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Sunday night NBA grades: The Pistons’ “three bigs” lineup is a mess

Nov 18, 2013, 12:52 AM EST

Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, Josh Smith, Maurice Cheeks AP

Our grades for what happened around the NBA Sunday….

source:   Pistons’ “three bigs” lineup of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith. The Pistons are force-feeding this trio, trying to get it to work, but it remains a mess on the defensive end. Check out these numbers from Sunday night: When they were together the Lakers averaged 127.8 points per 100 possessions, shot 59.6 percent, hit 7-of-13 from three, which means an eFG% of 66.4 percent, and Jordan Hill went off against the Pistons for 24 points and 17 rebounds. The Lakers were able to run that trio and just space them out with shooters and beat them, plus Piston bigs got burned on their man cutting back door all night, or they just would lose track of their man in general. On offense there is now flow or spacing with them together. This is not a new thing, on the season teams are shooting 51 percent against this trio with an offensive rating of 114.8 (for comparison, the Bobcats had the worst defense in the NBA last season at 108.9). The Pistons have other issues as well (Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey don’t help the defense at all) but what happened against the Lakers is the norm right now. Is Maurice Cheeks a guy who can fix this?

source:   Jordan Hill, Los Angeles Lakers. David Thorpe (he of ESPN and Executive Director of the Pro Training Center) likes to say “energy is a skill.” That is Jordan Hill’s skill. Against the big Pistons’ front line Sunday he had 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting, he knocked down some baseline jumpers, and he had 17 rebounds. Hill outworks the competition, and if you pair him with Jordan Farmar there is a real pick-and-roll chemistry that works for the Lakers.

source:   Rudy Gay, Toronto Raptors. He has had a rough season (37.5 percent shooting, trade rumors hanging over his head like the Sword of Damocles) but when the Raptors needed him Sunday he played like the guy they hoped he would be. Gay had 11 fourth quarter points to spark a 10-point comeback by the Raptors to force OT against a good Blazers team — an he hit the driving layup to tie the game (he’s shooting just 47 percent in the restricted area this season, another issue he overcame Sunday). Gay finished with 30 points. He got a “B” because he was 1-of-4 in the OT and a not very efficient 12-of-27 on the night (he’s still a gunner) but he made plays when they needed him, which is a step in the right direction.

source:   Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies. We could have him on this list more often as he just consistently puts up numbers. No, not the best defender ever, you can go ahead and pick the team apart his game if you want, but he had 22 points and 10 boards against Sacramento on Sunday and was a key cog in the Grizzlies’ victory. As he is most nights. Thought it was time to recognize him.

source:   Mike Malone, coach of Sacramento Kings. Malone got so frustrated with his starters in the second half — who had gotten off to another slow start, let the Grizzlies lead balloon to 20 and had shot 12-of-32 to that point — that he benched the lot of them. For the rest of the game. And the Kings’ bench made it interesting, getting it all the way down to 3 points (82-79) before the Grizzlies starters restored order. But we here at PBT applaud coaches who make big, bold moves when their team is struggling and seemingly not trying.

  1. lowpostfootwork - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    The Lakers catch a lot of teams by surprise with D’Antoni’s “Yosemite Sam” offense.

  2. timberwolvesbrisin - Nov 18, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Not only is Dumas an idiot for signing Jennings and Smith, hiring Maurice Cheeks?? Come on, everyone knows he is a terrible coach.

  3. timberwolvesbrisin - Nov 18, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    “But we here at PBT applaud coaches who make big, bold moves when their team is struggling and seemingly not trying.”

    No, a big bold move would have been to bench FROM THE START. Losing to the Pistons at home, tells me all I need to know about Boogie and the other thugs on that team.

  4. 00maltliquor - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Jordan Hill is a stud. Lakers need to make him part of their plans for the long term and lock him up next year. He’s an All-Star caliber player and he’s doing everything I said he’d be doing when given a start and playing over 30 min. There aren’t very many players like him in this league. If they don’t retain him I will be beyond pissed.

  5. Anoesis - Nov 18, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Who’d have thought that after having Howard last year the Lakers’ best pick-n-roll combo would end up being Jordan & Jordan? Of course, it helps to actually want to run the p&r…

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