Josh Smith infuriates and then infuriates all over again

Milwaukee Bucks 111 Final
Recap | Box Score
116 Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe, PF Shot Chart 40 MIN | 12-21 FG | 4-6 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 28 PTS | +19

Like the loss to the 76ers on Saturday, Monroe began the game with good effort. Unlike Saturday, it didn’t wane. Players have more control over their attitude than they’re sometimes given credit for. To whatever degree the Pistons are tanking or losing unintentionally, players can choose not to be infected by the losing. Monroe played hard, showing his pride couldn’t be overcome by the problems around him.

Josh Smith, SF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 11-19 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 26 PTS | -1

Smith played terribly for the game’s first 42.5 minutes. He shot 1-for-6 outside the paint and defended even worse. Cutters easily surged by an idle, ball-watching Smith for easy shots at the basket. At one point, Smith found himself in position to defend Jeff Adrien inside. Rather than contest the shot, Smith just jumped on Adrien’s back. Easier to watch Adrien shoot free throws than sustain defensive energy for even two seconds. Smith didn’t grab a single rebound in the first 42.5 minutes, either. He looked like he had given up on the season, not to mention this game. Then, suddenly, he didn’t. With the Pistons down six with 5.5 minutes remaining, Smith took over. He shot 6-for-7, including 2-of-3 on 3-pointers, down the stretch with his 15 points in that span leading the Pistons to victory. He even grabbed a rebound.

Kyle Singler, SF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +2

The Pistons’ point guards did a good job looking for Singler spotting up behind the arc, where he shot 2-of-5. Singler also helped himself by crashing the offensive glass.

Andre Drummond, C Shot Chart 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 16 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +23

Drummond played well while he was on the court, but he must avoid careless fouls. When the Pistons care more about winning next season, they’ll need their best player on the court.

Brandon Jennings, PG Shot Chart 38 MIN | 7-17 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 13 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +6

Jennings does an excellent job of getting the Pistons into transition and semi-transition, and then he does a good job of making plays in that format. I can only imagine how much more brutal the Pistons’ offense would be if they played in a slower halfcourt system. Even a point guard more adept at running an offense would struggle to make a team with so little floor spacing work in the halfcourt. He does just enough so you can’t say the Pistons would be better with Brandon Knight (25 points on 7-of-21 shooting, nine rebounds, seven assists and zero turnovers). For now.

Jonas Jerebko, PF Shot Chart 11 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -3

Jerebko was mixed bag defensively – fouling because he didn’t move his feet quickly enough and rebounding because he did – but his offense was counterproductive.

Charlie Villanueva, PF Shot Chart 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -11

Sometimes stats like this can be misleading, but I assure you this one accurately reflects what happened on the floor. With Villanueva in the game, the Pistons grabbed as many rebounds as they allowed dunks (four).

Will Bynum, PG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 3-6 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -1

Bynum’s assist total is not as impressive as it seems. Passing to Smith and hoping he makes a jumper is not a dependable way to facilitate the offenses, but it worked tonight. Bynum also received a couple questionable assists, getting credit after passing once to Stuckey and once to Monroe and then watching them drive for a basket.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Shot Chart 13 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -12

After shooting 1-for-4 in the first half, Caldwell-Pope disappeared in the second half. His confidence seems to have regressed. His defense was not good, either.

Rodney Stuckey, SG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-1 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +3

Stuckey got to the basket early, making a couple short shots. Then, he settled for jumpers.

John Loyer

For most of the game, many Pistons looked like they’d quit. But because the Bucks are so bad, Detroit was still within striking distance late. At that point, it’s not hard to summon the energy needed to win down the stretch, which the Pistons did. What was Loyer supposed to do? He put Smith back in the game, which seemed as likely as any move to get the loss. It just didn’t work.

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Tags: Andre Drummond Brandon Jennings Charlie Villanueva Greg Monroe John Loyer Jonas Jerebko Josh Smith Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Kyle Singler Milwaukee Bucks Rodney Stuckey THN-MIL Will Bynum

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