Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins was an unstoppable force tonight, until Keith Smart left him on the bench for almost the entire fourth quarter. The big fella finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and three steals, but he could have had a lot more damage if he played more than the 35 minutes he received tonight.
- Jimmer Fredette did his best to bring his team back tonight in the fourth quarter. After a shaky first stint, Jimmer scored 13 of his 14 points in the final period, including three 3-pointers and one tremendous cross-over that left Brandon Knight scratching his head.
- Isaiah Thomas was really good early on, but sat the entire fourth quarter as Smart stuck with Brooks and Fredette. The Kings starting point guard finished with 12 points, but only two assists and four turnovers in 26 minutes of action.
- Jason Thompson was a beast tonight. The Kings starting power forward scored 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in the loss. Thompson has become the most consistent Kings and his improvement in the post is pretty incredible.
- John Salmons scored 10 points and handed out a team-high six assists in 28 minutes. Salmons lost minutes late to James Johnson and Travis Outlaw as Smart searched for a spark. Over his last seven contests, Salmons is averaging a solid 4.7 assists and he is now tied for the team lead in assists per game with Tyreke Evans at 3.3 per game.
- Knight and Greg Monroe are clearly the building blocks for the Pistons and they didn’t disappoint tonight. Knight scored scored a team-high 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting, while Monroe notched a solid 18-point, 11-rebound double-double. Daye gets an honorable mention as well. The former Gonzaga star finished with 13 points, but it was his 3-point dagger in the final moments of the game that sealed the win for the Pistons.
- This game almost went completely south at the end of the first half when Charlie Villanueva leveled Thomas, drew a flagrant two and was ejection. Thomas came up swinging, which may cost him a game or two, but he real story was Cousins flying in to defend his point guard. It’s pretty safe to say that if Villanueva would have aggressively gone at Thomas after the initial contact, things would have gotten ugly fast.
- Stat of the Night: The Pistons bench outscored the Kings bench 29-4 in the first half. Most of that damage came in the lopsided second quarter that saw the Pistons outscore the Kings 31-20. As soon as Smart went to his bench, the Pistons ran the Kings off the floor and changed the outcome of this game.
Three answers to three questions pondered
1. Who comes out ahead in the match-up between Greg Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins?
Cousins was dominant in this game, but it wasn’t enough. While the Kings big man doesn’t like getting out played by a fellow 2010 draftee, I’m pretty sure he would have preferred a team victory to winning a player on player battle. Both players finished with double-doubles, but Cousins was the better player in this one.
2. Can the Kings continue to space the floor?
When they spaced the floor early good things happened, but that ended as soon as coach Smart went to his bench. As the game went on, the Kings couldn’t find a hot hand and spacing went to hell in a hand-basket. After averaging 28.8 assists per game of their previous four contests, the Kings finished the game tonight with only 19.
3. Will Andre Drummond leave the Kings wondering what if?
Drummond ended up with 11 rebounds and seven points in 21 minutes for the Pistons in the win, but it took a lot to even remember him being on the floor until the fourth quarter. Robinson is becoming a non-factor for the Kings. He played only 3:24 minutes, with all of those cominig in the disastrous second quarter. I’m not sure if the Kings regret passing on Drummond, but there are a few other players that are making the Robinson pick look questionable at this point.