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Pistons shut down Trey Burke, but not doubts about their own draft planning

Detroit Pistons 114 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Utah Jazz
Greg Monroe, PF 30 MIN | 9-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | -1

Monroe finished well inside, confidently took jumpers (making 3-of-5 shots from mid-range) and rebounded like he should. He even defended Derrick Favors (1-for-5) well in the halfcourt

Josh Smith, SF 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +6

In the first few minutes, Smith made a 3-pointer and then airballed twice. (At least I think he did. It’s possible the second shot grazed rim). It seemed we were headed toward another game of Smith throwing everything toward the basket. Weeeeee. Instead, he settled down and played mostly within himself. He even made half his free throws. The Pistons are paying Smith to noticeably and positively impact games, but with him, the quietly decent games sometimes beat the alternatives.

Kyle Singler, SF 28 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | +1

Singler was pedestrian offensively and a notch below that on the other end, where Gordon Hayward (32 points and six assists) had some success against him.

Andre Drummond, C 34 MIN | 9-10 FG | 1-3 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +12

Drummond was an absolute beast finishing inside and on the glass. But, defensively, he too often ceded interior position to Enes Kanter (14 points and eight rebounds). Drummond must become a more-physical man-to-man defender.

Brandon Jennings, PG 30 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -1

Jennings successfully got the Pistons into transition and semi-transition and was competent enough in the half court. He deftly balanced when to score and when to pass. His defensive shortcomings didn’t really cost the Pistons tonight. As Greg Kelser said during the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast, the Pistons prepared specially to defend Trey Burke. And it worked. Burke shot 6-of-15 with just two assists and two turnovers. I don’t know how many rookies receive that type of attention, but count Burke among them. That he struggled against a gameplan created to stop him shows, for all the promise he’s displayed this season, he must improve to become one of the NBA’s better starting point guards.

Jonas Jerebko, PF 24 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +18

If Jerebko maintains this resurgence, would he consider opting out of his contract next season? Considering he’s owed $4.5 million, I doubt it, but it would at least require a moment of thought.

Tony Mitchell, PF 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +4

He didn’t put himself in position to do anything but make free throws, but at least he did that perfectly.

Luigi Datome, SF 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +4

Nice tip-in.

Peyton Siva, PG 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +4

Siva drove by Burke – where have I seen that matchup before? – to set up a short Mitchell shot. He also lost Burke on the other end, allowing the former Michigan point guard to make a jumper.

Will Bynum, PG 17 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +17

Bynum came in focused on setting up his teammates, and he did a superb job of it. Only five other reserves – D.J. Augustin, Eric Bledsoe, Cory Joseph, Phil Pressey and John Salmons – have had a game this season with so many assists and no turnovers.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 16 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +19

Caldwell-Pope might have given up something with his positional defense by spending so much energy on the other end, but he made up for it. One, he scored well. Two, he hawked the ball, getting a couple nice steals.

Rodney Stuckey, SG 27 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +17

Stuckey had a big fourth quarter, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the final period. Yes, the Pistons led by between 12 and 22 points the entire quarter. Why do you ask?

John Loyer

One key tanking strategy is not altering your gameplan by opponent. If you run into a bad matchup, you stick with what you do and suffer the consequences. Loyer screwed that up by successfully implementing a plan to contain Burke. It’s as if Loyer doesn’t care whether a team that will surely let him go in a few weeks gets a better draft pick for the next coach! But I care. The Pistons are just a half game “ahead of” the Cavaliers for the No. 8 seed in the lottery, a margin for error tonight’s game shrunk. Loyer probably isn’t on board with tanking – and I don’t blame him – but as the face of the organization in these game reviews, his grade gets dinged for not steering the franchise where it should go – i.e., getting a top-eight first-round pick and avoiding sending it to the Bobcats.

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Tags: Andre Drummond Brandon Jennings Derrick Favors Enes Kanter Greg Monroe John Loyer Jonas Jerebko Josh Smith Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Kyle Singler Rodney Stuckey THN-UTA Trey Burke Utah Jazz Will Bynum

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