Pistons throttle Bucks, inch closer to .500

Milwaukee Bucks 94 FinalRecap | Box Score 113 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF 32 MIN | 5-10 FG | 6-8 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +21Ho-hum night for Monroe, who just kind of did his job. He’s finding is spots, and he’s becoming more comfortable with the big lineup. His defense hasn’t been terrible the last two games, either. Underrated Note: if you take out that stinker in Los Angeles, Monroe is shooting 73 percent from the free throw line, his best since his sophomore season.
Josh Smith, SF 35 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-3 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +32Smith did the little things tonight, and that’s what you like to see. When the Pistons actually playing defense and forcing turnovers, it doesn’t pigeon hole him into chasing opposing small forwards all over. The more the Pistons force turnovers and get out on the break, the less he’ll be hypnotized into shooting long jumpers, too.
Andre Drummond, C 25 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +13The role that Drummond plays for this team isn’t a breathtaking one, but he somehow finds a way to make it look that way. It wasn’t his strongest game tonight, but when your teammates aren’t missing shots for you to gobble up and put back, that’s probably an alright problem to have.
Brandon Jennings, PG 36 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 13 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 15 PTS | +15Jennings at halftime: “I think we’re up 30 right now so we’re going to try to push it up to 60.” That pretty much says everything about where his head was at tonight. He’s steadily improved on his propensity to shoot everything that’s open, and he’s actively looking for guys off screens; that’s exactly what he needs to do. His 3-point barrage in the first quarter set the tone for tonight’s bloodbath. He won the battle of the Brandons with former Piston, Brandon Knight — if you were interested.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 36 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | 0Caldwell-Pope’s made the progression from skittish to aggressive and it finally showed when his jumper dropped. He’s just looking so much more comfortable on the floor these days. The shot is going to fall more as the year goes on, and as long as the effort is there, he’ll be on the floor.
Tony Mitchell, PF 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | 0Nice dunk, rook.
Josh Harrellson, PF 9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -10There’s a value to having Harrellson on the floor. He’s a space-eating rebounder, that’s nice to have. It’s also nice that he can make an open 3-pointer, but that should be more of an “oh crap, shot clock’s running down” shot, not an, “oh crap, Josh’s open” shot.
Jonas Jerebko, PF 5 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +1Jerebko had some nice clean-up baskets, and he brought energy. He’s probably next in line to get some legitimate minutes after this Productive Charlie Villanueva stretch fades.
Charlie Villanueva, PF 13 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -4Speak of the devil. Is it possible Villanueva noticed how hard Stuckey is playing and realized, “Hey, if I want to get paid, I’ve got to be like that!” It’s worth mentioning that he Villanueva’d his way to five shots (four makes) in just six first-half minutes. When it rains, it pours.
Luigi Datome, SF 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Datome didn’t contribute a whole lot, and until he works out that, “Can’t defend anything that moves” problem, he’s probably going to be stuck to the bench.
Kyle Singler, SF 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +14After a quick stint in the first quarter, we never saw Singler again. MLive’s David Mayo reports Singler had a reaction to the contact lenses he usually wears during games and was prohibited from wearing them for a week. So, the eye discomfort kept him limited tonight.
Will Bynum, PG 13 MIN | 1-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | +1In Bynum’s defense, this was his first game since Nov. 15, but he really wasn’t great tonight. Didn’t have his shot, did have a nice alley-oop to Drummond, but otherwise it was a pretty forgettable night.
Rodney Stuckey, SG 30 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +12I vote that we just start calling him Rodney “#PayMe” Stuckey for the rest of his time in Detroit. Admittedly, it’s hard to fully buy into this productive, consistent version of Stuckey, but what are the chances he’s really putting it together for at least a year? Either way, Stuckey playing well is beneficial for both the Pistons and himself.
Maurice Cheeks
Perhaps Cheeks finally sat down and watched the tape of the Pistons best defensive quarters of the season — the second quarter versus Indiana and the third quarter against Brooklyn. This team had an identity on that side of the ball tonight. It’s worthing noting that Milwaukee is terrible. But, if you’re not going to be able to keep up with teams in the half court, you might as well play extremely aggressive and look to force turnovers as much as possible. The thing about these Pistons is that, while they don’t have the skill to play superb offense or defense in the half court, they do have athleticism and they do have players that are more than willing to get out on the break and get easy baskets. It looks like that’s something Cheeks has hammered into them. Force turnovers, get on the break and you don’t have to worry about spacing issues or ill-timed shots — that’s going to be this team’s winning formula going forward.

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Tags: Andre Drummond Brandon Jennings Charlie Villanueva Greg Monroe Jonas Jerebko Josh Harrellson Josh Smith Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Luigi Datome Maurice Cheeks Rodney Stuckey Tony Mitchell Will Bynum

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