Pistons' fourth-quarter futility continues in loss in Dallas to Mavericks

Detroit Pistons 106 FinalRecap | Box Score 116 Dallas Mavericks
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 29 MIN | 9-13 FG | 2-4 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | -1Considering the fourth-quarter struggles that have followed the Pistons in recent weeks, months, well, all year, Monroe has gotten stuck in it as well. After being benched in the fourth quarter of the loss in Milwaukee, Monroe played seven minutes in the fourth tonight. He defended admirably, scored seven points (on 3-3 FG), and grabbed two rebounds. He was easily the most productive big man tonight, and he was the only guy with a positive +/- in the final quarter. Monroe went 2-for-2 on rhythm jumpers tonight, which is a good sign.
Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 41 MIN | 10-24 FG | 5-7 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | -9I mean, if you squint your eyes and look at the basic stat line — 25-8-2-2 — it’s pretty impressive. Problem is it took Smith 24 attempts (but only two 3s) to score that 25 points; not so good. His scoring did keep the Pistons afloat early, though. He’s been farrr worse than he was tonight, but his defense wasn’t fun against Dirk Nowitzki, either. Then again, so was everyone else’s, so.
Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -12This was probably the worst game Drummond has played in awhile. He wasn’t really active as a cutter/roller like he normally is, and it felt like he just floated around. He looked attentive, but not as much as normal. His defense wasn’t particularly good. Perhaps most surprising was how Samuel Dalembert, Dirk and Marion kept him off the boards. He also got himself benched twice, but we’ll get to that in Cheeks’ section.
Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 38 MIN | 10-18 FG | 4-8 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 26 PTS | +2Just like Smith, Jennings’ numbers look a heckuva lot better than how he actually played on the court. Jose Calderon scorched him, shooting 7 of 8 from the field, which is a lot of shots for the sometimes shy Calderon. Jennings did score 12 points in the Pistons’ big third quarter, and he’s appeared to have found a rhythm. Still, that shot selection is pretty terrible, and he had six of the Pistons’ 12 turnovers. He looks like he’s playing point guard to accumulate assists, not to run an offense and team.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 30 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -9Unlike other games, Caldwell-Pope made sure people were aware that he was on the court tonight. He did most of his damage in the first half, but he hit a nice 3-pointer in the first quarter, and had four steals, which led to a number of fast breaks where he finished strong with a pair of layups and a dunk. He defended well, too. He forced the ball out of Dirk’s hands at the end of the first quarter, and was big in forcing Monta Ellis into eight turnovers.
Tony Mitchell, PF Shot Chart 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2He grew up in Dallas, so it was cool that Cheeks got him into the game.
Josh Harrellson, PF Shot Chart 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +1He wasn’t good or bad. Harrellson does some things very well — eat up space, make open 3-pointers among them — but he’s a very limited player. Being able to match up with guys like DaJuan Blair tonight give him a chance defensively, but against more athletic guys he doesn’t stand a chance on defense.
Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -13Someone has obviously told Singler to start shooting more. He took 11 shots tonight, and has taken 10 and seven in recent games. It’s not a bad thing for him to look for his shot, but in the Pistons early-fourth collapse, he was involved in three of the first five plays:Singler, miss
Singler, blocked
Singler, charge

Yikes.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 31 MIN | 3-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -11Stuckey shot poorly, but I think he was pretty good once the Pistons regained consciousness in the fourth quarter. He got to the line when he wanted, he did other things like rebound and facilitate. His defense wasn’t horrible, either. Also still appears wants to get paid (or traded at this point?).
Maurice Cheeks
It’s easy to pile on Cheeks, but he had his guys ready tonight — for three quarters, again. I’m not sure why he’s discussing starting lineup changes. Just pick a group to start the fourth quarter, that’s the problem. I’m not sure if there’s a correlation between Cheeks’ shorter rotations and playing good teams, but he only went eight-deep tonight, and Stuckey was your backup point tonight. As for the Drummond thing, Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News tweeted: Cheeks on pulling Drummond: “Just about a play. He went right back in. It’s a learning experience to do what we do coming out a timeout.” So, it sounds like Drummond strayed from the play call coming out of the half? He only lasted 11 seconds before being benched. Goodwill also reported that Drummond chose not to speak after the game, so maybe he was frustrated? Who knows, but either way, it appears that Cheeks has given every meaningful Pistons player a mini-benching at some point this season. With how bad they’ve played, I can’t really say it’s a bad decision — especially considering Drummond’s play was so blah before. His second benching came after he was nowhere to be found on an Ellis’ drive followed by a lazy seal and fumbled entry pass. In all, Drummond saw the floor for 3:13 in that third quarter. But, with all of that said, it’s worth noting that after discussing Monroe’s lack of shots recently, Cheeks went to Monroe on the first three possessions of the game, resulting in an easy six points.

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Tags: Andre Drummond Brandon Jennings Greg Monroe Josh Harrellson Josh Smith Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Kyle Singler Maurice Cheeks Rodney Stuckey Tony Mitchell

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