it to the ancient Celtics to make Maxiell look spry while blocking four shots.
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 38 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +16
Prince’s shot selection skewed a bit too far outside, but at least he was effective closer to the basket.
|Kyle Singler, SF 35 MIN | 4-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +14
Singler was all kinds of active tonight, and though that led to a few miscues, he helped much more than he didn’t. There was a reason Lawrence Frank barely took him off the court.
|Greg Monroe, C 38 MIN | 6-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +22
This is Monroe’s fifth straight double-double, and he was one rebound from that streak hitting nine. Monroe never dominated tonight, but he was solid throughout.
|Brandon Knight, PG 31 MIN | 5-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 7 TO | 15 PTS | +14
Knight played well overall, but he was way too sloppy with the ball. Seven turnovers match a career high. Not all of them were his fault, but that’s true for most point guards in most games.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 8 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -4
He didn’t play much, but he scored efficiently while he was on the court.
|Austin Daye, PF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -3
He played even less than Villanueva. Is Jonas Jerebko nearing a return to the rotation?
|Andre Drummond, C 20 MIN | 5-6 FG | 6-8 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +2
Drummond was an alley-oop machine the Celtics couldn’t stop. So, they tried fouling him, but he made his free throws. Drummond’s presence confounded Boston and freed other Pistons for quality looks.
|Will Bynum, PG 21 MIN | 5-12 FG | 5-8 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +4
I just love watching Bynum when he’s playing well. He was in control tonight. Throwing alley-oops to Drummond, driving to the rim and pulling up for jumpers — Bynum did it all.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 20 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | +3
With Knight defending well, Bynum orchestrating the offense with poise and Singler hustling, there weren’t many minutes for Stuckey tonight.
Monroe and Drummond played 10 minutes together, so that’s progress. Plus, Frank let Knight play through some rather large swings in production, and ultimately, that’s best for the franchise. Even if Knight is struggling right now, his progress is paramount.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 19 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -9He was kind of a victim of the situation in the first half. With the Pistons struggling and the Knicks going small, he didn’t really fit. When the team made its run late in the third, he played well enough on defense and the boards, drawing a charge on Carmelo Anthony.|
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 35 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-6 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -15Pretty much the typical Tayshaun Prince game. He took a lot of mid-range jumpers, he played some decent defense on Anthony and he did a little bit of everything. I’m not sure why Lawrence Frank drew up so many isolation plays for him — especially being guarded by a good defender in Iman Shumpert.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 35 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -11He was legitimately the Pistons only threat from behind the 3-point line and he was productive, making three shots from deep. He, like the rest of the starters, struggled defensively early, but his offense was one of the lone bright spots.|
|Greg Monroe, C 36 MIN | 4-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | -3He finished with a double-double, but his offense was off all night. A long, athletic defender like Tyson Chandler always gives him problems and that was no different today. He rebounded well and had five assists (and four turnovers), but outside the mini-rally in the third quarter, he was totally out of sorts.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 18 MIN | 0-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | -9I’m not sure that Knight has played a worse game in a Pistons’ jersey. He was listless, unenthusiastic and basically served as a guy who brought the ball up court. He rewarded by being glued to the bench after Will Bynum exploded in the second half. On the bright side he only turned it over once!|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 12 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -8Surprisingly (not) he wasn’t much on defense and was really a non-factor on offense. If he’s not making 3-pointers, he’s not helping you at all — which was the case with just two rebounds.|
|Austin Daye, PF 10 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3Like Charlie V, he’s a guy who needs to be making shots to make an impact. He had the flagrant foul on Chandler and also fouled Carmelo Anthony on a 3-pointer, but otherwise he kind of just floated around the perimeter.|
|Andre Drummond, C 23 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | -12This is nothing new, but he brought all the energy humanly possible in the second and late fourth quarter. He out-performed Monroe in 13 fewer minutes and he even had Knicks’ announcers Spero Dedes and Walt Frazier marveling at his physical prowess.|
|Viacheslav Kravtsov, C 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2Well, the little-used European got some garbage minutes in his home… continent? He actually made one nice play, turning a forced inside feed into a pass out to Singler for a 3-pointer late.|
|Will Bynum, PG 30 MIN | 10-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | -6Team struggles all game, then Bynum turns it on and brings them back into the game. This is a recording. He played well enough to keep Knight benched for most of the second half and led the third quarter charge. Call me crazy here, but if Bynum keeps up his pace of coming in and bringing the offense with some consistency, could he be (maybe distantly) in the running for Sixth Man of the Year?|
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -1Stuckey was basically invisible. He’s obviously a guy who needs to have the ball in his hands to be effective, but when Bynum goes on his tears like he did today, Stuckey becomes a bit redundant.|
|Lawrence FrankIt didn’t help that the Pistons came out defenseless and fell behind by 14 points early — but it’s kind of his job to scheme to avoid that, right? Considering how much of a mismatch the Knicks are for the Pistons, Frank made what adjustments he could thereafter. Drummond could have played more, but his lineup of Bynum-Singler-Prince-Maxiell-Monroe in the third was actually the most productive of the night. Kudos to him giving Knight the hook when he wasn’t doing anything, too.|
|Jason Maxiell, PF 26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | +10Maxiell was pretty average, although he did block three shots in 26 minutes. The team had several defensive problems up front. Although Maxiell didn’t play great defensively, he was far from the main culprit.|
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 33 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +1Like Maxiell, Prince was pretty painfully average tonight. He didn’t have an awful game, but he missed a couple of short jumpers in the second half that he typically makes.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 20 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 4 PTS | +2At the risk of being repetitive, Singler was also about as average as it gets tonight. His defense wasn’t great, wasn’t awful. Offensively, he wasn’t much of a factor, although he did make both of this shot attempts.|
|Greg Monroe, C 32 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | 0Monroe did some things OK — he shot well, he rebounded, he got on the offensive glass. And although Al Jefferson, in particular, bullied anyone Detroit put on him, Monroe at the very least tried to be physical defensively. But his seven turnovers were killers. I don’t blame him for all of them — in the third quarter, Utah just collapsed basically all of their defenders on Monroe every time he touched the ball inside because they weren’t scared of the perimeter shooters Detroit had on the floor. Monroe made a few sloppy passes, but I would say three or four of those turnovers weren’t his fault.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 35 MIN | 7-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -1Knight only had one assist, but he also only had two turnovers. He missed a couple of open 3-pointers, but tonight, he was the best of a very mediocre starting lineup. I would’ve given Knight a B if he didn’t take one of the stupidest shots of the season so far, launching a 3-pointer from like five feet behind the 3-point line with nine seconds still remaining on the shot clock in the third quarter.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 16 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1-3 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -11Villanueva didn’t shoot well and, unlike in most of the other games he’s played since re-entering the rotation, he didn’t do much else to help the team when he was on the court.|
|Austin Daye, PF 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -4Daye also didn’t shoot particularly well, but he did block two shots. His length makes him a very interesting player off the bench when he’s confident — he can’t guard perimeter players regularly, but those long arms allow him to block shots and recover even on the times he gets beat off the dribble.|
|Andre Drummond, C 21 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -5This was Drummond’s worst game in quite some time. He still contributed — including a great leaping steal while back-pedaling that I’m still not sure how he caught, followed by a dive to the floor and a timeout call to save the possession for the Pistons — but when Jefferson started abusing the Pistons inside in the second half, not even Drummond could, the team’s best interior defender, could do much to slow him down.|
|Will Bynum, PG 19 MIN | 6-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | 0With the Pistons down by nine, Bynum scored six points in the final two minutes to, once again, propel the Pistons back into a game that looked to be over. I was more impressed by Bynum’s three steals and zero turnovers, however.|
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 22 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -7File Stuckey among the ‘painfully average’ group listed above in the starting lineup. He didn’t do anything — other than a really awkward looking turnaround jumper attempt where he had a man in his face and didn’t even look like he could see the rim when he turned — that qualifies as awful, but he didn’t really do much positive in this game either.|
|Lawrence FrankThe Pistons looked great early, but with the offense sputtering after Utah got way more aggressive on defense in the third quarter, Frank was late to go back to his bench. The Jazz were trapping Monroe, and I thought if Frank had put Villanueva or Daye (or both) into the game, it may have stopped Utah from being able to send so many defenders at Monroe. The fact that several of his players were kind of no-shows tonight didn’t really help matters either though.|
|Jason Maxiell, PF 27 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +14Maxiell had a typically solid game, particularly on defense. The defense of the starting five was as good as it has been all season tonight, and Maxiell’s toughness was a key part of that.|
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 28 MIN | 3-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 6 PTS | +20Prince was awful shooting the ball, but he did contribute in other ways — he rebounded, he set up teammates for decent shots and he played good perimeter defense.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 23 MIN | 3-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +14Singler had a nice bounce-back performance after his recent struggles. He shot well, he did a little bit across his stat-line and he made a couple of nice defensive plays against Milwaukee’s lightning quick backcourt.|
|Greg Monroe, C 35 MIN | 11-19 FG | 4-8 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 26 PTS | +35Monroe was unstoppable inside, he was decisive and made quick moves, he rebounded well and — despite getting a lot of touches — he only turned it over once. Easily one of his best performances of the season.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 34 MIN | 7-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 20 PTS | +28Knight had a nice shooting game, but the measure with him, as always, is how much did he look like a competent point guard? There are no complaints about five assists with no turnovers as well as great defense on Brandon Jennings.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 18 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -7Villanueva hit a couple of threes during Detroit’s onslaught in the third quarter. He didn’t shoot that well, but he also didn’t play poorly.|
|Austin Daye, PF 20 MIN | 1-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | -4Like Villanueva, Daye didn’t shoot well. But he did contribute a bit on defense, coming up with two steals, and he got to the line four times.|
|Andre Drummond, C 17 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -10This wasn’t one of Drummond’s more crisp performances — he made a few mistakes on defense and also inexplicably was trying to dribble around the perimeter on one possession before the guards and coaches all screamed at him to give it up, and yet he still had 11 rebounds and four blocks in 17 minutes. He would’ve had a double-double had he converted a dunk late on a pass off the backboard from Villanueva.|
|Will Bynum, PG 14 MIN | 0-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 1 PTS | -12Bynum’s awful defense was a big part of Milwaukee’s second quarter run to take a lead. Bucks backup point guard Beno Udrih keyed that run by doing basically anything he wanted.|
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 22 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 7 PTS | +7Stuckey was quiet in the first half and didn’t shoot well, but he did a nice job in other areas — particularly picking up two blocked, including a nice one on a Monta Ellis jumper as the third quarter came to an end.|
|Lawrence FrankThe Pistons had an early lead only to see it fall apart in the second quarter. The Bucks were rolling and Detroit couldn’t do anything to stop the momentum heading into halftime. So basically, it was a familiar occurrence for Pistons basketball this year. Until the third quarter. The Pistons out-scored the Bucks 33-11 in the third and played a good fourth quarter as well, so Frank certainly pushed the right buttons and deserves some of the praise for the Pistons picking up a nice road win over a team that, although inconsistent, has been solid this season.|
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 42 MIN | 9-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 21 PTS | -4
Tayshaun made Isolayshaun a central part of the Pistons’ offense tonight, and although he shot pretty well, he also had a few turnovers due to sloppy ball-handling. The biggest benefit of isolation plays is they rarely result in turnovers, but Detroit didn’t get that with Prince. Plus, he showed his age defensively at times defensively.
|Greg Monroe, C 37 MIN | 7-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 14 REB | 6 AST | 18 PTS | +3
Monroe was engaged on both ends, and he played excellently. I can’t ask any more from him.
|Brandon Knight, PG 33 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -6
Knight (one assist, four turnovers) didn’t see the floor well, and his spot-up shooting was off, too. He was sort of stuck between roles that didn’t suit him well. Knight doesn’t protect the ball well enough to run the offense, and at least tonight, he didn’t play off the ball well enough, either.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 19 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -5
I believe in the hot hand. In other words, I believe a player is more likely to make a shot after making a shot. However, I believe players negate that by shooting too often after making a shot. Case in point, Villanueva made his first three shots – all 3-pointers on consecutive possessions – and then missed his next five shots and didn’t attempt a 2-pointer all game.
|Austin Daye, PF 11 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -1
Daye didn’t play or do much. Sort of curious.
|Andre Drummond, C 28 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -13
Drummond is a monster. The Bynum-to-Drummond alley-oop is incredibly effective, and he’s really developing as a rim protector (three blocks). Plus, he and Monroe each assisted each other on really nice interior plays. Imagine how awesome it would be if those two played together more.
|Will Bynum, PG 24 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 5 PTS | -13
Though Bynum shot 2-for-9, several of those shots came late in the shot clock once other options failed to materialize. He really worked to move the ball, and with nine assists and one turnover, he was mostly successful in that.
As the Atlanta Hawks began chipping away at a Pistons lead that was as large as 19 points at one point Friday, rookie center Andre Drummond‘s struggles happened to coincide with an Atlanta run. Zaza Pachulia — a professional irritant — flustered Drummond, who picked up a technical foul. Then in the post in a one-on-one situation, Pachulia, a strong and crafty big with great footwork, tied Drummond in a knot on an up-and-under move that resulted in a bucket.
As tends to happen when Drummond makes a couple of mistakes, Lawrence Frank pulled his prized but still learning big man. The difference for both Drummond and Frank, though, was what happened on the game’s final possession. With the Pistons up one — thanks to what appeared to be an Al Horford game-tying three actually being a two upon review — Frank pulled Greg Monroe in favor of Drummond for the game’s final possession. On the in-bound, Josh Smith caught the ball in good post position on Drummond, but Drummond quickly fouled, knowing the Pistons had one to give. Then, on the ensuing play, Drummond switched and got his fingers on a jumper by Lou Williams that looked like a pretty clean look until Drummond flew into the picture.
This represented a great step forward for Frank, trusting Drummond in a tight end of game situation, and for Drummond, who overcame a couple of bad defensive mistakes from earlier in the game, moved past them and was fantastic on the game’s final possession.
Four straight wins have the Pistons back on track with an outside shot at the eight seed in the Eastern Conference, exactly where most predicted they’d be before the season started, and Frank continues to mystify with the ability of teams he coaches to play so, so badly to start seasons only to get much stronger as the season progresses.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 29 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-5 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +6Maxiell was great defensively down the stretch, holding his position defensively against Al Horford (something Monroe and Drummond had a hard time doing), getting a tough rebound in traffic and a big block late in the game that helped preserved the win. The only slight criticism — he missed two free throws in the last two minutes that would’ve helped give the Pistons a bit more margin for error.|
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 29 MIN | 2-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -4Prince played OK defense on Atlanta’s shooters, but he shot horribly himself and also made a costly turnover on an inbounds pass with six seconds left that gave the Hawks a chance to win the game.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 16 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -4Usually, even if Singler doesn’t do much scoring, he does enough other things — hustle plays, defense, rebounding or passing — that help contribute. Tonight, he didn’t do much of anything.|
|Greg Monroe, C 34 MIN | 5-14 FG | 8-10 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | -5Monroe didn’t shoot well and had a couple of bad defensive possessions, but he supplemented that by getting to the line and taking good care of the basketball. He also came up with three steals.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 36 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 8 PTS | -8Knight got off to a decent start in this game and he took good care of the ball. He also had another strong defensive performance against Teague. Two things bothered me — the first obvious one was his 0-for-5 3-point shooting, including misses on several clean looks. The other, on the Pistons’ final possession, Prince was trying to find Knight on the inbound. Knight was held a few times by Teague. More than once, I’ve heard Knight compared to Chauncey Billups upside-wise. A key difference between the two was fully on display on that play — Billups has always been incredible at selling contact. Knight barely flinched. In that situation, you have to make it blatantly obvious to an official that you’ve been grabbed, and Knight didn’t do a good job of that.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 13 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -7Villanueva, mainly an offense-only player, scores zero points and doesn’t get a bad grade? Well, in this bizarro world Pistons bench where formerly bad players are suddenly good, Charlie Villanueva plays defense. He had two blocked shots and several decent defensive possessions tonight. You read that correctly.|
|Austin Daye, PF 22 MIN | 9-11 FG | 0-1 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 20 PTS | +6Austin Daye may have had his best game as a pro tonight. His shooting prowess was obvious, but he’s also rebounding well, defending well and in a far cry from last season, looks like a legitimate NBA rotation player right now.|
|Andre Drummond, C 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +8I pretty much summed up Drummond’s performance above. He was his typical impactful self on defense, with a hiccup here and there when it comes to the finer points — he tends to make mistakes in one-on-one situations and crafty bigs with good footwork can exploit his weaknesses. But overall, he’s a major reason the Pistons are suddenly a competent team.|
|Will Bynum, PG 17 MIN | 2-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 5 PTS | -6Bynum struggled shooting the ball and had three turnovers, but he did a decent job of running the offense when he was in the game and picked up five assists in 17 minutes.|
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 24 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +19Stuckey was solid in his return to action and looked healthy. His presence probably means fewer minutes for Bynum and Singler in the long run, but that’s not a bad thing.|
|Lawrence FrankAs was mentioned in the comments, Frank’s substitution patterns in the fourth quarter probably helped contribute to an Atlanta run and the inbounds play he drew up for the team’s final possession could’ve been a disaster if the turnover resulted in Atlanta making a game-winning shot, but overall, the team is obviously progressing, he trusts Drummond more, he’s consistent and he certainly deserves credit for the team improving since their disastrous beginning.|
On Tuesday against the Kings, the Pistons did something that has been fairly common this season — they built a large lead only to see it shrink in the second half. But for the second straight game, the Pistons didn’t completely fall apart in that scenario and held on to beat Sacramento.
Contributions from the effective bench unit of Will Bynum, Charlie Villanueva, Austin Daye and Andre Drummond once again helped key the team, and the emergence of those players — Bynum, Villanueva and Daye, in particular — as legitimate, key rotation players continues to be so big a surprise that ‘surprise’ really isn’t an adequate descriptor for it. The Pistons have now won three straight games, they are 3-0 on their current homestand and, shockingly, are not even that far out of playoff contention despite their abysmal start to the season.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 25 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -14Four turnovers for a guy who doesn’t really have plays called for him is, obviously, bad. Other than that, Maxiell was serviceable, but the was still the fourth best big the Pistons put on the court in this game and he played the second most minutes.|
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 35 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | -2Prince continues to do a little bit of everything, settling in as a role player but also still occasionally knowing when to go into iso mode and get a good shot for himself. Because the team has been so bad, Prince’s play gets overlooked a bit, but he’s had a really nice season, particularly because not many people thought he’d willingly accept a reduced role in the offense on a young team.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 33 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 4 PTS | +1Singler didn’t do much offensively in this game, but he and really all of Detroit’s perimeter defenders played good defense on Sacramento’s guards. Singler’s length helped contest jumpers and he and Detroit’s other guards also did a nice job forcing turnovers.|
|Greg Monroe, C 38 MIN | 6-13 FG | 6-8 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +4DeMarcus Cousins had a big game, but Monroe was nearly as effective. Monroe did have four turnovers, an issue that continues to plague him, but he worked hard defensively and even blocked two shots.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 35 MIN | 8-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 20 PTS | +5Knight had his first 20-point game in more than two weeks. He didn’t pick up an overwhelming number of assists, but he only turned it over twice and his defense was good.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 11 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | +10Villanueva’s a specialist and nothing more at this point for the Pistons. So, even if he did little else, knocking down three of five 3-point attempts qualifies as a very good game for him.|
|Austin Daye, PF 21 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +15Daye’s play has been incredibly encouraging. He’s always looked like a NBA player — he’s big, athletic, moves well, handles the ball decently for his size and, most importantly, his shot is fluid and natural. He just needed the ball to start going in for him. It took a long time for that to start happening again regularly, but now that it is, it is once again easy to see him as a decent prospect as long as he continues to make shots.|
|Andre Drummond, C 21 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +11Just another ho-hum 11 rebound/three block game for Drummond in very limited minutes. His presence, even with the few mistakes (and seriously … those mistakes are rapidly decreasing), just simply makes the Pistons a much different team. Tonight, with Maxiell not playing well, Drummond really should’ve played more. Fortunately, it wasn’t a decision that cost Detroit the game.|
|Will Bynum, PG 21 MIN | 4-9 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | 0Bynum followed up two amazing performances by being not very good against the Bucks on Saturday. Tonight, he showed that his resurgence as an instant offense playmaker might not have run its course just yet. Lawrence Frank has stumbled onto something really working well with his second unit — Bynum surrounded by a couple guys who can shoot, a guy who can finish and all guys who can run actually kind of works. It’s probably not something that can be counted on for great production every game, but for the first time this season, the Pistons are regularly playing a lineup of guys whose skills seem to mesh well together rather than get in each other’s way.|
|Lawrence FrankThe Drummond thing isn’t going away — he absolutely should’ve played more tonight and Maxiell absolutely should’ve played less. But the team has certainly improved in some respects over the last week or two, and Frank’s grades will be higher accordingly. The team did a nice job defensively against Sacramento’s guards and, though Cousins was good, he wasn’t so dominant that the Pistons couldn’t overcome his performance. The team looks more competent of late, and Frank gets some of the credit for that.|
In the first game of a five-game homestand on Friday, the Pistons surprisingly (maybe shockingly) beat the Atlantic Division leading and defending NBA champion Miami Heat. In the second game o f the homestand on Sunday, Detroit beat the Milwaukee Bucks, who lead the Central Division.
Beating the Bucks — a fringe playoff contender at best in the eyes of most before the season started — is certainly less impressive in itself than beating the Heat. But when you combine the two results, it’s a nice accomplishment in a season that has been had sparse moments that can be described as ‘accomplishments.’ The Pistons, as a lot of young teams do, could’ve very easily come into this game a little too overconfident after such a great performance against the defending champs on Friday. The Pistons — as they’ve done so many times previously this season — could’ve very easily folded when a better team came back in the second half and erased a double digit lead. They didn’t do either of those things, and even if excuses can be made for the Bucks — they were playing the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Heat last night, the Pistons are slowly but surely showing a bit of progress. Talk of ‘turning corners’ or other clichés is probably premature. It’s likely the Pistons are not as good as they’ve looked the last two games. But it’s also likely they’re not as bad as they looked much of the early part of the season.
All of that is a long-winded way of saying, despite more than 40 percent of the season being over, it’s still really hard to conclude what this team is. They’re certainly not a playoff team. But they’re also not one of the dregs of the league either. And with significant young talent with immense upside — specifically Andre Drummond, but also Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight — they’re not just a run of the mill bad team either. Most run of the mill bad teams don’t have a potential franchise player like Drummond is, should he continue developing at his advanced rate.
Tonight’s game didn’t change anything about how bad the Pistons have been most of this season, but steadily, if they continue playing as competitively as they have over the last week, they’re starting to rebuild some of the hope that was lost with their horrid start.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 26 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +5Jason Maxiell hadn’t reached double figures in rebounding since Dec. 10 and he picked up just his second double-double of the season. He and Greg Monroe helped make everyone in Milwaukee’s frontcourt not named Ersan Ilyasova a non-factor.|
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 35 MIN | 8-16 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | -2Prince reached 20 points in a game for the second time this season, but it was his offense down the stretch that helped win this game. As much as most fans have celebrated the fact that Prince in the Isolayshaun (copyright Detroit Bad Boys) offense has been used in Moderayshaun (copyright Patrick Hayes) this season, he’s still probably the most reliable Piston to go to in an iso situation, either facing up or posting up. He rarely turns it over and he usually gets at least a decent look. Monta Ellis gave the Bucks their first lead of the game with 1:06 left when he hit a jumper to put the Bucks up 96-94. The Pistons went to Prince on two straight possessions. He got inside and made a short jumper to tie it with 50 seconds left, then after a stop, he drew a foul and made the game-winning free throws with 10 seconds left.|
|Kyle Singler, SF 31 MIN | 2-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +5Even when he plays bad, Singler always does enough to justify staying on the court. Tonight, he picked up six rebounds, three steals and a block. He also doesn’t get enough credit for how well he moves without the basketball — in fact, he might be the team’s best cutter. But tonight, he was just overmatched with Monta Ellis. Ellis obviously had the quickness advantage offensively, but Singler couldn’t even take advantage of his size advantage when the Pistons had the ball. Ellis’ quick hands made it hard for Singler to get comfortable enough handling the ball to get good shots up.|
|Greg Monroe, C 29 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | -1Monroe was solid as usual, other than his three turnovers. His activity on offense also helped get Larry Sanders — who has been playing really well lately — into foul trouble and make him a non-factor in the game. Monroe did get beat a couple of times by Drew Gooden in the third quarter, but other than that, he had a strong all-around game.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 35 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | -5Knight did two things well in this game — he made 40 percent of his 3-pointers and he played good defense on Brandon Jennings. He shot the ball poorly overall and had three assists with four turnovers though.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -3Not that anyone should expect great defense out of Villanueva, but he was one of several Pistons bigs who could do nothing with Ilyasova. Villanueva did make up for it some offensively, scoring 11 points. It was his fourth straight game scoring in double figures.|
|Austin Daye, PF 13 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +4Daye only played 13 minutes tonight, but he made the most of them, making both of his shots, scoring five points, grabbing three rebounds and blocking a shot. Both Daye and Villanueva emerging to be productive rotation members is probably the most surprising thing of the season so far, other than Drummond’s immediate readiness.|
|Andre Drummond, C 19 MIN | 4-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +3Drummond does what he always does at this point. He was impossible to keep off the glass, he protected the rim and he made a couple of jaw-dropping plays that only he and a couple others his size in the league are athletic enough to make.|
|Will Bynum, PG 24 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS | +6Bynum’s scoring cooled off, as it was bound to do. The good — he didn’t look for his own shot as much and created shots for teammates, finishing with five assists. The bad — he also turned the ball over five times and got beat a couple of times defensively.|
|Kim English, SG 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | -2English played! And he got a point and a rebound! He didn’t do enough in his six minutes to positively or negatively impact the game. But it’s Kim English! So he gets a C.|
|Lawrence FrankFrank had a good gameplan against the Bucks. Milwaukee is one of the better defensive teams in the league, all set up by their fantastic shot-blocking ability. The Pistons went right at Milwaukee’s bigs, particularly Sanders, and it resulted in Sanders playing just 20 minutes. With his point guards both struggling to take care of the ball, Frank also did a nice job adjusting and running the offense through Prince more to help steady things. The complaint is a familiar one — Drummond deserved more than 19 minutes based on his play — but enough went right in this game to overlook that. Frank’s in-game adjustments and gameplans seem to have become much better over the last week or so. Or maybe the players have just become better at executing what he wants to do. Either way, the coach should get credit for it.|
Will Bynum the biggest star on a court that featured LeBron James and Chris Bosh in Pistons win over Miami
Will Bynum … what you can really say? Actually, Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys probably said it best on Twitter. I was teasing him a bit because he — accurately, it needs to be said — pointed out the significant flaws in Bynum’s game and his overall lack of production as a member of the rotation earlier this season. Here’s how Sean responded to me bringing up Bynum’s recent success (25 points and 10 assists against Miami after his 31-point performance against Atlanta earlier this week):
@patrick_hayes I stand behind everything I wrote. He’s still making maddeningly stupid decisions with the ball. But, hey, they’re going in
— Sean Corp (@sean_corp) December 29, 2012
That’s honestly about all you can say about Bynum. When his shots are going in, he’s insanely fun to watch, but he’s still taking a lot of bad shots. When his shots are not falling, he goes from being a really fun, unorthodox player to watch to someone who absolutely kills the team when he’s on the court. But everyone knows what Bynum is by this point, so there’s no need to belabor what’s going on. Every season, Bynum is going to be wildly inconsistent, but he’s also a guy capable, on rare occasions, of winning or nearly winning a game for a team off the bench. We’ve seen that in the last two games, when he nearly got the Pistons a win over the Hawks and, tonight, when he led them to an exciting, improbable win over the defending champs.
To be clear, it wasn’t all Bynum. The entire bench has suddenly become fantastic. Andre Drummond has been very good off the bench all season and Bynum, along with Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye, have gone from being castoffs who, at times over the last couple seasons, didn’t even look like they belonged in the NBA, to looking over the course of two games like a really fun, havoc-wreaking, energy-filled unit over the last two games. I have no idea if they can sustain it, but I know that I have had more fun watching these games than I have at any point in recent Pistons history.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 19 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -7Maxiell shot OK, but one rebound in 19 minutes against a Miami frontline that, while obviously talented, sometimes plays Shane Battier at the four spot?|
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 36 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -11Prince moved the ball and shot OK. He didn’t really slow LeBron James down much when he was guarding him, but who can?|
|Kyle Singler, SF 31 MIN | 5-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | +14Singler shot well, but was also really active moving without the basketball. He helped out on the glass and was his typical smart, opportunistic self.|
|Greg Monroe, C 28 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-1 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -6Monroe had a quiet game, but then again, so did just about every starter. He shot 50 percent and he rebounded well though, and that’s more than a couple of his fellow starters can say about their performances.|
|Brandon Knight, PG 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 4-6 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | -7Even with Will Bynum playing out of his mind, there is no chance Bynum plays his way into a starting job. And too often, Brandon Knight plays like a guy who feels absolutely no pressure from the players below him on the depth chart. He was passive and a bit sloppy, and he’ll be right out there starting the next game at point guard because the Pistons have no option who can push him.|
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 26 MIN | 7-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | +21Villanueva’s offense speaks for itself, but what has been truly impressive about him is the effort he’s put into other parts of his game. He’ll never be a great rebounder or a defensive stopper, but he can be better at those things than what we’ve seen from him in his career so far. Tonight, he grabbed six rebounds and really did a pretty nice job closing out on shooters, particularly Shane Battier, when Miami went small.|
|Austin Daye, PF 29 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +17The biggest thing for Daye is obviously just knocking down shots, and tonight he did that. But like Villanueva, the key for him sticking in the rotation is consistently doing other things at at least an average level. Tonight, he helped rebound and he contested shots. Like with Villanueva, he’s probably never going to be a great, instinctive defender, but his height is certainly a weapon for him defensively. He can get a hand in the face of shooters and bother shots when he wants to.|
|Andre Drummond, C 23 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +12It’s no coincidence that players with awful defensive reputations like Daye and Villanueva suddenly look formidable when they play their minutes with Drummond. Imagine the impact he might have playing next to … nevermind. Drummond’s production continues to stay consistent, he looks more confident nearly every game and, most importantly, he finely seems to be earning more trust from Lawrence Frank. Better late than never.|
|Will Bynum, PG 28 MIN | 10-16 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 25 PTS | +17I said most of it above when it comes to Bynum. He has an amazing ability to look like he’s got nothing left as a NBA player, then suddenly absolutely carry a team. The Pistons have fed off his energy and how hard he plays. The entire second unit was sprinting up and down the court with Bynum. When the game ended, Drummond ran up to Bynum to give him a bearhug. Obviously, Bynum probably can’t sustain this. But I can’t deny these momentary flashes when he unleashes a dynamic performance have been some of my favorite moments of the last four years.|
|Lawrence FrankFor as much flack Lawrence Frank has (deservedly) taken about his rotation, he seems to be coming around. Tonight, his starters clearly didn’t have it. His bench clearly did. And he trusted his bench to win this game for him. That is a great step in the right direction for Frank.|
Will Bynum, other Pistons reserves are going to inject some heart into this team if it takes all night
Will Bynum crouched down, having just missed what could have been the game-winning layup late in the first overtime. The point guard had put the Pistons on his back during a 22-point fourth-quarter comeback, in which he fittingly scored or assisted on 22 Detroit points. But that wasn’t enough for Bynum, who was demonstratively dejected after his miss. Then, he did something that, by now, everyone should know he’d do.
He bounced back up.
Bynum – and Rodney Stuckey and Andre Drummond and Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva – kept coming and coming at the Hawks before finally succumbing in the second overtime. Despite their 126-119 loss, this was one of the most enjoyable Pistons games of the season.
Bynum, Drummond, Daye and Villanueva played the entire fourth quarter and both overtimes together. Stuckey would have been out there the entire time if not for twisting his ankle with one second left in regulation, but he somehow returned a couple minutes after what appeared to be a nasty injury and played the rest of the way.
Of course there were mistakes all over the court. Those five players have very well-known deficiencies, and many showed. But none of that mattered, because all five of those players showed so much heart. Others (though not many) have played better, but I haven’t been more pleased with any Pistons than I was with those five tonight.
Bynum, Stuckey, Drummond, Daye and Villanueva each set their season high in minutes, and playing such a long stretch will likely prove more costly to their bodies than had that playing time been more evenly distributed throughout the game. The Pistons host the Heat in two days, and the starters owe it to those reserves to play hard for long stretches.
Bynum, Stuckey, Drummond, Daye and Villanueva didn’t earn a win, but they earned that much.
|Jason Maxiell, PF 22 MIN | 0-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | -16
In the 18:25 Maxiell and Josh Smith both played power forward tonight, Smith scored 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 25 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -21
Prince’s sprained ankle didn’t really seem to bother him, and he played a solid game. He missed both his shots when he started overtime with Stuckey out injured, but considering Prince sat so long and Frank probably didn’t intend to bring him back, it’s tough to blame Prince for being a little tight in that situation.
|Kyle Singler, SF 14 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -11
The Singler-as-a-shooting guard experiment may have run its course. When the the early returns proved impressive, I wondered how Singler was doing so well at a position that seemed to be a less-than-ideal fit. Perhaps, he benefited from a small sample. In his last 12 games, Singler is shooting 33 percent from the field and 22 percent on 3-pointers. Plus, his foot-speed continues to be an issue on the perimeter defensively.
|Greg Monroe, C 26 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -21
Coolest Monroe moment (and second-coolest Daye moment) of the night: After Daye made the 3-pointer that put the Pistons up one with three seconds left in regulation, Monroe literally floored Daye with a chest bump. I wish he would’ve hit Smith that hard at some point. Monroe wasn’t responsible for Smith shaking his man so often, but Monroe’s help-side rotations lacked aggressiveness.
|Brandon Knight, PG 23 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -13
Knight shot poorly and didn’t take care of the ball (four turnovers). He looked incapable of handling point-guard duties, and that’s why, for most of the game, he didn’t.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 32 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +16
Villanueva’s 3-point shooting really gave the Pistons a lift, as did his physical defense. He was wasn’t afraid to put a body on Smith and Al Horford, and although that resulted in some fouls, it was sure better than how the Pistons defended those two earlier in the game.
|Austin Daye, PF 32 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +17
Late in the fourth quarter, I tweeted that Daye had mostly just been along for the ride of the comeback fueled by his floormates. A few second later, he made what was nearly the game-winning 3-pointer. Daye’s defense – especially against Smith at small forward – was unimpressive in regulation, but after his big shot, he really got into it.
|Andre Drummond, C 36 MIN | 7-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | +7
At times, Lawrence Frank was clearly dismayed with Drummond’s defensive coverage, but the coach stuck with Drummond down the stretch, anyway. More than Frank playing the other four reserves so long, this was particularly meaningful. Drummond was far from perfect defensively, but the good outweighed the bad. Offensively, his athleticism presents opportunities for high-percentage shots that aren’t available to other players. His ability to catch passes cleanly and elevate quickly for dunks especially stood out tonight.
|Will Bynum, PG 36 MIN | 13-26 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 31 PTS | +6
3-pointers made in 277 minutes entering tonight: 3.
3-pointers made in 36 minutes tonight: 4.
I don’t know quite what to make of Bynum’s game tonight. It was a bit fluky, but man, was it great. Not only did he shoot well from outside, his burst to the basket created plenty of layups (including a couple good looks he missed). In the fourth quarter, he didn’t hesitated to drive and kick. Late in the game, he probably could have looked for his teammates a bit more, but he was still creating good looks for himself. Bynum plays how he plays, and once he carried the Pistons into overtime, they were justified in riding out the ups and downs for the rest of the night.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 44 MIN | 7-19 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 11 AST | 16 PTS | +1
Stuckey is tough as nails. Saturday, he played through plenty of contact a day after getting his teeth knocked in. Tonight, he returned from a serious-looking ankle injury to close the game. And once again, he proved himself to be the Pistons’ best distributor.
|Lawrence Frank, HEAD COACH
Frank rightly stuck with the reserves who brought the Pistons back into the game. That’s not always the right move, but tonight it was. Frank has often said playing time is based on merit, and tonight he backed that statement in full.