|Jason Maxiell, PF 32 MIN | 6-11 FG | 6-10 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | -7 |
Maxiell was all kind of active tonight. His seven blocks are a career high, and his 18 points are a season high. One word: Cha-ching!
|Tayshaun Prince, SF 32 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | -1 |
Prince has played 34, 34, 37 and 32 minutes in the last five nights. Tonight wasn’t his best, but he still turned in a solid performance. He’s a real professional on the court and hopefully a positive role model for Detroit’s younger players in that regard.
|Kyle Singler, SF 28 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +3 |
Early in the third quarter, Singler air-balled a 3-pointer, missed a layup and nearly air-balled or air-balled another jumper. He was pulled just four minutes into the half. He returned in the fourth quarter and played a bit better, but he appeared gassed while playing his fourth game in five nights.
|Greg Monroe, C 27 MIN | 1-9 FG | 4-6 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS | +1 |
Let’s get the bad – 1-of-9 shooting, five turnovers and five fouls – out of the way. Monroe, to his credit, played hard despite struggling most of the night. He had a few nice passes and three steals and 12 rebounds because he kept working to contribute. That doesn’t excuse a very poor performance overall, but it mitigates it.
|Brandon Knight, PG 38 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 20 PTS | -3 |
Knight was fantastically active offensively tonight. He scored 20 points, and he could have had more if a couple good looks that barely missed had fallen. Knight worked well both with and without the ball to put himself in good scoring position. Five assists and one turnover is a nice line, but Knight had a couple bad passes that were deflected to Pistons – fortunate breaks tonight but a bit concerning. Still, everyone has those from time to time, so they should balance out. Allowing Ty Lawson to continuously drive past him also drops his grade.
|Charlie Villanueva, PF 16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 3 PTS | 0 |
Defense doesn’t come naturally to Villanueva, but he was really trying on that end tonight, and it’s appreciated. The Pistons’ other reserves were -6 or -8 tonight, but Villanueva’s plus-minus was even.
|Corey Maggette, SF 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -6 |
|Andre Drummond, C 21 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -8 |
Andre Miller and JaVale McGee embarrassed Drummond on a couple alley-oops, and it’s clear Drummond must improve his defensive awareness. That said, he’s still remarkably effective. If he can get 11 rebounds, two steals and a block in 21 minutes tonight, imagine what he’ll do once he learns how to play.
|Will Bynum, PG 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -6 |
Bynum did nothing of note, but I just wanted to point out that he played for the first time in the last eight games. Maybe the Pistons’ guard just needed an extra couple minutes of rest, or maybe this is a sign that Bynum is on the verge of returning to the rotation.
|Rodney Stuckey, PG 28 MIN | 5-12 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | -8 |
Stuckey – with five turnovers and six fouls – was a bit out of control tonight, but he scored all 17 of his points in the second half, when the Pistons struggled a bit. If Stuckey played this way for most teams, I’d call for the team to funnel its shots to more efficient players. I’m not sure the Pistons have such players, though.
|Lawrence Frank, HEAD COACH |
The Pistons built an big lead early based on their transition and semi-transition offense, but it’s not as simple as saying the Pistons should run more. They ran early because they played strong defense, and that led to open-court opportunities. As the defense faltered as the game continued, the offense slowed – and suffered – with it. That’s not exactly Frank’s fault, at least not directly. However, he did one thing that really bothered me. The Pistons trailed by eight with 45 seconds left and were very likely to lose no matter what strategy they took. But not fouling was a terrible decision. It was worsened when the Nuggets ran the shot clock down and made a basket, but if the Pistons had any chance of winning, they should have fouled immediately.
Most Valuable Player
Ty Lawson had 26 points, and when he scores in that range, it’s often due to hot 3-point shooting. But he shot just 1-of-2 on 3-pointers tonight and instead drove to the lane at will. As Detroit’s defense helplessly collapsed on him, Lawson also picked up seven assists and no turnovers.
Because you can’t have one without the other, Andre Miller’s alleys and JaVale McGee’s oops. The Pistons took an early 21-4 lead, but Miller had six assists in his first 15 minutes, the last three of which were to McGee. Together, they put the Nuggets’ offense on track.
The Nuggets led by just four with two minutes left when Danilo Gallinari received a ball screen. Jason Maxiell switched off Gallinari and Brandon Knight hedged for a moment, but Knight fell for a fake pass and left Gallinari wide open. Gallinari made the wide open 3-pointer, giving the Nuggets a 96-89 lead and plenty of cushion.