Caldwell-Pope's career-night not enough in season-ending loss at Thunder

Detroit Pistons 111 FinalRecap | Box Score 112 Oklahoma City Thunder
Greg Monroe, PF 38 MIN | 9-19 FG | 4-9 FT | 8 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 22 PTS | -7The shooting percentage wasn’t pretty, but the rest of Monroe’s game screamed PAY ME tonight. He’s at his best when the offense is run through him, and from the third quarter on he controlled the game. The Pistons really had no point guard tonight, and Monroe showed how capable a playmaker he can be when he’s not suffocated in the paint by opposing defenses. It’s weird to think that this could be his last game in a Pistons uniform.
Kyle Singler, SF 38 MIN | 6-9 FG | 6-6 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | -7The good? Singler scored 20 points on just nine attempts.
The bad? Kevin Durant treated him like a folding chair in the fourth quarter.Singler has solidified the fact that he can be a very valuable role player off the bench with his play this season. He’s just so overwhelmed defensively as a big-minute starter.
Andre Drummond, C 28 MIN | 9-16 FG | 4-8 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | +9Detroit’s lead really didn’t start to dwindle until Drummond fouled out midway through the fourth quarter. Drummond was active all night with his usual array of put-backs and hustle plays. He opened the game with a few nice hook shots, too. If he can come back next season with one — that’s it — post move, watch out.
Brandon Jennings, PG 34 MIN | 2-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 8 TO | 6 PTS | -1The best point guard on the roster tonight was Peyton Siva, and it wasn’t close. Jennings’ hailmary shot at the buzzer may have been thisclose to dropping, but he played a completely discombobulated game otherwise. The seven assists is nice, but the eight turnovers and 2-for-9 shooting were not.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 44 MIN | 11-19 FG | 3-5 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 30 PTS | +6Meet Kentavious Confidence-Pope. Tonight’s effort was easily the best game of Caldwell-Pope’s rookie year. You know how he’s usually timid and indecisive? He knew exactly what he wanted tonight, and looked confident on offense and defense where he gave Russell Westbrook fits. I can’t give him an A+ because he kind of forced that late Monroe turnover by not committing to his cut, but this was absolutely the best way for the rookie to enter his first offseason as a pro.
Tony Mitchell, PF 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +4Mitchell and the other young players got a taste of first-half action tonight, but Mitchell looked a bit scrambled in his six minutes of work. He grabbed a board and moved his feet on defense, but offensively it seemed like he was just floating and setting random screens.
Jonas Jerebko, PF 25 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -5I have no idea why Jerebko would be dribbling the ball in the final seconds of a one-point game, but alas, he was dribbling and losing the ball late tonight. Jerebko may have his limitations, but he usually provides energy when he’s on the floor — it’s just he also still tries to do too much at times.
Luigi Datome, SF 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +3When Datome hits the floor, chances are he’s hoisting a shot soon after he touches it. He didn’t shoot well tonight, but his effort was admirable and he crashed the boards very well. I’m really rooting for him to find his jumper and be a factor next season.
Peyton Siva, PG 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -7Remember how I said Siva played a better game than Jennings tonight? He did, but it wasn’t by much. Siva is a caretaker when he’s on the floor. He’s not going to create a ton of easy looks, and he’ll occasionally make a shot, but he’s just kind of a guy who can bring the ball up court well. If he had a consistent 3-point shot… well, let’s talk when that’s a thing.
John Loyer
This is how Loyer should have been coaching games all month long. Give the young guys a chance when the game is in the balance? Check. Try to get Caldwell-Pope engaged by running plays for him and seeing what he’s capable of? Check. Play Monroe and Drummond together? Check. I know Loyer has been coaching to win — which makes perfect sense for an interim coach aspiring to eventually become full time head coach — but even through all the tanking and all the losing, this was a loss that actually hurt. It would have been great to play spoilers and bump the Thunder down to the No. 3 seed out West. It’d be fun to do so despite a huge night from Durant. It’d be fun to beat a title contender to end the year. But, instead, the team choked away a fourth-quarter lead and ended the season in the most 2013-14 Pistons way possible.Good riddance.

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Tags: Andre Drummond Brandon Jennings Greg Monroe John Loyer Jonas Jerebko Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Kyle Singler Luigi Datome Peyton Siva Tony Mitchell

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