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An inside look at the Detroit Pistons and the NBA.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

PISTONS NOTES: Pistons' inside game falls to Lakers outside shooting

AUBURN HILLS — Friday’s game between the Pistons and Lakers was a matchup of inside against outside. Outside won.

Detroit scored 76 points in the paint, which is a season-high in the NBA this season, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Los Angeles’ outside shooting.

The Lakers hit 14 3-pointers, while the Pistons hit just 1 of 8 in the Los Angeles’ 106-102 victory.

The Lakers shot 45.2 percent from 3. Wesley Johnson went 6 for 7, while Shawne Williams was 6 or 11.

“We gotta figure out our defensive schemes,” Pistons guard Brandon Jennings said. “We’re switching like five plays down then the next we’re not. Guys are just confused down the stretch. We need to figure out from the coaches from us, we all need to figure out what are we doing and what defenses are we in.”

Offense falters

Jennings scored six straight points to put the Pistons up 99-91 with 4:22 left Friday. The Pistons scored just three points the rest of the way.

The Lakers went on a 12-0 run before Jennings hit a jumper with 50.2 seconds left.
Jennings had a chance to tie the game when he was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 16.7 seconds, but hit just one of the three free throws.

“I kind of put that on myself for missing those two free throws down the stretch,” Jennings said. “That’s something I live for. I’m a guy that’s been known to knock them down. To see two of them rattle in and out, that hurts.”

Los Angeles’ Jordan Farmar missed two free throws, leaving the door open for the Pistons.

Detroit went to Rodney Stuckey on their final two possessions. Stuckey missed a running layup on the first one, but the Pistons caught a break when the rebound went off the Lakers.

The Pistons went to Stuckey again and he was forced to pass to Josh Smith, who was called for a charge.

“I missed a layup that I should have made when I took the ball out,” Stuckey said. “The last play, I didn’t have anywhere to go so I wasn’t trying to force it. Josh was right there, I threw him the ball. It’s just what it was. At the end of the day it’s a game. We’ll watch game film, try to get better, try to get one on Sunday.”

Jennings didn’t touch the ball on the final two Pistons’ possessions despite scoring Detroit’s last 11 points. Jennings was 5 for 7 in the fourth quarter. He was asked if he wanted the ball on the final possessions and said, “Yeah of course.

“Not even trying to shoot the ball, just trying to make something happen,” Jennings said. “We also got another guy, Stuckey, who can make something happen too. He’s way stronger than me so he can get in there and get fouls. I kind of feel like I had it going a little bit in the fourth, knocking down some shots and also getting to the basket. But hey we just gotta roll with it.”

Drummond sits

Andre Drummond picked up his fourth foul with 9:09 left in the third quarter. Pistons coach Mo Cheeks elected not to play Drummond the rest of the game, sitting Drummond the final 21 minutes.

“I could have did that, but I thought we needed to score,” Cheeks said of putting Drummond back in the game. “That was the reason why I didn’t. He had the four fouls and (the Lakers) had the small lineup out there. When they had the small lineup out there I thought we needed to score, that’s why I kept Greg (Monroe) in the game as opposed to Andre. But hindsight is 20-20. I could have put him back in and he probably could have got a couple of those rebounds because one possession they had three or four offensive rebounds and that allowed them to get another 3-point shot.”

The Lakers had six offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter, including three on one possession during Los Angeles’ 12-0 run that saw the Lakers go from down eight to up four.

Drummond finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds in 16 minutes. He put the blame on himself for not playing much in the second half.

“It’s tough,” Drummond said. “I made a stupid play, got a foul, got my fourth, have to sit on the bench. It was my fault. I should have never took the foul, but it happens. It’s a domino effect, one thing  leads to another and everybody starts to fall.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

PISTONS NOTES: Stuckey excelling in sixth man role

AUBURN HILLS — Rodney Stuckey is beginning to blossom in his new role as the Pistons sixth man.

With Brandon Jennings battling an illness Tuesday night and Will Bynum and Chauncey Billups both inactive with injuries, Stuckey had to play a bigger role and he responded with a season-high 21 points and five assists in the Pistons win over the Knicks.

“Stuckey did a nice job,” Pistons coach Mo Cheeks said. “Put the ball in his hands and he was able to make plays for us. ... We kept the ball in his hands and he made plays for us.”

Stuckey is averaging 14.2 points and 2.3 assists on the season and 17.7 points and 3.3 assists, while shooting 51.1 percent from the field in his last three.

Cheeks likes Stuckey in the sixth man role because of his ability to score. Cheeks believes the top sixth men are able to come in and score.

“I think Stuckey fits that mold,” Cheeks said. “When he comes in the game the ball usually goes in his hands and he makes plays. He doesn’t just try to score, but he has the ability to score. He makes plays for other people. ... When a guy has the ability to score they become very valuable coming off the bench like that.”

Stuckey said whether it’s looking for his shot or setting up his teammates, he just tries to bring energy off the bench.

“You gotta come in and just play,” Stuckey said. “Just be aggressive, play your game. Just play basketball. That’s what I’m here to do. I just try to come in, bring energy and be that sparkplug off the bench. That’s what Mo and my teammates need me to do, I’m going to continue to do it.”

When Cheeks took the Pistons job he was very complimentary of Stuckey and Cheeks’ appreciation for the seventh-year guard continues to grow.

“He’s so versatile,” Cheeks said. “He has the ability to score. He has the ability to play with the ball, off the ball. He plays a full game. He’s play an old school kind of game where he has a mid-range game. Nowadays you see a lot of guys either shoot the 3 or go all the way to the rim. He can play a mid-range game, he can get to the rim or he can shoot a 3. ... His knowledge of the game is pretty high level. I just watched his package and I knew he had some abilities.”

Siva gets an opportunity

The injuries to Billups and Bynum as well as Jennings battling an upset stomach led to Peyton Siva getting an opportunity.

Siva played his first non-garbage time minutes Tuesday night. Siva had two rebounds, two fouls and one turnover in just over 11 minutes.

“I think I played within my game,” Siva said. “I just try to run the team, play good defense and bring a lot of energy. Just change the pace of the game.”

The second-round pick out of Louisville admitted he had a little nerves when he was checking into the game, but they went away once he started playing.

“You have to gather yourself and be composed out there,” Siva said. “You don’t want to try to do anything that you’re not used to doing. Go out there and play your game. I think I did a good job out there. Coach really liked the way I played defense. He put me back in, meaningful minutes. I just tried to go out there and perform.”

Cheeks has expressed confidence in Siva all season even though he hasn’t played and feels he can count on Siva when he needs to.

“I’m not afraid to play Peyton,” Cheeks said. “He’s always ready. He puts his time in when he’s not playing. Watching him in the preseason, he’s not afraid of any moment. I’m not afraid to play him and he knows when somebody goes out, the chance of him going in the game is (good). He’s always ready. I’m not afraid to play that guy at all.”

KCP shines

Rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made his third straight start of the season and finished with 13 points and four rebounds in 30 minutes. Caldwell-Pope hit three 3-pointers, but it was his defense that impressed his coach.

“He was good defensively,” Cheeks said. “The way he guarded on the ball. He guarded JR Smith pretty good and he is a very good offensive player. A lot of these guys he’s seeing for the first time so for him to be able to defend them the way the he defends them, it’s pretty good for him. But he guarded on the ball extremely well. That’s the reason why he’s able to be in the game at the end of the game because he can move his feet and he can guard one-on-one as well as anybody on our team.”

Sunday, November 3, 2013

PISTONS NOTES: Caldwell-Pope out of rotation Sunday

AUBURN HILLS — Brandon Jennings made his Pistons season debut Sunday and with Jennings in the rotation that meant someone was likely out. That someone turned out to be rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

The No. 8 overall pick did not play in Detroit’s 87-77 win over the Celtics as coach Mo Cheeks stuck with a nine-man and four-guard rotation.

“It’s going to be tough to play five guards,” Cheeks said before Sunday’s game. “They would be ran in and ran out, and it wouldn’t be to their advantage to try and play five guards at those two positions. It wouldn’t be right and just wouldn’t make a lot of sense. He has played well and we’ll just have to figure out how to get him out there.”

Caldwell-Pope was solid in Detroit’s first two games averaging 11 points, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals in nearly 23 minutes per game.

The University of Georgia product will likely get some minutes when veteran Chauncey Billups rests and there is a shot he could see time at small forward too, depending on matchups. Kyle Singler has been the primary backup three thus far.

“Depends on who the other guy is,” Cheeks said of Caldwell-Pope playing small forward. “We’ll have to figure it out during the course of the game. Who he can play against or play with.”

Turnovers a problem

The Pistons had a season-high 21 turnovers in their win over Boston. Detroit is averaging 19.3 turnovers per game through three games and it’s something Cheeks wants to see cut down.

“I am very concerned about the turnovers,” Cheeks said. “It’s something that we’ve been discussing. You can’t recover. Some of the turnovers we make, we can’t recover. Our defense is usually pretty good, but when we have turnovers the way we have them it’s tough. It’s tough to get back and defend the way we have (turnovers). It’s a topic of conversation. It’s something we talk about and we just have to keep working on it.”

Every team is going to have turnovers, it’s part of the game, but it’s the way some of the turnovers are occurring that is bothering Cheeks.

“Some of them were careless turnovers and it’s something that we can correct,” Cheeks said. “A lot of our turnovers we can correct and we have to correct. There are good turnovers and bad turnovers, and I would be fair to say we had a lot of bad turnovers.”

The Pistons have eight new players on their roster so there is an adjustment period and veteran Chauncey Billups expects the number of turnovers to go down once the team gets accustomed to each other.

“There’s not a quick turnover switch, it’s comfortability,” Billups said. “There is a lot of new faces in here. You’re trying to figure out who likes it where, who can make this play, who can make that play. In the course of trying to figure that out you’re going to have some misreads and some turnovers. I think it’s just over time, gradually we just have to make a real effort to cut down on our turnovers.”