After five full days off, wherein the Pistons allegedly practiced and practiced well (at least according to their coach Maurice Cheeks), the Pistons decided to take another day off rather than even attempt to defeat the Utah Jazz on their home court. In what was one of the most pitiful performances in the past several painful years, the Pistons were totally and completely embarrassed by the Jazz.
The Pistons' defense was most egregious. The Utah Jazz are a poor offensive team. They play at one of the slowest paces in the league, and they score fewer than ninety-five points per game. They put up one hundred ten on the Pistons, and they hardly tried in the fourth quarter.
After starting slowly, Trey Burke picked apart the Pistons' terrible on-the-ball defense in isolation, and his giftedness as a pure point guard was on display as he found one open shooter after another after shredding the defense. And if Trey wasn't the one making the pass to the open shooter, someone else was - because Jazz players were open all over the perimeter.
Unfortunately, the defense was terrible everywhere. Andre Drummond is already one of my favorite Pistons ever, but Enes Kanter - who averages about eleven points in twenty-five minutes - put up eighteen easy points in twenty-five minutes.
Offensively, well, the Pistons were downright offensive. The Pistons' starters combined for a whopping thirty-four points - twenty-one of those. Both Josh Smith and Greg Monroe got benched during the second half, and frankly, both deserved it. Eight combined points on two for thirteen combined shooting in forty combined minutes with three turnovers and only three rebounds. Turrible.
What Stood Out:
What did this team practice during their time off? I don't think it was basketball. More than anything else, this is what stood out. The Pistons had not played since January eleven. They practiced basketball. And they played like this.
They let the Jazz shoot fifty-four percent from the field. The. Jazz.
- Trey Burke had his first twenty point, ten assist game as a pro. He didn't look very comfortable early in front of his hometown crowd, and he did commit seven turnovers, but by the second half he settled in nicely and ran the show better than any Piston player has in several years (I'm not counting Jose Calderon, because I think that was a happy accident).
- Rodney Stuckey played really well coming off his shoulder injury. His twenty-one points represent about twenty-four percent of the Pistons' total output. He was fantastic off the dribble, and he just looked too strong for anything Utah could throw at him. But by now we know Stuckey is good for about twenty of these types of games per year, right?
- The Utah Jazz three-point shooting. I was surprised to look at the box score and see they only took twenty-two of them, because they were so wide open so often. They converted nine of them, good for about forty-one percent. For goodness' sake, Richard Jefferson shot three for six. Paging Josh Smith.
- Andre Drummond had ten points and thirteen boards, and for most NBA bigs, that would be a great game. But this one stands out as one of his poor performances, particularly on defense.
- Jonas Jerebko, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Kyle Singler played hard every minute they were on the floor, even in garbage time. Jonas in particular had nine good minutes. What more does he have to do to get another look in the rotation?
- Charlie Villanueva shot a three pointer so flat I don't think it ever got above the rim. No joke, I think it hit the bottom of the rim as it clanked away, as if he threw the ball up at the rim from standing under the basket.