Maurice Cheeks foolishly changes starting lineup then bickers with Will Bynum during blowout loss to Magic

Detroit Pistons 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
112 Orlando Magic
Greg Monroe , PF 31 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -11Monroe looked particularly lethargic early – calmly missing close shots, carelessly turning the ball over and lazily defending the post. He got it together later to salvage a decent enough line, but his overall performance was pretty sour.
Josh Smith, SF 41 MIN | 11-19 FG | 3-9 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | -13Smith was mostly a bystander as the Pistons fell behind double digits in the first half. He played very hard in the second half, mostly independent of his teammates. But by then, it was too late for his quality play to make much difference.
Kyle Singler, SF 32 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -22Singler was helpful offensively, making 3-of-4 3-pointers. And as hoped, his length both persuaded Arron Afflalo (5-for-14) not to post up and contest Afflalo’s jumpers. As feared, though, Singler was too slow to cover the shooting guard. Afflalo got space to set up his teammates, collecting seven assists. With the Pistons rotations strained as a result, the Magic all moved the ball well, dishing 29 assists. That’s much more Maurice Cheeks’ fault than Singler’s, though. Singler handled a difficult assignment the best he could.
Andre Drummond, C 39 MIN | 6-10 FG | 3-5 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -12Drummond was particularly aggressive on the glass early, really snatching rebounds regardless of who else was in his vicinity. Considering Drummond already leads the NBA in rebounding percentage (minimum: 400 minutes), that’s saying a lot. By the third quarter, Drummond was reduced to shaking his head while Cheeks talked during a timeout. This team will do that to you.
Brandon Jennings, PG 43 MIN | 5-23 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -16Dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, shoot. Repeat. Mix in a few passes. Dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, shoot. Repeat. Jennings’ nearly had as many shots blocked by Kyle O’Quinn (four) as the point guard made (five).
Jonas Jerebko, PF 9 MIN | 1-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +3Jerebko got his turn in the rotation, and he didn’t do much – positive or negative – in his meaningful minutes.
Luigi Datome, SF 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +6Datome played the final 1:43 and made an uneventful 12-footer.
Will Bynum, PG 3 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -4Bynum had a rough few minutes to open the second quarter, and Cheeks benched him. That’s where Bynum’s night really got interesting. Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

Will Bynum and Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks began jawing at each other on the Pistons’ bench at the 8:52 mark. Bynum, not usually the mouthy type, hadn’t had a good run to start the quarter, and Cheeks called a timeout to remove him for Josh Smith, as the score was just 32-28. The two obviously didn’t see eye to eye on things, and it took Chauncey Billups and Smith to calm Bynum down as the timeout wound, but the faraway look on Bynum’s face told it all — and he didn’t hear Cheeks call his name for the rest of the night.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 13 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +7As a starter or reserve, Caldwell-Pope has been prone to deferring. I know he got in the game. I saw him on the court once and everything. But I was shocked to see he played 13 minutes. It seemed like much fewer.
Rodney Stuckey, SG 27 MIN | 6-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -8Stuckey showed up and got his points. That was about it.

Maurice Cheeks
Cheeks made his big move before the game began, starting Singler over Caldwell-Pope at shooting guard. Predictably, it didn’t work. Whatever advantage he had in a one-on-one matchup with Afflalo, Singler harmed the team defense more. He’s just too slow to guard the shooting guard position. That’s a critical problem when the Pistons also start Smith, Monroe and Drummond – a big frontline with its own foot speed issues. The foursome just can’t cover enough ground defensive. When Singler played shooting guard with the big three tonight, the Pistons’ defensive rating was 125.5. For the season, the Magic have an offensive rating of 98.6 – 25th in the NBA. The Pistons turned one of the league’s worst offense isn’t a juggernaut.

Alternate grade: A+ (if you want the Pistons to tank)

Tags: Andre Drummond Arron Afflalo Brandon Jennings Greg Monroe Jonas Jerebko Josh Smith Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Kyle Singler Luigi Datome Maurice Cheeks Orlando Magic Rodney Stuckey THN-ORL Will Bynum