Game Recap/Notes: Game #57. Pistons 98 - Mavs 91. (27-30)

Very good win, the Mavs are not as bad as their record suggests, and the Pistons lead every minute of the game to head into the break with some decent vibes and in the playoffs.

 

Box score.

 

Reggie Jackson:

Reggie was back in form after a rough couple of weeks, scoring 22 points on just 14 equivalents to go along with 4 assists on a flurry of drives, pullup jumpers (a couple from 3) and general mayhem causing plays. He appeared to hurt himself on a breakaway dunk but came back and played fine. He was the driving force behind the Pistons from end to end and his shot making later in the game was largely the reason the Pistons won the game. He even made a couple of nice defensive plays with a pair of steals which both turned into immediate points. Excellent game for Reggie, he also gets an A+ for body language, dude was high fiving everyone all the time.

 

KCP:

KCP has matched Reggie’s struggles over the past couple of weeks, and even though he didn’t bust out in quite the same way as Reggie tonight, he did have a good game for the first time since the Pellies, and the 2nd time since coming back from injury, scoring 16 points on 15 shots. He didn’t do a ton passing the ball with just 1 assist but also didn’t have a turnover so whatever. He got a bloody nose which sidelined him briefly but was apparently fine. Nice game for KCP even if nothing spectacular, hopefully he can get back on track by the time they come back from the break.

 

Marcus Morris:

Strange game for Morris, who struggled to score with just 6 points on 11 shots, but ended the game with 14 rebounds. I don’t know if there is anything to read into that or not, I didn’t have any idea he had so many while watching. Regardless, I guess he did a good job protecting the glass, and he also spent the vast majority of the night on Harrison Barnes and did a really nice job. Weird but decent game for Marcus.

 

Jon Leuer:

Leuer had a really nice game, as he continually found himself in some space and he took full advantage of the Mavs super small lineups.  His ability to just shoot over smaller guys has consistently been a nice addition for the Pistons. He finished the night with 20 points on 12 equivalents, helped along with 10(!!!) free throw attempts. Exactly the sort of game that shows you what Leuer is about, he just found open space and took advantage. None of his plays were spectacular, just effective.

 

Andre Drummond:

Only played 19 minutes with some foul trouble and then SVG worrying about fouling. Only 9 points and 11 rebounds isn’t so bad considering the low minutes, but it is disappointing he couldn’t stay on the court because his athleticism was proving a problem for the Mavs. He did get torched a bit in the 2nd half by Dirk raining death from deep, and while Andre didn’t play it perfectly, that happens sometimes, he’s Dirk.

 

Aron Baynes:

Got some extra time with Andre limited, and honestly didn’t do much of anything good. Scored just 2 points on 8 shots, but did have 11 rebounds in 26 minutes. The only good thing you can say is that apparently he at least didn’t get in the way of everyone else as he finished with a game high +10 on the night.

 

Tobias Harris:

Tobias got 13 points on 11 equivalents the hard way, mostly on really tough shots over defenders. He only played 24 minutes which I thought was a bit of a mistake, but the Leuer was playing well enough that it isn’t a big deal. Even though he only scored 13, each one was an important basket given the difficulty involved, pretty nice game for Tobias.

 

Ish Smith:

Ish put in another pretty nice game with 10 points on 11 equivalents with 3 assists. He joined Reggie in having more turnovers than he should, but other than that played well. He did all the things we expect from him at this point, running at every chance, passing the ball, playing hard defense, and hitting just enough shots to keep the defense honest. Nice game for Ish.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Stanley couldn’t get any of his 3 shots to fall on offense but did get 2 assists, one of which was a really nice play. However he has often had really nice games even with minimal offensive impact due to his defense, but I just didn’t feel like he was as good defensively tonight as he has been lately. Most nights you can really feel his presence on that end, and I didn’t get that tonight. Either way, not horrible, just not much good.

 

 

General:

The Pistons go into the break in the playoffs and winning games. They are a bit behind where they were hoping to be, but they have got themselves in a spot where they can have a strong finish to the year and still have a successful season.

 

 

What do you think? Can they finish strong?

Opponent Scouting: Dallas Mavericks. (22-33)

Sorry about no stuff for the last game, I was doing homework and not paying full attention to the game, and as it got further away I paid less attention and decided I wouldn’t have any good insights regardless. This is going to be a bit of an abridged scouting as well.

 

Tonight the Pistons host Dallas at the Palace in their last game before the all star break. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Bucks on Monday, while the Mavs are also on one day of rest after losing to the Celtics on Monday.

 

The Them:

The Mavs have started to turn it around a bit after a very rough start to the season, they currently sit with a very decent offensive efficiency of 104.4 and a pretty poor defensive efficiency of 106.2. Deron Williams starts at point for them and he is a fairly capable player if nothing special, Seth Curry is playing shooting guard these days and is shooting lights out and really appearing to come into his own. Harrison Barnes is proving the doubters wrong for the most part by scoring an fairly efficient 20.1 points per game on a very difficult diet of shots, while also essentially playing power forward full time. Wes Matthews has also mostly found his game back after a very difficult start to the year, as he now is averaging 15.5 points per game while launching tons of 3s at a high efficiency and playing aggressive bull dog defense. Dirk now spends quite a bit of time playing center and even though his stats have slowed down a bit, he is still the greatest shooting big of all time and he is playing better as of late after an injury riddled start to the season. Yogi Ferrell might be the greatest player of all time, Devin Harris is still fairly competent, Salah Mejri doesn’t do a ton but he can protect the rim and dunk. Dwight Powell is a good athlete who plays hard, Dorian Finney-Smith has slowed down after a really good start to the season.

 

The Mavs are starting to find their way, they have a very nice pair of versatile wing players in Barnes and Matthews, and with Curry and Ferrell starting to play really well they look like they might have something. They are not a lot of good, but they are not bad either.

 

 

Matchups to watch:

-       Andre vs. Dirk: This should be, interesting. Obviously Dirk will give fits for the Pistons defense as leaving Dirk alone on the perimeter is not an option, but the thought of Dirk having to chase around Drummond in pick and rolls and keeping him off the glass, with only Harrison Barnes on the floor to help him does sound like Andre could have a huge night.

-       Piston forwards vs Barnes: Barnes is really good and scores on lots of really tough shots. Leuer, Morris, Tobias, and Stanley will all likely get time on him and they will have their work cut out for them.

-       Pistons vs Good defensive rotations: One of the Pistons biggest problems this year (defensively) has been making consistent and crisp rotations at the 3 point line. The Mavs struggle with lots of things, but they don’t struggle to shoot 3s. If the Pistons are lazy or unfocused then the Mavs will murder them with the long ball.

-       Pistons backcourt vs Being good: Both members of the Pistons starting backcourt has really struggled lately. Reggie has been passing the ball well (and with higher frequency) but his scoring has been low and he seems less willing to take the tough shots that he is paid to get. KCP has apparently forgotten that you are allowed to make the ball go in the hoop, and if he could fix that it’d be great.

-       Bench vs Being good again: After bringing back the Pistons against Toronto, the Pistons bench laid a pretty big egg against the Bucks, hopefully they can bounce back.

-       Pistons vs Good vibes: If the Pistons win then they enter the all star break on a decent little run of winning games and a record of 27-30 while being in a playoff spot. If they could just really play well tonight the vibe around the team will just be better heading into the final push.

 

 

So in conclusion…

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

-       The Mavs have no answer for Andre.

-       The Pistons are making good rotations and snuffing out 3 point looks.

-       Reggie and KCP start scoring again.

 

Run for the hills if:

-       Reggie and KCP continue to be the brick brothers.

-       Dirk’s shooting totally ruins the integrity of the Piston defense.

-       The Pistons don’t have anyone who can really guard Barnes effectively.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

-       Other than a couple lapses that result in open 3s, Andre largely dominates Dirk and the Mavs inside.

-       Reggie has another efficient game where he gets lots of assists.

-       A KCP resurgence. (Bound to happen at some point right?)

-       Pistons ride Andre and a hot shooting night for KCP to a fairly easy win to head into the all star break.

-       Pistons 107 – Mavs 92.

 

What do you think? Will Andre’s size and athleticism overcome Dirk’s shooting? Can KCP remember how to shoot?

Game Recap/Notes: Game #55. Pistons 102 - Raptors 101. (26-29)

Wooooooo!! That was such a fun game, and an important one for the Pistons. Their record has been better lately and they got back into the playoff seeding, but it was largely due to them clobbering weaker opponents. A win, on the road, against a good team could potentially be a nice turnaround for them. Also the Bulls lost so the Pistons are now tied for 7th.

 

Box score.

 

Reggie Jackson:

Reggie didn’t play a lot, and didn’t do much when he did. Scoring 6 points on 7 equivalents, with 1 assist and 2 turnovers, it should be noted that he probably would’ve at least a few more assists if the Pistons had hit ANYTHING early in the game. He only played 17 minutes as well. He went -25 but I don’t put a ton into that, just like last week Ish outplayed Reggie and yet Reggie had a team high +15 or something and Ish had like -10. Reggie was mostly hot garbage and has remained in his funk, but it wasn’t as bad as the numbers might suggest.

 

KCP:

Just to get it out of the way, KC33333333333!!!!!! He hit the Pistons last two shots and it was huge. That said, KCP was pretty much hot garbage in the game. 21 points on 23 equivalents, and even though he did redeem himself, he took a incredibly stupid 3 pointer at the end of the game, the Pistons were down 5 with more than a minute left and he hoisted a horrible look. I’m also worried about the way he has continued to struggle with his defense, which combined with his continued struggles shooting the ball has combined with the struggles of Reggie to be a major problem lately. HOWEVA, as much as I often complain about KCP’s irrational confidence in his shot and the way he takes some really dumb shots. The end of the game is one of the few times where a totally unshakable confidence, the sort that led him to hoist almost 5 3s per game last year despite being below 31%, is an asset. He had been hot garbage the entire game, and was 1-11 from 3. But Ish found him for a good look and he didn’t hesitate even a moment. So, yeah, from an objective and statistical point of view, KCP was trash. But from an emotional and more fun point of view, WOOOOOOOO GAME WINNER BABY!!!!

 

Greater Morris:

Marcus didn’t do a lot on offense, 11 points on 12 equivalents, joined in the horrible 3 point shooting with an 0-4 night from deep. He did have 2 steals and 1 block along with 4 fouls. All of this would point to a game that was somewhere between poor and fine. But he was awesome. Derozan did have a decent game scoring the ball, often with Marcus guarding him. But as much as KCP did hit the shots at the end of the game, Marcus was huge with his defensive plays on DeRozan down the stretch. DeRozan is one of the toughest isolation scorers in the NBA, and Marcus smothered him on multiple possessions. Marcus Morris, along with Tobias Harris (more on him in a moment of course) won this game, with their defensive plays down the stretch.

 

Jon Leuer:

Leuer joined Reggie and (from the non-fun standpoint) KCP in being mostly hot garbage. Only playing 17 minutes, he scored just 2 points on 5 shots and struggled to defend anyone. Unlike Reggie who has the excuse of no one hitting any shots, or KCP coming through in the clutch, Leuer was just bad.

 

Andre Drummond:

Andre, once again, struggled to put the ball in the basket scoring just 10 points on 14 equivalents. But he also, once again, was doing the other stuff right, he had 18 rebounds including 8 offensive and a steal and a block. Other than the opening of the game where he (for the billionth time) got into foul trouble against JV, he had a good night on the defensive end as well, coming up with several really nice plays down the stretch.

 

Ish Smith:

Ish was freaking awesome. He played the bulk of the minutes with 31, scored 15 points on 12 equivalents and had 5 assists against just 1 turnover and had a couple nice defensive plays. The Pistons were struggling to get anything in the half court against the Raptors for most of the night, so Ish just tried to avoid ever getting into the half court, which was a boon for the Pistons offense. He was instrumental on both ends of the floor and has played out of his mind over the last 2 or 3 weeks. Great game for Ish.

Herka Derka Ish better than Reggie you’re so stupid Joe:

Here is the thing, Reggie has played like crap the last 2(ish) weeks, that is largely undeniable. He’s been passing the ball really well but he hasn’t been shooting well coming off the month of January where he scored really well. But here is the thing, Ish Smith in the moth of January has a true shooting percentage of 66.8%. That is absurdly good by anyone’s standards, but Ish Smith has a career TS% of 45%. It doesn’t take away from the fact that Ish has been awesome the last couple of weeks, and that he has even outplayed Reggie over that time, just the other day I even said in a comment that if Ish was a good scorer he would be, objectively, a better player than Reggie. If Ish is suddenly one of the most efficient scorers in the entire NBA then trade Reggie and Ish is the new starter because here come the Finals baby. But he is almost certainly going to cool off, and it will probably even be ugly, he is currently a full 20% above his career TS%. Ish’s play lately has been great, and it has been a huge help for the Pistons. But is fools gold if you want to try and ride that for the rest of the year.

 

Tobias Harris:

Tobias was the man of the night. 24 points on just 15 equivalents with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 assist. He was the engine that drove the Pistons comeback as he hit shot after shot and made play after play. He was absolutely huge. And even though he didn’t make the isolation stops on DeRozan like Marcus did, Tobias made 3 incredible defensive plays at the end of the game in the form of rim protection when Andre was pulled away from the rim for various reasons. Tobias and KCP hit shots, but it was the defensive plays that the Pistons, mainly by Tobias and Marcus, that were the biggest difference. Great game by Tobias, he showed off his entire arsenal, this game is what people see as his potential. A go to scorer who is also a versatile defender who can make big plays on both ends of the court.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Stanley also had himself a game, scoring 11 points on 9 shots, including 3-5 from deep with 2 rebounds and a steal in 24 minutes. He made several excellent defensive plays as well, and was huge in the initial turnaround in the game. Stanley’s play has been instrumental in the bench becoming an absolute force.

 

Aron Baynes:

Played 21 minutes with some extra time due to Andre’s early foul trouble. He only scored 2 points on 1 shot and had 7 rebounds. He honestly didn’t do a ton of note, but he just sort of did his thing, playing hard and getting in the way of guys on defense. Nothing really worth noting, but he did fine.

 

General:

As stated before, this is potentially a really big win for the Pistons. They’ve struggled on the road all year, and even though they have been winning more games lately it hasn’t quite felt like that serious a turnaround. They now will head to the Bucks and then go to Dallas, giving themselves a very good chance to get to the all star break just 1 game under .500.

 

 

What do you think? Could Ish actually become the most efficient shooter in Pistons history? WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

 

 

 

Opponent Scouting: Toronto Raptors. (32-22)

            Tonight the Pistons will be on the road again in Toronto to play against the Raptors at 7:00 p.m. EST. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Spurs on Friday, and the Raptors have had 3 days of rest after losing to the Timberwolves.

 

The Them:

            The Raptors are very good and mostly healthy again. Kyle Lowry is one of the most complete point guards in the NBA, DeMar DeRozan is 2 pointer Kobe, Pat Patterson might not play but he is a really good stretch 4 who can play defense. DeMaree Carroll is a really good 3 and D wing. Jonas Valanciunas is very offensively skilled but has some defensive deficiencies. Pascal Siakam is a hustle guy who can finish at the hoop. Normal Powell is a maniac athlete at guard, Jakob Poeltl is big and young. Corey Joseph is a really good all around PG off the bench, Terrence Ross is a really good shooter and athlete but often has mental lapses. Lucas Nogueira is a large human. The Raptors have a pair of stud backcourt partners and a good starting lineup along with them.

 

Matchups to watch:

-       Andre vs JV: JV has given Andre some foul trouble in the past with his offensive game. Andre has generally given it to him on the other end, but without the drawing of fouls. If Andre can keep out of foul trouble the Pistons will be in good shape.

-       Andre vs Moving with purpose: Andre has always played hard, that is something I will defend to the end, his problem is that his effort often lacks focus and direction. The last few weeks he has started to really move with purpose on offense and defense and it is yielding some really good stuff. Even though he missed a bunch of shots in the last game, he was getting to the right places and making the right plays. If he plays like that I can live with him having a bad night occasionally.

-       KCP vs Getting right: Other than his absurd night against the Pellies, KCP has not looked good since coming back from injury, and I’m officially a bit worried. Over his last 9 games, which includes his night against the Pelicans, he is averaging 12.4 points on 35.2% shooting from the field, and 30.6% from 3. And his defense is starting to worry me too. He doesn’t need to be a star, but if his shooting regresses and he doesn’t find his defensive brilliance back, the Pistons are in a heap of trouble.

-       Reggie Jackson vs Getting the Ball in the hoop: Reggie had an awesome month of January where he scored 19.6 points and tossed 5.8 assists per game and did it really efficiently, causing me to determine that he just needed some time to get going and he is ok now. In February however, he is scoring just 8.8 per game and shooting 32.8% overall, and 23.8% from 3. On the plus side, he is in another stratosphere passing the ball in that same time period with 6.2 assists against 1.0 turnovers per game. If he wants to try and pass more that is fine, but he needs to get more of his shots down.

-       Stanley Johnson vs God mode: Stanley has been really good lately, even though his shooting has (and likely will continue) come and gone, his defense has been awesome and he is creating shots for others and it has been big for the bench.

-       Pistons vs Getting the good win: The Pistons have started to turn it around lately, but it is undeniable that they have mostly been beating up on bad teams lately. If they can win this game I just feel like it would be big for them, a road win over a good team.

-       Pistons vs DeMar: DeRozan is a known Pistons destroyer. He is too big for KCP to handle effectively, and Morris isn’t really quick enough, and Stanley fouls him too much. One of those 3 is going to have to step up their game tonight.

So in conclusion…

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

-       Andre avoids foul trouble.

-       KCP becomes the flaming meteor that destroyed the dinosaurs.

-       Stanley is smothering everyone who he defends.

Run for the hills if:

-       DeRozan starts hitting every shot he takes.

-       Andre has 2 fouls in the first 4 minutes of play.

-       KCP and Reggie continue to look bad.

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

-       Marcus Morris continues to play really well.

-       One of Reggie/KCP gets out of their funk for at least one game.

-       Pistons win in a closely contest game decided by clutch shooting from the opposing backcourts.

-       Pistons 95 – Raptors 94.
 

What do you think? Is KCP regressing or just a wee slump? Is Reggie just trying to pass more or is there something wrong?

 

Opponent Scouting: SA Spurs. (40-12)

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST the Pistons will be welcoming the Spurs to the Palace. Both teams are on one day of rest with the Pistons beating the Lakers and the Spurs beating the Sixers on Wednesday.

 

 

The Them:

In case you’ve lived under a rock for the last 20 some years, the Spurs are really good. They currently sport a excellent offensive efficiency of 110.3 and an excellent defensive efficiency of 101.3.

 

They are lead into battle by Kawhi Leonard, who has completely made a transition into being a bona-fide super duper star. (Making him something I have been quite wrong about) He is averaging 25.5 points on a TS% of 62.2%(!!!!!), 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and is going for his 3rd straight defensive player of the year award. LaMarcus Aldridge brings up 2nd in command averaging 17.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists and doing it fairly efficiently. Aldridge is a methodical post up scorer and a good defender as well. Danny Green is the perfect 3 and D player now that he has found his shot back to the tune of 40% from 3 this year to go along with excellent and versatile defense. Pau Gasol is hurt right now, and in his place the bouncey Dewayne Dedmon is injecting some athleticism and energy into the Spurs with rim running and effort. Tony Parker doesn’t do a ton these days, but he is still a water bug who knows how to run the offense. Patty Mills is one of the best backup PGs in the NBA who can score in a variety of ways whether maniac drives to the rim or sniping from deep (43% from 3 on 4.1 attempts) and high energy defense. Manu Ginobli has struggled a bit this year, but he is still a wily play maker. David Lee is having a nice resurgence bringing high effort and IQ off the bench. Jonathon Simmons is a athlete who has learned enough other skills to become a rock solid bench piece as well. Kyle Anderson has found himself as being, at the very least, a fairly competent NBA wing player who can pass and shoot.

 

The Spurs are a good team with a bunch of good players. They do literally everything well.

 

 

Matchups to watch:

-       Andre vs. The Fishing village: Even with Gasol, the Spurs wouldn’t have a good answer for Andre, but at least Gasol can give him problems with his shooting. Dedmon plays hard but doesn’t figure to stand much of a chance hanging with Andre. The Spurs will get creative in getting Andre uncomfortable, and he won’t be able to do stupid crap in the post, but he could take over the paint on both ends in this game. And the Pistons will need him to do just that.

-       Pistons vs Kawhi: Marcus will get most of the time on Kawhi, with Tobias and Stanley also likely to get their fair share. This might be a good opportunity for Stanley to get some extra playing time as well. Regardless of who is matched up with him, they need to keep him at least a little bit in check and not get totally swallowed up on the other end.

-       Leuer/Tobias vs Aldridge: Aldridge is very good, and the Pistons still lack any good defensive option at the 4. Leuer can use his length to bother him a bit but probably not much more. I think Aldridge is going to be a problem.

-       Reggie/KCP vs Waking up: The Pistons starting backcourt has been very quiet the last few games. (Since KCP’s career night) Part of that is because the last couple of games they haven’t really been needed, but they are likely to be needed tonight. They have not played poorly lately, but they will need to give more, and this game will be a good indicator of whether they were just sitting back and letting everyone else go the last couple of games, or if they both are actually in a slump.

-       Bench mobs:  This should be really fun. The Spurs bench lead by the speedy and Patty Mills, the crafty Manu, and fearless Simmons go against the Pistons bench mob lead by the speedy Ish, fluid Tobias, and fearless Stanley. The Spurs bench is probably better, but they both are good and play a fun style.

 

 

So in conclusion…

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

-       The Spurs have no answer for Andre.

-       KCP starts raining death from beyond.

-       The Pistons bench mob is out running the Spurs.

-       FAFW

 

Run for the hills if:

-       Kawhi is punking the Pistons on both ends of the floor.

-       The Pistons don’t have a good answer for Aldridge.

-       There is actually something wrong with KCP and Reggie.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

-       Andre has another awesome game.

-       Kawhi is a bit quiet (by his standards) but Aldridge has a big night.

-       The bench mobs are super fun.

-       The Pistons ride Andre with the backcourt coming back alive to a close victory.

-       Pistons 102 – Spurs 97.

 

 

What do you think? Can the Pistons contain Kawhi? Can the Spurs contain Andre?

Game Recap/Notes: Game #53 - Pistons 121 - Lakers 102. (25-28)

Good win for the Pistons, obviously the Lakers are not really an overly difficult opponent but for the 2nd straight game they dispatched a weaker opponent in exactly the fashion you would hope that they would.

 

Box score.

 

Reggie Jackson:

The stats don’t really do his night justice. Just 4 points on 6 equivalents, 8 assists and no turnovers in just 23 minutes. His low minutes was purely the result of the Pistons being up by so many points, as Reggie played a wonderful game where he was firmly in control of the offense and found guys for open looks. It is a bit concerning that he has, for the 3rd straight game, struggled to get the ball in the hoop. But like in the Sixers game, the Pistons never really had the need for him to do so. Very nice game for Reggie.

 

KCP:

KCP once again was unimpressive, but not worrying, for the 2nd straight game. 9 points on 9 equivalents with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. He didn’t have the bonus of having run the offense wonderfully like Reggie Jackson did, but other than that his game is similar. Didn’t play a ton of minutes, didn’t do a ton, but didn’t need too. He threw an alley oop to Andre that just really showed off his improvement as a passer. Just like Reggie, it is a wee bit concerning that he didn’t do more, but given that they didn’t need it he did fine.

 

Greater Morris:

Marcus cooled off a bit but still had a nice game with 14 points on 15 equivalents, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists in 28 minutes. It honestly wasn’t all that different from KCP or Reggie’s game. Doesn’t really stand out but just played a rock solid game and did what was asked of him.

 

Jon Leuer:

Unlike some of the others, Leuer’s game probably wasn’t as good as the numbers indicate. His 20 points are a bit misleading due to the fact that they came on 18 equivalents and quite a bit came in garbage time as he played 34 minutes, 6 more than any other starter. Still, 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists is still a nice game. He ended up padding his stats with garbage time but other than that it was similar to the other starters. Nothing spectacular, but he just played well.

 

Andre Drummond:

The Lakers stuck with their Black/Zubac center rotation, it does not take a genius to realize that they would struggle to contain Andre. Early in the game however, it looked like they might have a chance as Andre blew several very good looks close to the basket. But at the very end of the first half, Andre started to get the ball in the hoop and never looked back. Finishing the night with a monstrous line of 24 points on 20 equivalents, 17 rebounds (5 offensive), 3 steals, and 4 blocks in 28 minutes. Had he been put back in later in the game he would’ve had a 20/20 game almost certainly. He was very active on both ends of the floor and his teammates found him as he found the various holes in the Lakers defense. Huge night for Andre, he was by far the best player on the floor.

 

Tobias Harris:

Tobias got back to his normal ways after a rough outing against the Sixers with 19 points on 14 equivalents with 5 rebounds in just 24 minutes. I was confused a bit why he was playing in garbage time at the end of the game, but now I see he would’ve only played like 18 minutes otherwise. Regardless, Tobias did a good job of taking advantage of mismatches when they were there and got to the bucket. Very good game for Tobias.

 

Ish Smith:

Ish continued his shooting renaissance with 10 points on just 6 shots (5-6 from the field), which just so you know, if he keeps up this sort of shooting the bench mob will be scary the rest of the year. He also had 5 rebounds and 7 assists in 21 minutes of play. The concern though was that he had 5 turnovers, and 4 of them were the totally careless type that are frustrating. He still had a nice game, but against a more capable opponent you can’t be so careless with the ball.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Stanley continued his very good play, scoring 7 points on 4 equivalents with 2 rebounds and 3 assists to go along with some really nice defensive plays in 18 minutes. At this point he is pretty much doing what I had been hoping to see him do coming into the season. He is a beast on defense, and an aggressive athlete who is a willing passer on offense. He still has plenty to work on, but he is firmly back as a good contributor for the Pistons and that makes a big difference.

 

Aron Baynes:

Aron “don’t trade me I’m useful” Baynes has made a comeback of late, with yet another really nice performance. 10 points on 8 equivalents and 6 rebounds. He just did all the stuff you want him to do, he finished on offense and played hard on defense. I think that Stanley’s resurgence has tied pretty closely with Aron’s. To really be effective offensively, Baynes needs to be able to get space to finish looks, and the reality is that Ish Smith doesn’t really scare any defense enough to draw extra defenders, and Tobias isn’t a good/willing enough passer to take full advantage when he does draw extra guys. But Stanley has the right amount of passing and aggressiveness to create space for Baynes. This is also integral to my theory of why Baynes seems to play well when he starts. Either way, Baynes and Stanley definitely have real chemistry together and it is great to see it coming out again lately.

 

Bullock, Udrih, BOBAN, Hilliard:

All got some minutes in garbage time. Only Boban really did anything with a couple of buckets.

 

 

General:

Once again, it isn’t some super impressive win given the opponent, but when you play a bad team at home you are supposed to smoke them to the point that you play your end of bench guys in garbage time, and that is what the Pistons did. The schedule stops being so easy as the Pistons head to play the Spurs next, but they took advantage of some favorable scheduling to go 3-1 over their last 4. Once again, not hugely impressive, but the Pistons need wins in any form, and it is definitely a step in the right direction.