Raptors toy with Pistons, then take away their lunch money.
|Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 33 MIN | 8-14 FG | 4-6 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | 0The pick-and-roll machine! Granted, the Pistons should be renamed the “pylons”, because it’s a far better appropriation of their efforts, but the Lowry and Johnson made them pay repeatedly. Couldn’t do much to slow Monroe in the post.|
|Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | 0We know he can spot up. We know that. That’s why it’s fun to see games like tonight, where the defensive pressure is a little lax, and the stakes are low. Ross showed a bit of creativity on offense, doing a bit of dribble penetration, and a drive here or there. That’s the next step in his development — can he develop a counter for when opponents run him off the line? Solid defense as always.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 25 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | 0The boxscore numbers look pale, but Jonas had one of his best games of the season. He out-worked everyone on the floor fighting for loose boards, and he was instrumental in helping the Raptors win the rebounding battle against one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA. Outplayed Drummond at his own game.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 34 MIN | 6-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | 0Got some extended rest in the fourth quarter, which was nice. His absence was noted, as Vasquez’ wildness was frustrating to watch at times. If there were a Raptors-themed bingo (copyright trademark), the free space would be Kyle Lowry taking a charge.|
|DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 41 MIN | 8-20 FG | 8-9 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 25 PTS | 0Passive in the first half, settling for too many jumper and all that, but turned in on in the second-half. Scored 5 straight points in the fourth to put the game out-of-reach for the Pistons. I’m sorry, but KCP and Kyle Singler(ladies) aren’t going to stop DeMar when he drives.|
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 12 MIN | 0-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 1 PTS | 0Paired up with Chuck Hayes to form the most congested lane since every street in the Greater Toronto Area today (we got hit with 20 cm of snowfall). Didn’t do much in the way of defense, or offense, or basketball.|
|Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart 18 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0Why doesn’t he go by Charles? He looks like Barkley. See Hansbrough’s blurb.|
|John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 19 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | 0The Raptors had a day to rest between games, and it did Salmons wonders. His line-drive shots jumpers inched over the rim and his defense was solid. We need this guy come the playoffs, which terrifies me.|
|Steve Novak, SF Shot Chart 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | 0Casey knew better to play Novak extended minutes in the front-court against Detroit’s rebounding beasts. Sunk a three. All that good stuff.|
|Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 19 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | 0It’s the same story everytime with him. He’s still taking shots outside of the rhythm of the game, but it’s improving. He just had a game wherein his shots didn’t fall for him. No biggie.|
|Nando de Colo, PG Shot Chart 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0He played|
Questionable rotations for tonight, but I think he was just trying to get his starters some rest for the impending playoffs. Understood that the Pistons couldn’t handle screens, so he ran a play involving multiple screens after every timeout. He wasn’t exactly playing chess against Gary Kasparov, but he still won the match.
Five Things We Saw
- The Pistons have no answers for one of basketball’s simplest actions — screens. Running a pick-and-roll on them is akin to pulling a stick from the bottom of the jenga stack. The main culprits were Brandon Jennings and Greg Monroe, who seemed to switch up their defense scheme on a whim without telling one another. Lowry and Johnson made them look downright silly at times.
- The Hayes-Hansbrough front-line doesn’t work without at least two good playmakers on the court who can shoot. They clog the paint like no other, and if they both crash for offensive rebounds, Hayes is going to be too slow to recover in transition. Obviously this is just a temporary arrangement while Patterson is out (no more 2Pat. He hates the nickname, apparently). Novak playing for stretches alongside Hansbrough against small-ball lineups makes some sense. Possibility of staggering Amir and Jonas’ minutes also exists.
- DeMar DeRozan love intentionally fouling a guy on a fast break while his man is streaking by him. It looks lazy, but it’s actually a very smart play when the last man back is a Raptor.
- How is Dumars still the GM of the Pistons? How? He’s spent over 160 million on Jennings, Smith, Charlie V and Ben Gordon.
- On a personal note, I’m very happy to announce that as of this morning, I am officially a member of theScore’s intrepid news team. All nepotism aside, theScore mobile app is the premier outlet for everything sports — breaking news, up to the minute scores, analysis — it’s all there. Plus, there’s also some fun stuff, like the price of Chris Bosh’s super expensive house, and the latest installment in the Lil B-Kevin Durant saga. If you haven’t already, do yourself (and myself) a favor and download the app. It’s free, after all.