In a hurricane of a game, the Lakers improved to 5-1 in their last 6 games. The game featured the Pistons missing two opportunities in the last 3 seconds, Steve Nash somehow missing 2 free throws at the end, and a Metta World Peace punch. The debate of whether or not Drummond was fouled should be interesting for the rest of the day. I’m not one to take sides in these kinds of issues, so don’t ask me. I am the kind of person to say, “no matter how long you argue this the Pistons still lost.” It was good to see the Pistons have some defensive life in the second half. The Lakers were shooting 57% at half and were on pace for 122 points. The defensive rotations of the Pistons were not sublime early, and the Lakers were attacking the open area’s on the floor. My guess is Lawrence Frank got in their ears at half because the defense was much improved. The Pistons gave a huge comeback effort, only to come inches of taking the lead on the Will Bynum layup. Then it seemed divine intervention, when Steve Nash missed both free throws on his trip (something that has only happened 9 times since 2001-02). Alas, Drummond couldn’t put down the alley-oop to end the game. Tough loss, especially since the Celtics won to widen the 8 seed gap.
Let’s get into the grades, we all have the Super Bowl to watch.
Greg Monroe: Pau Gasol tore up Monroe’s inside defense in the first three quarters. This was a huge factor in pacing the Lakers for most of the game. Offensively Monroe was solid, putting up 20 points on 14 shots. Monroe also cleaned up the glass, leading the team with 12 rebounds. Much like the rest of the team, Monroe was much better as the game went on. His game would be ranked better if he didn’t have 4 turnovers and had given up so many buckets in the paint. Player Grade: B-
Andre Drummond: Like most of the team, Drummond’s first half minutes weren’t all that great. He missed all 4 of his first half attempts, which is very uncharacteristic for the Big Penguin. Then the second half Drummond did this and that. He added some great defense on Gasol in the 4th, who had been putting together a great game. The last second alley-oop hurt, but you could argue Bynum should have given him the ball the play before. Overall Drummond was a positive, and I hope to find that Steve Blake shot he spiked in the 2nd half. Player Grade: B
Brandon Knight: Knight started the game teetering on the line of reckless and out of control. He got into the scuffle with World Peace and it made things even worse for Knight. Knight scored 10 points on 13 shots, and had 3 turnovers. Come on Calderon, get the visa issues cleared up so we can feature more stable point guard play. Player Grade: D+
Kyle Singler: Singler was not your typical Detroit player today. He started off as one of the few positives, then started to play pretty bad. Instead of cutting his losses in the second half, Singler kept shooting and missing. Hard to blame him, as he has been rolling lately. Hopefully that second half doesn’t stick to his future play. Player Grade: C-
Will Bynum: Will was electric off the bench. He didn’t have the most scoring efficient game, but that doesn’t speak about his impact to get himself and teammates going. It was hard to see that last shot come back out. Player Grade: B+
Rodney Stuckey: Stuckey looked like he was going to attack the rim today, then he imploded on the technical foul. The technical took him completely out of the first half, and then he was mentally out of the game when he came back in. If he could do everything before the technical foul, that would be great. Player Grade: D-
Jason Maxiell: Other than the few mid range jumper that were ugly, Maxiell was good throughout the game. His energy was one of the few bearable things in the first half. He could have gotten out on Earl Clark’s early threes, but Maxiell unfortunately was still probably the best Pistons player early. Player Grade: B
Charlie Villanueva: Charlie was up and down, but the 2 fourth quarter threes were huge. It is hard to deny he is a decent part of the rotation. Player Grade: C+
Jonas Jerekbo: Jonas got non-garbage time minutes and played pretty solid in them. He’s better than some other guys on the team. Play him Lawrence Frank. Play him. Player Grade: B
Kim English: English played 8 minutes and pretty much just got fouls. He’s not getting a reasonable grade. Player Grade: A+
Jose Calderon’s Suit: Replacing the Lawrence Frank grade until Jose plays. Calderon pulled out a fantastic suit Friday. Today was good, but not as nice as Friday. Player Grade: A-
Los Angeles Lakers: Not a fan of the World Peace punch, but the Lakers won the game. The haven’t been good in the 4th quarter lately, but the Lakers won the game. Steve Nash almost looked like a Suns sent saboteur, but the Lakers won the game. Player Grade: C+