Final Score: Bucks: 117, Pistons: 90
That was ugly. The picture is perfect for the game based on the fact there was a whole lot from Milwuakee, and not so much from Detroit. There was a time it was joyous. The Pistons were up 15, Drummond was putting together an unreal 8 minute sequence, turnovers were not that big of an issue, and letting up second and third chances for Milwaukee wasn’t even in my mind. The Pistons were like a fly in the beginning, furiously flying towards the destination by getting to an early lead. Unfortunately, that destination ended up being a bug zapper with a Bucks logo on it. You know what happens in the movies when the fly is entranced by the bug zapper, just picture that sequence with these teams. The Pistons got zapped, free fell in the air, and their lifeless corpse fell until it quickly hit the ground.
There are 82 games, so I mean this loss wasn’t the end of the world by any means. If the Pistons don’t make the playoffs, I won’t look at the schedule and think this is the reason why. However, I am disappointed because they were off to such a good start. That alone makes me ask why did they have to keep turning it over? The Bucks could be a better team than Detroit, but the Pistons were putting fuel on the already hot fire of the comeback. Ekpe Udoh had 6 of Milwaukee’s 11 offensive rebounds in the 2nd Quarter. The Pistons had 3 turnovers in a short 47 second span in that same 2nd quarter. Then, right when you thought that there was a possible chance to turn around the game in the 2nd half, Brandon Jennings put up 20 points and 4 assists in the 3rd Quarter alone. Once the 3rd was over the game might as well ended.
Drummond was the bright spot, but don’t let the numbers fool you too much. He was exhausted towards the end of the 1st half and his rotations on defense lacked. This has been a seasonal issue with Drummond, but typically you just take the huge amount of good with the less amount of bad. Last night it was extremely prevalent compared to other nights. Hard to believe with the demand to play him more that I would think this, but Lawrence Frank did the right thing when he took him out for Monroe with 5:58 left in the 2nd. He did the wrong thing when he second guessed himself soon after. Drummond’s performance in his second 1st half stint was a huge drop off, getting only 1 rebound and no points. The rest of the team was painfully average or worse.
12 players saw the floor for Detroit, so we have more grades than normal:
Greg Monroe: Monroe had 14 points, was 6-8 from the field, finished with 8 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists. Those numbers are pretty typical for him. He got into foul trouble in the 1st, but that didn’t dictate the loss. In terms of his negative impact, he was the worst Pistons offender in the turnover column with 5. On a night where the team had 20 total, that isn’t going to earn you any favors. In the end Monroe wasn’t the worst Piston to see the floor, but was nothing outstanding. Player Grade: C-
Andre Drummond: Drummond’s numbers look pretty with 18 and 18. The energy on the early dunks were great. Also, the fact he got a missed shot on that early alley-oop when the pass wasn’t that great wasn’t my favorite move in the box score. It was a little frustrating to see a tired Andre try to do much of anything however. Drummond’s negatives were more prevalent when he was fatigued. However, I don’t want to sound like I am being too difficult on him because those first 8 minutes were unbelievably special. Player Grade: A-
Brandon Knight: Most nights I take Knight’s turnovers as just something that is going to happen. He isn’t the best caretaker of the ball by any means. So usually I let it slide. Tonight was different story, as his ball care taking issues hurt the team worse. He had 4, which only put him one behind Monroe. Compared to others Knight’s turnovers seemed to be the team’s deadliest, as sometimes Monta Ellis was picking off his pass when Knight was still behind half court. Brandon Jennings was pretty unstoppable at the defensive end, so Knight’s defensive issues were not a focal point in this one. He was pretty mediocre in getting his 10 points. Player Grade: D+
Tayshaun Prince: Back when Detroit was winning the game, Tayshaun was hitting all kinds of isolation shots. He wasn’t the failing part of the machine, but he was also brought to the ground when the rest of the machine collapsed. What Prince could have done is be a steadying force to start the second half, which is a role he has performed at times this year. He wasn’t a large part of the turnover problem and was a decent player on the defensive glass. Player Grade: C
Kyle Singler: Singler was bad. He uncharacteristically took 11 shots and only hit 4 of them. He turned it over 3 times. I was worried about him guarding Ellis coming into the game. Luckily Ellis couldn’t finish anything. Kyle really wasn’t doing a great job of staying in front of him, and that could have been a bigger detriment to the team. Player Grade: D-
Jason Maxiell: Maxiell wasn’t a load of awful, which is much more that can be said about a lot of players last night. Jason spent a majority of his minutes while the team was rolling, so that could have impacted how he looked. Before thinking Maxiell had a solid night, consider he wasn’t seriously impacting the game that positively. He only has 2, 3, and 3 rebounds in his last 3 games. If Maxiell isn’t rebounding than what is he really doing to impact the team? Player Grade: D+
Will Bynum: Will Bynum has had a pretty good year, so there is that. Last night WAS NOT reflective of the year he has had. Bynum was 1-7 from the field and 0-2 from deep. He had a 1:1 assist to turnover ratio, which is actually better than the team’s 0.9:1 mark. If having a 1:1 assist to turnover ratio from your typically steady backup point guard looks like a positive, it sounds like how you would know it was a rough game as a team. Player Grade: D
Rodney Stuckey: Stuckey wasn’t terrible? This is getting harder and harder to keep saying guys weren’t terrible in order to make it seem like a positive. His drives to the hoop were bad when he wasn’t drawing fouls, but he made a good number of free throws. If the team won and everyone else played well he might have a lower grade. I would have taken him over a lot of other Piston’s player last night though so his grade is sort of by default. Player Grade: D+
Charlie Villanueva: Charlie V had more turnovers than points, shots, or rebounds. He would get the F grade of the night if it wasn’t for the next player. That is all I want to say about this. Player Grade: D-
Austin Daye: He went 0-5 from the field, which definitely didn’t offset his trademark “I’m going to foul because I can’t do much else” defense. I was going to just type jumbled nonsense, but decided I would say something coherent. Player Grade: F
Jonas Jerekbo: Jonas loved him some garbage time last night. Throwing shots all around because he knows he will have to wait until the next blowout. Hopefully next time we see Jonas it is because the Pistons are up 20, instead of during a 27 point loss. Player Grade: Does It Matter?
Kim English: Kim English played some garbage time also. He shot 1-1 for 100%. He is also known as a great guy, and is a really intelligent basketball mind. Since he only played when the game didn’t matter, I am not going to give a complete basketball analyst grade for this one. Follow him on Twitter @Englishcope24, his tweets are awesome. Player Grade: A+++
Lawrence Frank: As I stated earlier, Frank shouldn’t have second guessed himself when he put Drummond back in. Other than that, he didn’t make really any questionable decisions. In this game I don’t really have an idea what coaching moves he could have done to change the outcome. Turnovers were a team issue, not an isolated player. There wasn’t a simple “play Will Bynum over Brandon Knight” fix in this game. Grade: C
Milwaukee Bucks: They started out slow, but after that start it felt like Fear the Deer all over again. Jennings in the third was as on fire as anyone has been in the NBA all season long. Dunleavy was also his typical brand of sneaky good. LARRY SANDERS! and Monta Ellis were disappointing, but that didn’t matter with how out of hand this game was. Grade: A