|Greg Monroe, PF 34 MIN | 10-18 FG | 2-4 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | -4 |
Monroe ran the floor hard and crashed the glass even harder. He’s a skilled player, but high effort like he displayed tonight takes him to the next level. Add a couple nice passes and quiet defense (which is good for him), and Monroe deserves stellar marks.
|Josh Smith, SF 35 MIN | 3-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +1 |
Smith did a good job getting inside, taking eight shots in the paint. He had poor results on them tonight, making just 2-of-8, but those are good looks for him. His 1-for-5 shooting outside the paint was mostly due to regular ole poor shot selection. His defense was unimpressive, though it didn’t sink to problematic.
|Andre Drummond, C 39 MIN | 8-11 FG | 6-8 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | -1 |
Drummond is too big. He jumps too high. He’s too strong. His hands are too good. On one play, he caught a pass behind him while barreling through the paint, absorbed a foul and threw the ball toward the hoop. It was a little bit of luck that it went through the rim, but Drummond deserved full credit for giving it a chance. On another play, he reverse tipped in an airball that fell short of the rim. (He actually tried to reverse dunk it.) His conditioning could probably still use some work, as he definitely faded. But Drummond was so good earlier, he all but locked up a good grade. Oh, and his free-throw shooting might have finally turned for the better. Drummond changed his routine at the foul line. Now, he waits several beatt, takes a deep breath, spins the ball in his hands and then shoots without dribbling. Small sample, but it obviously worked tonight.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 35 MIN | 3-14 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +3 |
Jennings looked for his own shot way too often considering how well his teammates were shooting. He had his usual difficulties keep the opposing point guard in front of him, but Jennings gets a small reprieve tonight, because Deron Williams (22 points and nine assists) also gave Caldwell-Pope and Rodney Stuckey issues. It’s tough to slam Jennings too much when not even better defenders had much success.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 19 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -5 |
Twice, Caldwell-Pope launched a 3-pointer and crashed toward the rim right after releasing the shot to try for an offensive rebound. It’s the type of effort many players display only when they think they missed. But both Caldwell-Pope’s shots swished. He’s developed a lot of good habits while working through his poor shooting to start his career. Hopefully, he doesn’t lose those once he gets comfortable in the NBA.
|Josh Harrellson, PF 11 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +18 |
Harrellson was +18 in 11 minutes, and while much that was coincidence, he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. On both ends of the court, Harrellson makes the little plays that help a team function well.
|Kyle Singler, SF 23 MIN | 5-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | -2 |
Singler is a very good cutter, but his jumper is merely an OK secondary weapon. Tonight, Singler deftly focused on cuts and used his jumper only as a threat to open cutting lanes. Unfortunately, his defense was somewhat ineffective.
|Chauncey Billups, SG 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +1 |
Billups was fine, passing well, though he forced a long 3-pointer that missed badly seemingly because he got impatient with such a reduced offensive role. But the Pistons’ nearly blew their 21-point lead, and they had a net rating of -76.8(!) while he was on the court in the fourth quarter. Obviously, that’s far from entirely Billups’ fault, though he applied no defensive pressure on a late Paul Pierce 3-pointer. But Billups is the one who bragged about being capable of solving the Pistons’ fourth-quarter woes. Nope. Not even close. Who would have though role players don’t have that ability?
|Rodney Stuckey, SG 29 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +9 |
Stuckey had the size and speed to take his defender, typically a lighter Brooklyn guard, wherever he wanted. Then, Stuckey had the body control to make his shots. This was a real expert offensive game from him. Stuckey was far from perfect defensively, and multiple players gave him trouble, but his effort was certainly there.
|Maurice Cheeks |
The Pistons’ defensive scheme gives stretch fours way too much room on the perimeter, even accounting for the jumbo frontcourt’s inherent defensive issues. Even two-big lineups have the same problem, because both bigs stay in the lane too resolutely. It’s a fine initial plan, but it doesn’t work in every matchup. Mirza Teletovic exploited the issue with 5-of-6 3-point shooting, and Cheeks never adjusted. It nearly cost Detroit a win.