Opponent Scouting: Golden State Warriors. (33-6)

 Tonight the Pistons will be at Oracle arena to visit the Golden State Warriors at 10:30pm EST. The game is on TNT as well so we get to hear ill informed people talk crap about the Pistons a whole bunch which is always fun. The Warriors are on one day of rest after beating the Heat on Tuesday, and the Pistons are also on one day of rest after losing to the Kings on Tuesday.

 

 

The Them:

The Warriors are really good. They have a stellar offensive efficiency of 113.2, and a very good defensive efficiency of 101.7. Stephen Curry's back to back MVP's are starting to look a little bit silly at this point as Kevin Durant is pretty unquestionably the teams best player, but that doesn't make Steph any worse because he is still absurdly good and not that far behind Durant. Klay Thompson has come out of his early shooting slump and is in full form at this point. Those 3 average (in order) 26, 24.7, and 21.3 points per game and they are all efficient with Kevin Durant putting up an un-godly TS% of 64.8%(!!!!!!!!!???????) beyond them Draymond Green still leads the team in assists with 7.5 per game and also holds down the defensive end as a possible defensive player of the year guy. Andre Iguodala has struggled a bit this year as he has not shot particularly well and also appears to have slowed a bit on defense, but he is still very good and has shown at a few points that he can still dig in and defend like hell. Zaza “all star” Pachulia is like a better version of Aron Baynes in that he isn't much good at anything but he does everything pretty decently, with the difference being that Pachulia is at least a solid rebounder. Shaun Livingston is still posting up smaller point guards from the bench, Ian Clark can shoot, Patrick McCaw can also shoot. David West might not be any good anymore but he is still strong, JaVale McGee might be sort of reviving his career. Maybe.

The Warriors are really good, they are better than the Pistons at every single spot other than starting center. On paper the Pistons stand pretty much no chance, HOWEVA the Pistons have the goods to at least play with them.

 

Matchups to watch:

  • Andre vs. Everyone: Andre Drummond is really the key. He is really the only guy with a real chance to cause serious problems for the Warriors, as if he gets going they might legitimately not have any answer for him. But he needs to play his tail off and make good plays.

  • Wings vs. Kevin Durant: Some combination of Morris, Tobias, and Stanley will be trying to stop Kevin Durant. Stanley is the only one who really has the goods to stand much of a chance but we know that Morris will at least battle. If the Pistons can at least keep him from doing too much they can survive.

  • KCP vs. Steph: Assuming they do give Steph to KCP defensively, this will be another chance for him to shut me up about his on ball defense falling off. Obviously on the other hand, he could play really good defense and get destroyed anyways because Steph is just that good.

  • SVG vs. Dictating, not being dictating: SVG can't let the Warriors dictate how the Pistons play. If the Warriors go small he doesn't have to go small. Andre is a good enough athlete to keep up with Draymond and will have a sizable advantage on the other end. Stick to the guns you have.

  • Livingston vs. Ish: Shaun Livingston lives to post up little dudes like Ish, he doesn't play enough to make too huge an impact, but Livingston is certainly good enough that he could swing momentum with a few buckets in a row.

  • Pistons vs. Playing awesome: The Pistons have no chance if they don't play their best basketball. It is just that simple. Play awesome, win the game. Play anything less and get blown out.

 

So in conclusion...

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • KCP is the Curry stopper.

  • Andre Drummond is laughing maniacally while murdering the fishing village known as the Warriors centers.

  • Multiple people on the Warriors get technical fouls.

 

Run for the hills if:

  • Klay starts hitting shots.

  • Steph starts hitting shots.

  • Durant starts hitting shots.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • The Pistons get blown out.

 

 

  • Lol jk. Andre Drummond dominates, KCP holds Steph firmly in check and Stanley Johnson has the best game of his career and the Pistons stun the Warriors by 15 points.

 

 

What do you think? Can the Pistons play awesome?

 

 

 

Opponent Scouting: Sacramento Kings. (15-22)

 The Pistons will continue their west coast road trip tonight in Sacramento to play the Kings with tip off time at 10:30pm EST. (why did they have to do the west coast trip the week classes start?) The Pistons are on one days rest after a double overtime win over the Blazers on Sunday, while the Kings are also on one day of rest after losing to the Warriors on Sunday.

 

 

The Them:

When DeMarcus Cousins is on the floor, the Kings are a fairly viable, if not much good, team that can play with most teams. When he is off the floor they plummet into comically bad. Overall they are just pretty bad with an offensive efficiency of 104.1, which is solid. Defensively however, they come in with an efficiency of 108.2, which is not as bad as the Blazers but still is really bad. They are lead by DeMarcus Cousins, who is phenomenal and one of my personal favorite players in the league which as a result of my love for him I have watched more Kings games over the last few years than I care to admit. He scores 28.1 points per game and does it the hard way while still maintaining solid efficiency, along with 9.9 boards, 3.9 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.4 steals. Boogie is insanely good. Rudy Gay recieves a lot of flak, especially on the internet, but he is still really good. Gay averages 18.7 points per game and he does it with solid efficiency, and like Cousins, he gets most of his buckets the hard way. Beyond those two it gets bleak for the Kings though, and even bleaker given that Gay is already mostly out the door. Darren Collison and Ty Lawson combine together to take point guard minutes, both are pretty good but probably not really starter level good. Garrett Temple has been a godsend to the Kings on both ends of the floor with his defensive effort and spark plug offensive game. Matt Barnes is not all that good but he is still tough as nails and can hit open 3s, Arron Afflalo is still trying to hard to be Kobe. (he isn't) Kosta Koufos is a pretty well rounded big who would start on most bad teams and be a solid backup on most good teams. Omri Caspi and Ben McLemore are in weird DNP limbo where sometimes they play a lot and other times they don't play at all, but both can do some stuff offensively though McLemore is running out of time to prove he is much of anything before his contract is up. Willie Cauley-Stein might be good, but he might not be. Anthony Tolliver is still doing his thing, playing his tail off and gunning 3s.

 

 

Matchups to watch:

  • Andre vs. Cousins: Best player for each team, 2 of the best centers in the NBA. This matchup has gone a bit either way in the past and should be fun. If Andre can do a decent job of containing Cousins then the Pistons will be in business.

  • Jon Leuer vs. Playing: No official word yet other than that it didn't look too serious after some x-rays. Obviously though he is an important player for the Pistons and could be especially important against the Kings when they go super big with Cousins and another center on the floor at the same time.

  • KCP vs. Afflalo: For whatever reason, Afflalo has given KCP all kinds of trouble, even giving him a life threatening ankle breaker last year in New York. Afflalo is not that good anymore either which is probably the most frustrating part of this. Hopefully KCP can buck the trend tonight.

  • Stanley vs. Destroying on defense: Stanley Johnson looks like it is really starting to click with him defensively, this is really good news for the Pistons. I'm not going to worry too much about the offense for now if he keeps up his play on the other end.

  • Morris vs. Gay: Rudy Gay is a good scorer and Marcus will have to cover him most of the night. (presumably) On the plus side, Gay is not a great defensive player so Marcus should be able to get some buckets back. Either way, Marcus will have to hold him in check.

 

So in conclusion...

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • Andre is outplaying Cousins.

  • Stanley is doing all kinds of insane stuff defensively.

  • Reggie Jackson is getting buckets again.

 

Run for the hills if:

  • Afflalo murders KCP again.

  • Jon Leuer doesn't play.

  • Cousins is raining in death from all over the court.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Andre and Boogie both have big games.

  • Tobias Harris scores over 20.

  • Afflalo doesn't score.

  • Pistons win a only sort of close game as the Kings can't get anything going from anyone other than Cousins.

 

 

What do you think? Can the Pistons hold Cousins down? Do you miss Tolly?

Game Recap/Notes: Game #39, Pistons 125 - Blazers 124. (18-21)

 What a great game! Sorry for this being so late, had stuff to do today but still wanted to do the recap.

 

Box score.

 

Reggie Jackson:

Reggie continued his wonderful play last night, 31 points on 28 equivalents with 3 assists against 2 turnovers and 2 steals in 47 minutes does not sound that awesome, but he carried the Pistons to an almost comical extent for a couple of stretches of the game and hit a couple of hugely clutch shots. He appears to have largely gotten back into full form as he is absolutely tearing it up lately, and it will be interesting to see where his 3 point shot ends up as he has been on fire from outside lately and is now up to 35.6% from deep, although I would say he is hitting a lot more pull up looks right now which is impressive. Either way, he was huge offensively. Defensively he was less good. Early in the game he was just another dude who couldn't help to slow down the Blazers, and then he was the guy who got burned on both of the C.J. McCollum shots that forced the first and second overtimes which is a bit glaring obviously. HOWEVA, I would give him some credit, as he was a part of the lineup that essentially won the game for the Pistons, and that lineup did it primarily with defense and he was a part of that. At no point in time is Reggie ever really a good defender, but when he is locked, he can make some plays.

On the topic of his failed game winners at the end of regulation, the first one I was ok with. He got into the lane and by his guy and was probably fouled. Once he got a step I figured it was all over, with my only complaint that he didn't leave any time for a Andre rebound. (doubly so with the time left that the Blazers didn't have a timeout left so even if they get the board they can't do anything with it) The second attempt (1st OT) I was less pleased with, He didn't really make much of an attempt to go to the hoop and once again left no time for Andre to try and tip it. But in the end, they were both alright, the game was tied so you want to take the clock down and not risk a turnover.

Overall a really good game for Reggie, and he really looks like he is back in form.

 

KCP:

For much of the game, it was a pretty good indication of the sort of season KCP has been having. He was efficient and smart with his offensive play other than an uncharacteristic 3 turnovers against his 2 assists (all 3 of which were bad passes) and he made some nice defensive plays to finish with 4 steals, and yet he just got beat too often. Allen Crabbe and CJ McCollum's big nights were obviously even close to all his fault, but he didn't really do much to slow down either one when he was switched onto them. There were several plays where he just straight up got beat. HOWEVA, we all know what happened at the end of the game, he hit several clutch and difficult 3 pointers, including the game winner. Which on the topic of that game winner, what a great play call by SVG given that there was no way they were ready for that, and also because he finally decided to appreciate that I had school in the morning so they could win or lose but another overtime was not happening.

Overall KCP finished with 26 points on just 16 equivalents curtesy of his hot shooting to finish the game. Even though it is still worrying to me that he is getting beat with regularity on defense now, he still made some really good plays. Awesome game for KCP.

 

Greater Morris:

It was a rough game for Marcus, after seeming to bounce back in their last game, his shot abandoned him yet again as he scored just 10 points on 17 shots. But he did have 5 assists without a turnover to help his offensive outing, and he was a part of the lineup that carried the Pistons to victory on the defensive end. HOWEVA, I just want to say how much I love that down the stretch, the Pistons ran 3 straight plays for him and he hit 2 of them, and also bailed the Pistons out with an incredibly tough shot over Aminu in the 4th quarter. Like, Marcus is far from a star of any sort, but it is shots like that one over Aminu that allow the Pistons to so consistently play with some of the best teams in the NBA, because when everything else fails, they have him (also Tobias and Reggie of course) who can just straight up get buckets. Bit of a rough game for Marcus, but he got it done when it mattered, and it is worth noting that he had a game high +11 on the night.

 

Jon Leuer:

Only played 6 minutes, didn't do anything of note. He hurt himself but it apparently is not very serious so he won't miss much, if any, time. (supposedly)

 

Andre Drummond:

In case there was any doubt, Mason Plumlee (I hope that is the correct Plumlee) cannot hold Andre Drummond. Not even a little bit. Andre finished with 28 points on just 21 equivalents, and he did a ton of his work out of the post. In fact I would say this was probably his best game form the post all year. He only (by his standards) ended up with 14 rebounds, but that was more of bad luck/not a ton of misses because other than a pair of big ones (one of which was probably Andre's fault) towards the end of the game, the Blazers didn't do anything on the glass all game really. He also played some wonderful defense to finish with 4 steals and a block. He also went 2 of 3 from the line. One of the better games of the year for Andre, and the game high 52 minutes is hugely impressive as well. Remember that when he arrived he was a kid who tired easily and fouled at an absurd rate.

 

Tobias Harris:

Tobias had, probably, his worst game since coming off the bench. 14 points on 16 shots, 3 assists, 9 rebounds, a steal, and a block is not a terrible stat line for 38 minutes, but it Is a step down from what he has been doing. Regardless, he struggled especially from deep going 0 for 5. On top of all of that, he was on the bench for most of the Pistons resurgance as they made their comeback as Stanley proved to valuable defensively. But despite this, Tobias made a freaking amazing defensive play down the stretch when he did get back in by smothering a Plumlee dunk attempt. It was literally textbook verticality. I don't know that Tobias will ever really be a good defender, but lately he has started to make better use of his size and athleticism to provide some solid emergency rim protection as more and more teams try and draw Andre away from the hoop.

 

Stanley Johnson:

He may have only scored 5 points (on 3 shots) and had 2 assists. But this was probably Stanley's best game of the year. His defensive presence was undeniable to the point that SVG had his start the overtime. He made several great defensive plays by showing his full range and why people are so excited about his defensive potential. He was guarding Portland guards for long stretches, but then also had 2 seperate occasions that he stepped in and smothered layup attempts at the rim. (didn't get credit for blocks on either one) Guys that can do that do not just grow on trees.

 

Ish Smith:

Only played 21 minutes, scored 9 points on 6 shots, had 3 assists without a turnover. He didn't really a do a ton that I found all that worthy of noting but he certainly played pretty well.

 

Aron Baynes:

Played 6 minutes. I want Boban back.

 

BOBAN:

Formed a fucking wall.

 

 

General:

2nd really good win for the Pistons. The Blazers have struggled this year but they are not an awful team. The Pistons will have 2 more very winnable games left on the trip and a couple of toughies (the Warriors probably count as more than just tough lol) but if they can take either of the tough ones and leave the road trip 4-1 then they will be right back on track.

 

What do you think? Was that awesome or what?

Opponent Scouting: Portland Trail Blazers. (16-22)

 Tonight the Pistons begin a west coast trip in Portlandia with a game at 10:00pm EST. (rip my sleeping pattern for the next week) The Pistons are on one day of rest after beating the Hornets on Thursday, and the Blazers are also on one day of rest after beating the Lakers on Thursday.

 

 

The Them:

The Blazers are having a somewhat similar season to the Pistons, a team who was a bit of a surprise and nice story last year that has come out and struggled, with the only difference being that it is way worse for the Blazers if they are not good because their team might now be full of bad contracts. They have a rock solid offense with an efficiency of 107.3, but their defense is comically bad with an efficiency of 109.8.

They are lead by Damian Lillard, who is really good averaging 26.8 points and 6.8 assists per game on very good efficiency. He launches high difficulty 3s off the dribble without hesitation and is also a very capable slasher and will dunk all over you if you let him. His defense is not good though. C.J. McCollum is 2nd in command averaging 23.3 points per game, he is not quite as terrifying from deep as Lillard is and no where near the passer, but he is almost as scary as an overall scorer. Beyond those two, Maurice Harkless is a good defender with some touch on offense and has managed to get up to being a decent shooter from deep. Allen Crabbe is a shooter and a fairly versatile, if not all that good, defender. Mason Plumlee can pass and handle the ball well for a big and is generally a smart player but he is not a very good defender. Al-Farouq Aminu is a very good and versatile defender but he has been hurt for a decent amount of the season and has shot horribly so far this year. Evan Turner has largely been a disaster for the Blazers this year but he is pretty capable of running a bench mob offense, the problem is that he is largely useless when Lillard and/or McCollum are on the floor. Ed Davis is a good athletic center who would probably start on quite a few teams, Meyers Leonard can shoot 3s as a big and do pretty much nothing else. Noah Vonleh is running out of time to show that he is capable of doing much of anything good on an NBA court, his best thing is probably that he can play at least a little bit of defense.

The Blazers can't figure out how to play good defense, and it largely stems from the same issues that the Pistons have, they just don't have many guys on the roster who are good defenders, and unlike the Pistons they don't have KCP and Andre on the team. They can score a ton though and will not be an easy out at home.

 

Matchups to watch:

  • Andre vs. The Fishing Village: Andre has shown pretty clearly that he owns the Blazers. They have no bigs who can hang with him. When he gets to go against guys that can't box him out it is like Godzilla vs. a fishing village in the south pacific somewhere. He should have a huge game.

  • Pistons vs. Lillard/McCollum: KCP can only take one of them, and it will be another chance for KCP to show that he can still dig deep and get back to the world class defense he played last year. Whichever one KCP doesn't guard though will almost certainly be a problem, and it will be a team effort on both of them regardless. Expect Andre to spend a lot of time out of the paint to keep them from getting open 3s.

  • Tobias for 6th man of the year: Until he cools off this is going to be a thing. Tobias has been awesome off the bench and the bench has been awesome with him. Also, even though he almost certainly won't make it, he has re-started his bid to be worthy of an all star spot.

  • Baynes? Baynes? BOBAN: Speaking of fishing villages... (svg plz)

  • Marcus Morris vs. Not being bad: Marcus managed to break out a bit in the last game, but he has been struggling lately. If last game was an indicator that he is back in full form then it will be a big help to the Pistons.

  • Reggie vs. Keeping at his game: Reggie has played very well the last several games and appears back to being himself. Tonight should be another really good game for him as he will (probably) spend most of the night with Lillard on him and Plumlee protecting the rim. He needs to keep tuning out the noise and playing his game.

  • Stanley Johnson vs. Destroying people on defense: He has really had some nice defensive outings lately. It is just fun to watch a guy with his physical talents start to have it click on defense, hopefully he can keep it up.

 

So in conclusion...

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • The Blazers are the fishing village.

  • BOBAN.

  • Reggie is getting easy lanes to the hoop all night.

 

Run for the hills if:

  • Damian Lillard starts hitting lots of shots.

  • McCollum starts hitting lots of shots.

  • Aron Baynes plays again.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Andre and Reggie both have huge games.

  • Tobias scores 30 off the bench.

  • Damian Lillard gets close to 40 points.

  • Pistons survive the raining death from Damian Lillard to win a close game on the road.

 

What do you think? Can the Pistons hold Lillard? Will Boban play?

Opponent Scouting: Charlotte Hornets. (20-16)

 Tonight the Pistons will be hosting the Charlotte Hornets at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Pacers on Tuesday and the Hornets are on the 2nd night of a back to back, as well as their 3rd game in 4 nights after beating the Thunder last night. The game is set to tip at 7:30 pm EST.

 

The Them:

The Hornets are a team that is, in many ways, what this Pistons squad hopes to be yet this year. The Hornets lack a true superstar of any sort, but they have a bunch of good players and a really good coach. They feature a pretty much average offense with an efficiency of 105.9, and a fairly good defense with an efficiency of 103.6. They are lead into battle by Kemba Walker, who has finished is long and steady assent into being a legit all star caliber player, scoring 23 points and dishing 5.4 assists per game and doing it efficiently. He also brings it defensively. Nic Batum is 2nd in command and he has slowly started to find his shot after struggling earlier in the season a bit, he is scoring 14.5 points and dishing a team high 5.7 assists per game and is a long and rangy defender. Beyond their top 2 guys, it is a team full of role players who know their roles. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a incredible defender, and he can score at the hoop, but his jumper is largely broken still. Marvin Williams has taken a bit of a step back after a great season last year, but he is pretty close to the ideal stretch 4 role player, with the main difference between him and most stretch 4s is that Williams is a really good defender. Cody Zeller is currently concussed and isn't expected to play. Marco Bellinelli can shoot 3s and does just enough everywhere else to not be a hinderance. Frank Kaminsky can score and pass, and is a smart, scrappy defender, essentially making him the perfect stereotype of a white NBA player. Jeremy Lamb has shot really poorly this season, but is a fairly reliable 3 and D type off of the bench with some ball handling ability. Ramon Sessions takes the backup PG duties and he is pretty much fine there if nothing more. Spencer Hawes can shoot from center and nothing else, Roy Hibbert is a large human being and not really anything else.

This is a team that plays defense, doesn't beat itself, and counts on Kemba and to a lesser extent Batum to get them enough points to win games. They are good and they don't beat themselves, other than the solace the Pistons can take in being better rested, they will have to be on their games if they wan t win.

 

Matchups to watch:

  • Andre vs. Everybody: Especially given that Zeller is unlikely to play, Andre should have big advantages over Hibbert and especially Hawes. He has a couple of monster games in the books against the Hornets already this year, and if the Pistons want to win they will need a 3rd one from him.

  • Reggie vs. Continuing to steer straight: In his last 2 games, Reggie Jackson has started to really look like himself in every way. There is a lot of negativity (some of it justified) around him right now but he needs to drown that out and focus on playing his game. And he will have a very tough matchup against Kemba so he will need to be on his game.

  • Tobias for 6th man: He really has been impressive since moving to the bench and it is looking like a great match for him. I like how SVG is letting him have the ball more in transition and telling him to attack the hoop more. If he keeps this up then the Pistons could have one of the better benches in the league.

  • KCP vs. Batum: I don't actually know for sure how much time KCP will spend on Batum, but if he does he will have to dig deep. Batum's size has given him some real problems in the past, and when he is getting good looks he can really kill you in a lot of ways. On the flip side, KCP has got to give it back as good as he gets on the other end.

  • Baynes? Aron Baynes sat out practice yesterday, (on a plus note, Bullock is back practicing. Not cleared to play yet, but getting close) and it is still unclear if he will be playing or not. Boban actually looked pretty good in his time in the last game, and I would actually kind of like to see him get a couple more games worth of minutes in.

  • Pistons vs. Not making me sad: I'm an optimist about the Pistons because it is more fun to root for a team when you are optimistic about them. But every loss that keeps piling up kills a little bit of that positivity. Please just start winning some games so we can all go back to arguing whether or not Andre Drummond is elite or what contract KCP is worth instead of wondering whether they should blow it up or not.

 

So in conclusion...

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • Andre is dominating the paint on both ends.

  • Reggie continues to play with a real fire and is passing the ball well.

  • KCP manages to stick with Batum.

 

Run for the hills if:

  • Kemba crosses Reggie over so bad that he literally breaks his ankles.

  • MKG is dominating whichever Piston he gaurds.

  • The Hornets start off the game with an absurd shooting clinic from deep.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Andre does have another monster game.

  • Reggie, KCP, and Tobias all score 20 points. Andre comes close.

  • Stanley Johnson ends up with extended minutes.

  • Pistons look more energetic and win comfortably to head onto the road again with a positive vibe.

 

What do you think? Can the Hornets contain Andre? Can the Pistons contain Kemba?

Game Recap/Notes: game #37, Pistons 116 - Pacers 121. (16-21)

 Another tough loss for the Pistons. Their most glaring weakness reared its ugly head once again, as their lack of any sort of defensive stopper resulted in Paul George closing out the game in all too easy fashion. The Pistons could not stop the Pacers all night, and even though they ended up making it sort of interesting right at the end, it wasn't really that close. As such, the Pistons will continue their soul searching.

 

Box score.

 

Reggie Jackson:

Offensively, Reggie put in what was probably his best effort of the year, scoring 20 points on 18 shots, and a couple of those misses were desperations. To go along with 12 assists against just 3 turnovers, and he had 7 assists to top it off. He had his game going, taking his time in the pick and roll, hitting Andre and shooters for easy looks and nailing his own floaters and jumpers. Also, even though his percentage is actually down, I feel like he has improved his pull up 3 game, because I don't remember him hitting so many last year. Defensively he spent a lot of his time off the ball, and generally was just a part of the mess that was the Pistons defense tonight. A good game overall, he just wasn't able to finish out the game in the same fashion with which he played the rest of it.

 

KCP:

16 points on 15 equivalents, 5 assists against 0 turnovers. Like Jackson, a really nice offensive game as at least one of KCP's misses was a desperation shot at the end of the game. He found his shots and generally hit them, and took advantage of leaky Pacers defense to find open guys for passes. The one thing that is still rather glaringly missing in his offensive game (at times) is his lack of a go to move when he has to create his own shot from nothing, which is a small complaint given how much he has improved this year, but the Pistons should probably try harder to not have him end up with the ball at the end of the shot clock. Defensively, other than a couple of nice plays he was pretty bad. He got straight up cooked by both Monta Ellis and Jeff Teague on several occasions, and was pretty much just as guilty as everyone else in terms of being lazy getting to their spots off the ball which resulted in lots of open shots. Just like Reggie, it was a good game for KCP, but his defense was just not where it has to be.

 

Marcus Morris:

Salvaged his game a bit with a couple of 3s at the end to spark the Pistons brief combat miracle attempt, but even with those 3s he finished with 14 points on 14 shots. As a real plus Marcus, like KCP, took advantage of poor defense to find open guys and ended up with 4 assists against no turnovers. Overall offensively, Marcus continues to struggle a bit, as his efficiency is down across the board. He does a lot of the little things, and I never feel like he is really hurting the offense based on the eye test, but the numbers are really poor for him right now. Him finding his shot back would be a huge boost to the Pistons.

Defensively he got a lot of time on Paul George, and actually did pretty well. The problem is that he spent a lot of time not on Paul George, and that is mostly when the Pistons got cooked by him. I don't know if Morris could've done a better job of keeping him from single handedly putting the Pistons away at the end of the game, but it wouldn't have hurt.

 

Jon Leuer:

I just want to start off here with something, I know that SVG values Leuer as a defender, but I have no idea what exactly SVG was thinking in this game. There were a large number of possessions in this game where Leuer started off on Paul George, as in that was who the Pistons designed to be matched up with him. George predictably killed him, and I am left in some amount of disbelief as to what SVG thought was going to happen, and I am going to blame that squarely on SVG and not on Leuer. Leuer did all that could be expected, which is just foul him, and that is legitimately one of the first strategic things this year that SVG just totally screwed up.

Coaching aside, Leuer was firmly a part of the Pistons mess of a defensive effort, although to his credit he at least tried really hard while being a mess. Offensively he was efficient with 14 points on 11 shots along with 7 rebounds. I mean, he just did his thing, he hit some set up looks, hit a couple post ups over smaller dudes, made a couple of nice passes, and played hard on defense.

 

Andre Drummond:

20 points on 17 equivalents, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal make a gaudy stat sheet for Andre. Myles Turner quite clearly could not hold him in place and Andre made him pay for it many times throughout the game. He really gave good effort on both ends and it showed for the most part. HOWEVA, and remember that this is coming from a guy who spends a ton of time defending Andre and especially Andre's defense. He straight up had way too many plays in this game where he just totally screwed up. It wasn't a lack of effort, it was just a lack of focus. Myles Turner is good, but Andre gave him way too many open looks, and it was clear tonight that the open looks were not because SVG decided to give them up, it was because Andre visibly just would forget to get back to his man. Andre didn't have as many issues as a lot of the other guys on the team, but there were like 5 or 6 possessions in this game where he just ended up in totally the wrong place, and he can't do that. If all it will take to totally confuse Andre is a center who can shoot then the Pistons are going to be toast in today's NBA. So still a fairly monster game from Andre, but the defensive gaffs are pretty glaring.

 

Tobias Harris:

Tobias for 6th man of the year. Tobias remains a bit of a bright spot from the last few games, as he scored 22 points on just 15 equivalents, which is the 4th time in 5 games he has gone over 20 points off the bench. Tobias also had 5 rebounds and a pair of assists in the game, to illustrate his overall game of being a real rock scoring the ball with the bench mob. Defensively he got eaten by Paul George a couple of times. I do really like the way Tobias has been aggressive in attacking the rim on offense since his move to the bench, and I think that it really does kind of show the value of putting the ball in his hands a little bit more than before.

 

Ish Smith:

3 points, 4 assists, 3 turnovers. Ish Smith is a good backup point guard, but he has not been quite as good as I thought he would be after the way he finished up his stint as a starter. I've said this before, but quietly a problem for the Pistons lately has been their bench play, and Ish Smith starting to turn the ball over at the levels of normal humans is a big part of that. Even if he had stayed the starter the Pistons would've hit this slide.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Stanley had a bit of a rough game, 3 points on 1 of 4 shooting, and he got beaten by Monta a few times. HOWEVA, I do really like that SVG has fully committed to trying to make Stanley a true defensive stopper. With the bench mob, Stanley was marked against Monta Ellis, and then later he went against Paul George, and other than a couple of plays he did pretty well on both of them. Watching George torch the Pistons to end the game was a great reminder of how important it will be for Stanley to reach his defensive potential, because the Pistons sorely need it.

 

BOBAN:

Playing for the injured Baynes, Boban put up 4 points on 5 shots, had 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Ideally he will be more efficient scoring the ball, but overall I thought he played pretty well, he was not exposed on the perimeter on defense and even made a couple of really impressive plays. I don't know if Baynes will miss more time or not, but I think the Pistons will be ok if he does.

 

General:

I don't know for sure what the answer is, but the Pistons need to start playing defense again. I am afraid that perhaps my preseason worry of the Pistons being quite lacking in guys who are just good defenders may be coming to fruition, and KCP's step backwards on that end combined with Andre not making much of a leap have made matters worse there. At the very least, the Pistons offense appears to be quite firmly humming again, they just have to find their defense back.

 

 

What do you think? Would you have put Leuer on George?