Game Recap/Notes: Pistons 98 - Celtics 110. (28-30)

Not the way you want to start off the home stretch.

 

Box score.

 

Ish Smith:

The Celtics were determined to make Ish Smith beat them, and to his credit he did his part to try and make that a reality. Smith finished with 20 points on just 12 equivalents, along with 6 assists against just 2 turnovers. The Pistons often went to the tried and tested strategy of “give it to whoever Kyrie is guarding” and it often worked. The problem is that Smith never did enough to make the Celtics change their scheme, which I don't really think is Smith's fault but whatever. The Celtics were content to let Ish get some easy shots in exchange for swamping Drummond and Griffin.

 

Reggie Bullock:

Once again, the Pistons tried their best to put the ball in Bullock's hands more and the results were a bit mixed. He finished with 13 points on 13 shots with just 1 assist. I'm in favor of letting him try and expand his game more offensively, but there is risk. Putting the ball in his hands more has resulted in him at times looking a bit out of shape and over his head. I'm not sure where the optimal number of touches for Bullock is, but the Pistons have to hope he can perform with heavier touches.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Johnson had a bit of a rough outing. 12 points on 16 equivalents with 1 assist is not good. He did have 4 rebounds and a couple of steals, but his defensive presence was not the same as it often is. I still like the aggressiveness he is playing with, posing him up against Kyrie Irving on several possessions is good, but this was not a very good outing for Johnson.

 

Blake Griffin:

Idk about this game man. On one hand, the Celtics paid him an almost comical amount of attention and he also just missed a couple of shots. But like, 17 points on 21 equivalents with just 1 assist and 6 turnovers is really not going to cut it. I'm hesitant to put too much on Griffin's shoulders until a second viewing, but it didn't look good. The game was largely lost when he was at center with the bench, and that is worrisome. Regardless, the Celtics are an awesome defensive team and they put a ton of focus on Griffin so it isn't a huge surprise or worry in the end. Still bad though.

 

Andre Drummond:

Lol, Drummond did not have a great game and still finished with 15 points on 10 equivalents with 17 rebounds and 3 blocks. He managed to assert himself a bit better as the game went on, and at the end of the night he was definitely a problem for the Celtics, but he wasn't as big a problem as he really should be. So I don't know I guess. He played pretty well, but he should've played better. Which isn't really fair to Drummond and I get that, but he has set the bar pretty high for himself.

 

Anthony Tolliver:

Ouch. I actually thought he played alright but finished with 9 points on 9 shots with 8 rebounds and a game low -15. He missed a couple of bunnies after offensive rebounds which was especially painful. One thing that I will say for him is that he looked a bit extra bouncy which is good to see.

 

James Ennis:

This dude can play. 6 points on 7 equivalents with 4 rebounds doesn't look like a lot, but SVG should probably be giving serious thought to starting him. Ennis is probably the best two way wing on the roster.

 

Luke Kennard:

2 points on 3 shots. Really didn't do a lot. Struggled to get anything worth shooting against the swarming Celtics defense.

 

Jameer Nelson:

I was pro-Nelson and I'm still not ready to bail quite yet. But he has to do better than this. It is obvious the benefit that his offensive skills bring to the table, but he has made too many bad plays and not hit enough shots on that end, while simultaneously not being able to guard anyone on defense.He is a better shooter than he has been with the Pistons, but the problem is that the Pistons don't really have time to let him regress to the mean and the Pistons have been awful with Nelson on the floor.

 

General:

Saw a lot of people fussing about the offensive performance. Don't fuss about that. The Pistons missed a lot of make able shots and the Celtics are the best defense in basketball for a reason. They have made a lot of teams go through stretches of just not being able to score, even at the Pistons high water mark they were not a great offense. The bigger worry was the defensive effort, because just as the Celtics are great defensively they are mediocre offensively. A second viewing should help me decide how much of it was bad defense and how much was just Theis hitting shots, but it wasn't good. All in all though, Pistons shooters missed shots, Celtics didn't, and the Pistons lost to a really good team. This isn't how you want to start off the home stretch but at least let them play a team that is not one of the best 5(ish) in the league before you totally jump ship.

 

 

What do you think? Was it bad defense or good offense? Should they change the starting lineup?

Opponent Scouting: Boston Celtics. (40-19)

Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will return from the all-star break to host the Boston Celtics at the LCA. This is the first game back from the break for both teams so they are well rested.

 

The Them:

The Celtics are really good, even if they have been slipping a bit recently. They come into this game with the 21st offensive efficiency in the NBA, scoring 104.4 points per 100 possessions, but they butter their bread on the defensive end with the best efficiency in the NBA by allowing just 100.9 points per 100 possessions. They hold the 4th best net rating in the NBA at +3.5.

The Celtics run out all-star Al Horford at center and occasionally power forward and he is their best player. He is the anchor for their all-world defense and his passing, shooting, screen setting, and versatility are the things that keep the offense afloat no matter how many spectacular Kyrie Irving isolations you see. Horford leads the team in assists per game at 5.1. Horford also of course struggles on the glass and against bigger guys, especially against Andre Drummond. Despite previous statements, Kyrie is number two not because he is bad, but because Horford is really good. Irving is an electric scorer in isolation, shoots threes like crazy, and is one of the handful of guys who can single-handedly win a game by just getting buckets.

After their top two guys the Celtics are a collection of tough and good players. Jaylen Brown has made really good progress in year two, he's learned to shoot, he defends every position, and even has some secondary playmaking skills. Jayson Tatum is still stupidly good for a 19 year old, although he has started to drop off lately and does in fact still make the occasional rookie mistake. Marcus Smart does not really offense so good, but he is a bull-dog on defense and the sort of try hard guy that every coach loves. Marcus Morris is doing his thing, he plays tough defense, and can get tough buckets on offense.

Terry Rozier can shoot threes, Aron Baynes is a large human, Daniel Theis is also a large human, Semi Ojeleye is a young wing who probably isn't very good, Greg Monroe is here now too.

This is perhaps the best coached team in the NBA, they defend like crazy, and scrape out points on offense with heavy motion and Kyrie Irving isolations. There has been some weakness shown in the games leading up to the break, but even with that, this team is pretty stinking good.

 

Matchups to watch:

  • Celtics vs. Pistons size: Andre Drummond has been a huge throne in the side of the Celtics. Now there are two huge guys up front who dominate the paint. Monroe and Baynes will likely get heavier minutes than usual. Stevens will have some things ready, but this is going to be a challenge for the Celtics.

  • Pistons vs. Kyrie Irving: I don't really miss Avery Bradley. I didn't turn on him like a lot of people did, but his departure made room for my beloved son Reggie Bullock so I can't complain. Tonight I think we will all miss Avery Bradley. I have no idea what the Pistons can do to guard Irving in this game.

  • Pistons vs. Cohesion, rest, scheme: The Pistons were often a mess since the Griffin trade, which makes sense and is ok given the circumstances. It doesn't have to be perfect now, but after the break things should be improved. Lets see what sort of stuff the coaching staff has pulled out of the break. One thing worth mentioning, remember that they are going against the best defense in basketball. If the offense looks bad don't panic, the Celtics have made a lot of offenses look bad this year.

  • Stanley Johnson vs. Not slowing down: One reason that Stanley Johnson started to thrive is that he thrives in the chaos created by such a radical trade. Assuming the Pistons are better organized now, it is important that he stays aggressive and that the coaching staff finds places to let him do so.

  • Pistons vs. Hitting the ground running: The Pistons do not have an especially challenging schedule by record, but they do play a lot of games on the road. The margin for error is all but gone. Get a win right away to get started.

 

So in conclusion...

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • Andre Drummond has a double double in the first quarter.

  • Blake Griffin is thriving as he is more comfortable and knowledgeable in the offense.

  • The Pistons find some way to hold Kyrie Irving in place.

 

Run for the hills if:

  • Kyrie Irving starts scoring.

  • The Celtics defense totally smothers the Pistons offense.

  • Marcus Smart banks in a three.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Drummond 20/20.

  • Kyrie Irving is contained. I'm not sure how but just let me believe this.

  • Griffin has his best game in a Pistons uniform.

  • The Celtics offensive ineptitude from before the break continues, the Pistons win a ugly game through the brute force of Drummond and Griffin.

  • Pistons 98 – Celtics 85.

 

What do you think? Can the Pistons contain Irving? What sort of schematic changes will the Pistons make?

Opponent Scouting: Atlanta Hawks. (19-30)

Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will be hosting the Atlanta Hawks for their last game before the all-star break. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Pelicans on Monday, while the Hawks are on the second night of a back to back after losing to the Bucks last night.

 

The Them:

The Hawks are bad. Even though they beat the Pistons just a few nights ago. Dennis Schroder is good, Kent Bazemore has bounced back. Yadda-yadda I literally wrote this like a couple days ago. The Hawks are bad. John Collins is the brightest spot on the team.

 

Matchups to watch:

  • Pistons vs. Energy: Last time out the Pistons played with very poor energy which was not unexpected given that they were on the second night of a back to back and third game in four nights. Now the shoe is on the other foot though so the Pistons have no excuse.

  • Blake Griffin vs. Going to the hoop: I thought the Pistons and Blake did a better job of this against the Pelicans but they must keep it up. Until they can get more stuff installed to really tak advantage of Blake they have to try and make his post ups and isolations easier.

  • Drummond vs. Not much: Drummond was very good against the Hawks last time out which makes sense because the Hawks don't have many good bigs. Look for him to repeat that.

  • Pistons vs. Hitting open shots: This killed the Pistons against the Pelicans. Don't miss open shots again please.

  • Pistons vs. Going out on a high note: A comfortable win would do a lot for morale I think. Reggie Jackson's return will be right around the corner and everyone gets to rest up for a bit. Win this game, go into the break with your heads up.

 

So in conclusion...

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • The Pistons look fast and the Hawks look tired.

  • Pistons shooters don't miss open shots.

  • Andre Drummond dominates both ends of the court again.

 

Run for the hills if:

  • Maybe having one shooter in the starting lineup is a bad idea?

  • Griffin still looks kind of spent having to work so hard for his buckets.

  • The Pistons play like crap.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Drummond 20/20

  • Griffin goes for 30 points.

  • The Hawks look slow.

  • The Pistons come out angry and put the game away quickly.

  • Pistons 122 – Hawks 100.

 

What do you think? Can they go into the break on a good note? Can they get the offense unstuck?

Game Recap/Notes: Game #56. Pistons 103 - Pelicans 118. (27-29)

That sucked. Third game in four nights against a team that loves to run is always a bad recipe, but that doesn't make it suck less.

 

Box score.

 

Ish Smith:

Smith had a better game than his last time out, which admittedly isn't saying much, but he wasn't so bad. Smith finished the night with 11 points on 11 equivalents with 6 assists against 2 turnovers in 24 minutes. I'm officially at the point where I am almost unendingly frustrated by the way his lack of shooting strangles the offense but at least he remembered what color jerseys the Pistons were wearing tonight.

 

Reggie Bullock:

First time in a while where he wasn't really good. 14 points on 15 equivalents with 4 rebounds and an assist in 30 minutes of play. SVG made good on his statement that they needed to get him more directly involved in the offense instead of just hoping the ball finds him. He got more dribble handoffs and ran more actual pick and rolls than he probably ever has, and even though the results were a little bit mixed, this is definitely something worth trying, especially until Reggie Jackson comes back.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Stanley Johnson continues to be intriguing, good, and also strange. 10 points on 8 equivalents with 3 rebounds and a pair of assists in 28 minutes of work, and he also was the only non-garbage time Piston to go positive at +1. He actually hit a pair of threes tonight which was nice, but teams ignore him off the ball and he doesn't have the ball in his hands a ton, and yet I still often have felt like the Pistons offense runs better with his ferocious drives and quick passes on the floor. The downside to Reggie Bullock getting more touches is that it appeared to come out of Stanley Johnson's touches mostly.

 

Blake Griffin:

Another kind of rough game but things moved in the right direction with Griffin I think. 22 points on 20 equivalents along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 32 minutes of work. He was less willing to take jumpers, didn't have to work post ups from the three point line so often, and was a more willing passer. If Piston shooters hadn't clanged so many open threes his final tally would've look a lot better (as would the final score) so thats worth mentioning. I thought he played a good offensive game and his shot selection and involvement in the offense trended the right way after a pair of games featuring way too many jump shots and isolations.

The down side is that he is still struggling a bit to get the ball in the hoop. Part of that is the terrible spacing of the starting lineup, but he is still missing some shots he usually hits. The bigger problem though is that for the third straight game he struggled to close out on shooters which lead to Nikola Mirotic having a huge game. I think it will not be a long term problem, but it has killed the Pistons at times over the last three games.

 

Andre Drummond:

Struggled a bit on offense with 13 points on 16 equivalents with just 1 assist. But he did his job on the glass with 21 rebounds including 8 offensive, he joined everyone else in not playing great defense but I thought he played better than most did. He joined Griffin in just missing some bunnies at the hoop that you would expect him to hit, for Drummond they were mostly after offensive rebounds. He managed to take advantage of the lack of size the Pelicans had on the floor to get the ball but he just couldn't finish. So it wasn't a great game for Drummond, but I thought he did pretty well.

 

Jameer Nelson:

I've got good news, bad news, and worse news. The good news is that Nelson has the right combination of scoring and passing to make the Pistons offense look not awful while he is on the floor. The bad news is that tonight he went 1-6 from deep despite all but one of them being great looks. The worse news is that I'm not sure he can defend anybody. If he hits a couple more threes then maybe it is fine, but it isn't good to have a guy on the floor who defends so poorly. In the end though, Nelson finished with 12 points on 12 shots with 5 assists in 20 minutes of play. There is no denying that the Pistons offense just goes better when he is on the floor, and the question will be whether or not he can defend anyone.

 

Anthony Tolliver:

6 points on 9 equivalents just isn't good enough for Tolly, especially given that he totally blew a dunk which hurt. The thing that made it worse though is that he could not even remotely replicate his early season success at guarding good power forwards as Anthony Davis totally roasted him. Obviously I do not expect Tolly to shut the man down, but it was a massacre.

 

Langston Galloway:

Back in the rotation and another 1 for 6 night. Rough outing.

 

James Ennis:

5 points on 6 equivalents, didn't do a whole lot.

 

Luke Kennard:

Only played in the second half, 5 points on 2 shots with 3 assists.

 

Eric Moreland:

Got a few actual minutes in the first half for the second straight game. I'm actually ok with that, even if it is just a 4 to 6 minute stretch in the first half, it saves Griffin from playing too many minutes plus some wear and tear to not have to play center.

 

Ellenson/Buycks:

Got some garbage time. Didn't really do much.

 

General:

I've said this before, but in a vacuum this game doesn't bother me much. The Pistons were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights and a back to back against a team that loves to run at every opportunity. The Pistons are not the first team to go against the Pellies on a back to back and get run to death this season and they will not be the last. That said, the fact that they blew the Hawks game makes this one more painful. If they hadn't blown that game then they could look to one more game against the Hawks before the break and go into all-star at .500. Now that game is a really important one to win. The good news is that I mostly liked the adjustments that the Pistons made offensively, they just played awful defense and their good shooters missed open looks. Still, if the Pistons want to make the playoffs this year then they can't drop games just because they are tired and they had some moral victories by making good steps towards getting Griffin more comfortable and re-building the offense with his presence.

 

What do you think? Should Bullock have a heavier load? Can Jameer Nelson play enough defense to stay on the floor?

Opponent Scouting: New Orleans Pelicans (29-26)

Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will be hosting the Pellies from New Orleans. The Pistons are on the second night of a back to back after losing to the Hawks last night, while the Pellies are on one day of rest after beating the Nets in overtime on Saturday.

 

The Them:

The Pelicans are mostly just trying to stay afloat without DeMarcus Cousins at this point, but they will still be a tough out. Even though the team is different without Cousins, they have the 8th best offense in the NBA at 107.3 points per 100 possessions and the 20th defense by allowing 107 points per 100 possessions.

The Pelicans are of course led by Anthony Davis, who is really good. Dude can shoot, roll, pass, and handle the ball. He's stupidly good. After him Jrue Holiday is having a really nice bounce-back year and the Pistons have struggled to contain quick guards over the last few games. Nikola Mirotic was acquired from the Bulls and he is still a streaky shooter who can burn you if you let him. E'Twaun Moore is a pretty decent three and D player. Rajon Rondo is still here, he doesn't shoot threes, but he can still pass and do Rondo stuff even if he isn't all that good anymore. The bench is, um, not great in New Orleans. Darius Miller has shot reallyw ell this year, Ian Clark has been bad, Cheick Diallo is a guy, DeAndre Liggins doesn't really offense so good.

Without Cousins this team is really in a rough spot. They were already teetering on the edge of having enough NBA caliber players to have a competent rotation, and without Cousins it is that much harder to cover for those guys. As long as Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday are playing they will still be tough though.

 

Matchups to watch:

  • Drummond vs. Davis: Since Cousins went down, Davis has spent a lot more time playing center. Davis' ability to shoot and put it on the floor will certainly give Drummond some trouble, but Drummond is also much bigger and stronger. It will be an interesting battle of styles.

  • Blake Griffin vs. Weaknesses: While Drummond battles with Davis, Griffin is likely to spend most of the night against Mirotic and the 21 year old Diallo. The Pistons need him to hit his shots again, and this will be a good night to do it. Also worth noting, he's struggled to close out effectively on shooters which worries me given that Mirotic is likely to be his guy a lot.

  • Refs vs. Not calling a billion fouls: After a second viewing I actually think that the Pistons were in the advantage when all was said and done, but that Hawks game was awful to watch. No flow, no transition plays, no nothing. It dragged. Don't do that again.

  • Pistons vs. Getting back in transition: The Pellies love to run, and they try even more without Cousins. The Pistons must make sure they are smart about getting back.

  • Ish Smith vs. Bouncing back: Ish was awful last time out and the Pistons cannot have that. The good news is that the Pellies like to play an up and down track meet game, which is Ish's specialty.

  • Griffin vs. ATTACK: Too many jumpers. I don't mind him taking jumpers to be clear, he will hit more than he has so far as a Piston and its important he keeps defenses honest, but he needs to be less willing to just do it, don't let them off easy.

 

So in conclusion...

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • Drummond is bullying Anthony Davis in the paint and sticking with him on the other end.

  • Blake Griffin comes out angry and destroys whatever poor saps the Pelicans put on him.

  • Ish Smith looks right at home in the track meet game.

 

Run for the hills if:

  • Griffin is still just off.

  • Drummond gets into foul trouble.

  • The Pistons continue to struggle to find good lineups.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Drummond plays Davis to a draw, maybe even wins his matchup.

  • Griffin plays really well even if the numbers don't end up being huge.

  • Ish Smith bounce-back.

  • The Pistons play with good effort and look more comfortable in a wide open up and down game.

  • Pistons 119 – Pelicans 110.

 

What do you think? Can Blake get right? Drummond or Davis?

Game Recap/Notes: Game #55. Pistons 115 - Hawks 118. (27-28)

That sucked. In every way. Awfully reffed, not just against the Pistons. Game dragged on, neither team ever got into any sort of rhythm, and then the Pistons lose. It has been a while since I had such little fun watching a basketball game.

 

Box score.

 

Ish Smith:

Holy crap this was awful. Ish Smith played 29 minutes, scored 2 points on 4 shots, had 7 assists with 5 turnovers and 5 fouls. The fouls are only kind of his fault because the refs were awful but still. Even though his +/- didn't end up as bad, I really do feel like this game was on him. Because his lack of shooting his overall impact on the game is almost always worse than whatever the numbers showed and the numbers were awful. Normally he doesn't play this poorly of course, but I'm kind of at the point where you have to take Ish out of the starting lineup. His game just doesn't work with the starters especially with Blake Griffin's arrival and the re-insertion of Stanley Johnson to the starting lineup. Start Nelson, start Galloway, start Buycks, say screw it and go without a point guard. Ish Smith shouldn't start. (I now prepare for Ish to have a great game next time out just to spite me. You're welcome)

 

Reggie Bullock:

Reggie Bullock is still Ray Allen so thats fun. 20 points on 15 equivalents with 5 rebounds and a pair of assists in 34 minutes of play. The one thing is that the Pistons continue to struggle to get him looks in the second halves of games. He also once again struggled to contain a quick perimeter scorer in Dennis Schroder (after struggling with both Lou Williams and Austin Rivers last night) which is a bit surprising and disappointing because he has had good moments defensively this year. One good thing is that SVG was vocally upset about the lack of shots for him in the second half so hopefully they make more efforts to find him next time out.

One thing to mention as a nice positive from him lately is that he has really hit the defensive glass. SVG seems to have made it a focus for the guards and wings to not just assume Drummond is getting all the rebounds, and there have been several times where Bullock has come up with rebounds in traffic.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Bit badly by the foul bug of the awful refs saw him play just 20 minutes. Other than the fouls he did play pretty well in those minutes with 8 points on 5 equivalents. He just struggled to stay on the floor mostly, in good news he went 2 of 3 from deep which is nice.

 

Blake Griffin:

Two straight nights of rough play for Griffin. Part of it is just comfort with his surroundings. The offense is not likely to look smooth with Griffin for this entire season. I wonder also if part of it is just fatigue from everything that has happened, he admitted a few nights ago that he was a little wiped out from everything. Which isn't good but he is a human, he just had to totally pick up his life and move somewhere totally different with almost no warning. The only other good thing to mention is that he had a rough outing and still finished with 20 points on 23 equivalents with 7 rebounds and 6 assists against just 2 turnovers. (He technically had 23 points but the last 3 was a meaningless chuck as time expired that banked in so I'm not going to count it.) That is not good enough efficiency scoring the ball, and he went a terrible -21 on the night, but it is worth mentioning that his bad nights are not all that bad lol.

That said, it was a bad night for a few different reasons. The good news is that the Pistons offense was not as blatantly predictable as it was against the Clippers and he once again just missed a few shots that he normally hits. The biggest problem with his offense was his willingness to take jumpers. One thing to be clear about is that he is a better shooter than he's showed so far with the Pistons, but when teams totally ignore him I would rather him use that space as a runway to get up to speed and attack the hoop. He could actually take a page from Stanley Johnson in this regard. Once again, perhaps did that because he is wiped out, mentally and physically, and he will be better after a much needed rest over the all-star break. But regardless of the reason, he needs to hit more of those open jumpers, and also be less willing to take them.

The one thing that did carry over from the previous game was that he was too slow to close out on shooters on too many possessions. I still like his defensive effort for the most part, he communicates better than anyone else on the team, he tries harder than most with his offensive burden, and really rebounds. But he has to stick with shooters.

Overall it was just a rough game for Blake. He never got going and is struggling in the cramped spaces of the Pistons starting lineup. One thing worth mentioning in his defense is that the refs were trigger happy (both ways) all night as more fouls were called in this game than any other Pistons game all season while still early in the 4th quarter, and yet Griffin only shot 6 free throws. I think there is a chance he should've been at the line a few more times.

 

Andre Drummond:

(whispers) Andre Drummond may still be the best player on the team. What a difference a game makes, and the turnaround does make me think that maybe he was feeling sick or something last time out because the difference was night and day. 25 points on 20 equivalents (9-13 from the line!!!!) with 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks in 37 minutes of play. He was also the only starter to not go negative on the night as he broke dead even. Him and Griffin still need to figure out how to best play off of each other, but Drummond took care of his business in this game. He defended well, rebounded well, and attacked the hoop at almost every opportunity. This was a great Drummond game and its a shame they wasted it.

 

James Ennis:

In his Piston debut James Ennis was impressive. He was pressed into a little extra time with Stanley Johnson in foul trouble and played really well, showing off the things that made him an ideal trade piece for the Pistons. 14 points on 9 equivalents with 4 rebounds and a pair of steals, he hit a three, got out in transition, made a couple nice defensive plays, and got to the hoop a couple of times. Given the spacing issues, it would not be a shock if he takes over in the starting lineup at some point.

 

Anthony Tolliver:

12 points on 9 equivalents with a pair of boards and 4 assists(!) in 22 minutes for Tolly. He did his job more or less just as he has over the past several weeks. They also got his minutes down a bit which was good to see.

 

Jameer Nelson:

Getting his first action and it was a mixed bag. On one hand, he was very bad on defense collecting 5 fouls in just 19 minutes of play. On the other hand the Pistons offense looked good for exactly one stretch in this game and it was with him in the game, running pick and rolls with Andre Drummond with shooters around them. He finished with 6 points on 7 equivalents with 5 assists and 1 turnover. He will not have to shore up his defensive efforts by much to be a really good option, but I do worry about it. That said, he still went +10 in just 19 minutes and will only get more comfortable with guys.

 

Luke Kennard:

19 minutes, 5 points on 5 shots with a pair of assists. He played pretty well I suppose but he didn't have a huge impact on either end other than blowing a couple of defensive plays.

 

Eric Moreland:

Played 4 minutes in the first half and didn't really do anything but he was +4 in those minutes so I won't complain. I'm not sure what the thought process was behind his playing, I'd like to think that they want to slip him in for a stretch just so Blake can play a few less minutes per night which would be fine with me but I don't know.

 

General:

The defense was bad, and the Pistons have really felt the crunch of their terrible spacing starting unit over the last three games. Against the Nets they toughed it out, and they nearly did it again tonight. But I think something kind of has to be done, maybe SVG will ride it out till the all-star break and use that time to make major adjustments (although Jackson should be back before long by that point which will help in a big way) but I'd swap out at least one of Stanley or Ish for now and I don't know which would be better. On one hand Ish's inability to shoot or score is a much bigger problem for the Pistons, especially since he isn't anywhere near Stanley on defense. On the other hand Stanley would be replaced by James Ennis (most likely) and I'd feel a lot better about putting him in the starting lineup than Nelson, Buycks, or Galloway (at point guard at least for Galloway) but something should happen. Quick turnaround though so I'd be surprised if much changed.

 

What do you think? Is Blake just spent mentally and physically right now? What starting lineup would you use?