Brandon Knight again suffers, injuring ankle; hapless Pistons drop sixth straight

Detroit Pistons 90 Final
Recap | Box Score
103 Utah Jazz
Jonas Jerebko, PF 29 MIN | 5-14 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -10

Maybe Jerebko deftly establishes tendencies then breaks them once the opponent overreacts – but I don’t think so. Jerebko has stopped shooting all the time, but he always looks like he’s readying himself to hoist. I hate repeatedly watching Jerebko size up the rim while he holds the ball, even if he’s been been passing more often lately. Jerebko has been a terribly inefficient scorer this season, and I just wish he’d go back to the low-usage, highly awesome Jerebko we knew and loved. However, Jerebko, who started for an injured Jason Maxiell, might be a slightly reduced role from going the other direction.

Greg Monroe, C 41 MIN | 7-15 FG | 1-1 FT | 13 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | -2

Monroe played fine, maybe even well. But his production didn’t stand up to his comments Sunday, when he called out his teammates for lack of effort. But Monroe put in 41 minutes during a game the Jazz led since the first quarter. His teammates who have been mailing it in lately can’t say that, so tonight isn’t the time to challenge Monroe in the locker room.

Jose Calderon, PG 37 MIN | 6-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -2

Calderon watched the Pistons force jumper after jumper before deciding, "Hey, if we’re going just jack up long 2s, a good shooter might as well take them, and I’m the only one here." Calderon shot 6-of-7 outside the paint. His teammates shot 9-of-30 from the same zone. Calderon’s lack of lateral quickness and strength limits him defensively, but at least he was active on that end tonight. Calderon kept buzzing around, using his smarts to be in the right position a little more often than not, and got his hands on a couple steals, two defensive rebounds and even a block.

Brandon Knight, PG 4 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2

Knight might have read his own obituary when DeAndre Jordan dunked on him Sunday, but Knight didn’t succumb until Monday. He sprained his ankle just four minutes in and immediately left the game for good. Knight was already having the toughest week in the NBA, and somehow, it got worse. If you believe in basketball karma, Knight certainly temped his fate by forcing two bad shots early, but I would have thought admirably standing up to the backward norms that are ruining basketball and getting dunked on would have bought him a little more leeway.

Kyle Singler, SG 23 MIN | 1-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -1

Took shots, scored little.

Charlie Villanueva, PF 21 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8

Took more shots, scored less.

Khris Middleton, SF 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -12

Middleton made 4-of-5 3-pointers, pushing his season total to 8-of-21 (38 percent). After so much hype about his form, Middleton has finally passed the line to become an above-average 3-point shooter. Of course, we’re still dealing with way too small a sample, but his production matched the aesthetic tonight. He still looks lost on defense, which is to be expected from someone who has played just 174 NBA minutes.

Viacheslav Kravtsov, C 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8

The Jazz selected Kravtsov to shoot Knight’s free throws when Knight left the game in the first quarter. As Haralabos Voulgaris pointed out, Brian Hill didn’t call timeout to sub out Kravtsov. In Hill’s defense, a Calderon-Singler-Jerebko-Monroe-Kravtsov lineup actually makes a ton of sense – if you’re tanking.

Will Bynum, PG 19 MIN | 4-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -11

I’m grading Bynum more favorably than his standard-box-score numbers suggest he deserves, but Bynum was the Pistons’ main source of scoring when they needed it most. He scored 10 of Detroit’s 18 second-quarter points, shooting 4-for-6 in the period when his teammates shot 2-for-11. Bynum missed his five second-half shots, but the Pistons were stuck in the second quarter and had to call on Bynum to take over. You take that every time and the consequences that come with it.

Rodney Stuckey, PG 35 MIN | 6-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -9

First half: four points and two turnovers in 17 minutes.

Second half: 11 points and no turnovers in 18 minutes.

It’s like Stuckey realized the Jazz were playing lackadaisical enough he could try a little bit and produce, keeping Monroe off his heals for another week. If you’re going to sleepwalk through a season, you have to pick your moments to play hard so it’s not completely obvious.

Brian Hill 

The Pistons miss Lawrence Frank – badly. Their offense devolved into quick jumpers, and it’s clear they’re missing a coach who can implement a gameplan. Brian Hill is in a tough spot, because he’s surely trying to guess what Frank would do and emulate that while doing what he believes is best. I don’t envy Hill’s challenge, but at this very moment, with a full chance to establish his system, Frank is a much better coach than Hill. Although I want to give Hill slack, how hard is it to tell the players to run some sets rather than just taking terrible shots?

Most Valuable Player

Mo Williams scored seven points during a 12-3 fourth-quarter run that iced the game, coming up big for a balanced Jazz team when it was most needed. Williams finished with 20 points and six assists.

That was.. expected

The Pistons have lost 10 straight in Utah, six straight overall and all 12 road games against Western Conference teams this season. So, it wasn’t a surprise the playoff-hunting Jazz pulled away late. It was a surprise the down-and-out Pistons hung around so long.

Tags: Brandon Knight Brian Hill Greg Monroe Jonas Jerebko Jose Calderon Khris Middleton Kyle Singler Lawrence Frank Mo Williams Rodney Stuckey Vyacheslav Kravtsov Will Bynum

comments powered by Disqus