Game Recap/Notes: Game #1. Pistons 91 - Raptors 109. 0-1.

Welp. Sometimes good players go off. DeRozan is a matchup problem for the Pistons, but this was something else. The Pistons didn't help themselves a lot, but even when they played good defense on him it was useless. It also didn't help that the refs were trigger happy with their whistles all game, which played into the Raptors hands as well.

 

 

[Box score.](http://www.foxsports.com/nba/boxscore?id=30935)

 

Ish Smith:

Ish had a decent game, but had some of his issues. 6 points on 10 shots is not ideal, but 7 assists with 0 turnovers in 33 minutes is ideal and even very good. He is not going to score like Reggie did, everyone knows that, other guys have to pick up that slack. Ish will have games where he scores well, but there will be nights like this where he is pretty much just a facilitator, and if he does that and avoids turnovers that is just fine with me. The problem I have with his offense is that he has a little bit too quick a trigger on his jumpshot. He went 0-4 from 3 and all of them were pullup 3s. I get that he has to take some jumpers to keep the defense honest, but that is the only reason he should take them, especially from 3. He just isn't a good enough shooter to justify them.

On the other end though, he continued the trend from preseason as being a rock solid defensive player. He got Kyle Lowry for most of the night and did a really nice job, although the box score makes it look better than it was because Lowry just didn't really do that much because DeRozan was on fire, but still. Ish stuck with him all game and contested shots and made a nice play to finish a steal that Andre started. He played perfectly fine on both ends of the floor, I just wish he would take a few less jumpers.

 

KCP:

Not good. 4 points on 9 shots, and a there were like 4 of them that were miserable shots. Like, he does not need to be such a bad shooter, there were literally 3 or 4 shots that he just simply should not have taken. If you take those out its 4 points on 5 or 6 shots and it is just a game where he shot poorly but that's ok. HOWEVA, there was one really good progression for him this game, over the course of the game I counted 3 separate passes he made that were REALLY nice passes, which has been another problem for him on offense in the past, and he was rewarded with 3 assists. (although only 2 of them were the really nice passes)

Defensively KCP had a bit of a rough go. He started off invisible as the Pistons opened up the game with Ish on Lowry and Morris on DeRozan, leaving KCP wasting away on Carroll. Eventually KCP found himself on DeRozan, making him yet another Pistons defender who stood no chance, and did get Lowry for a few moments but not much. He did still manage to get a couple of steals and nice defensive plays, but he just can't impact the game in a major way on defense when he isn't taking on ball handlers. I kind of think the Pistons should just risk Ish on whatever wing player (even Carroll) and put KCP on whoever the opposing PG is, because that is his best skill. Putting him on Demarre Carroll is like if you just never had Andre around the hoop so he couldn't clean the glass. When he is wasting away on a non-threatening wing player he doesn't help you. If that means Carroll is attacking a much smaller Ish then so be it. You can't play a guy 38(dammit SVG) and have him do so little in the game.

 

Greater Morris:

Morris (along with Harris) was pretty much the only thing that kept the Pistons in the game in the first half, finishing the game with 17 points on 17 shots, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. Offensively he did all the things that we are used to with him at this point, he hit a bunch of contested jumpers and took guys 1 on 1, as well as going 2/8 from deep. The downside is that Morris was the primary guy who was totally unable to slow down DeMar DeRozan. In the end it was a solid game for Morris, it wasn't really his fault that DeRozan went off but he still gets some of the blame, but he did enough offensively to make it a decent game.

 

Tobias Harris:

This is what Tobias will need to do until Reggie gets back. 22 points on 15 equivalents, and was a very steadying prescence. In the first half when the game was looking like it was going to slip away, he scored several buckets in a row, going hard to the hoop and pressing the issue, which is exactly what they need him to do. The main area that the Pistons will miss Reggie is that guy who is able to get the tough buckets. There were some problems particularly with his passing, ending the game with 1 assist and 5 turnovers, which that is partially a result of him pushing the issue a bit more on offense, which once again, if his efficiency goes down a bit for an increase in volume the Pistons will have to take it, but there were like 3 passes that were just bad.

Defensively he was, yet another, guy who could not do anything against DeMar DeRozan, although I personally will actually say that I thought he did the best job of anyone, as most of the shots where all you could do was shake your head were defended by Tobias. If there is one positive to take away from this game, it was Tobias Harris' play.

 

Andre Drummond:

Left the game early after picking up 2 quick (and a wee bit questionable) foul calls on him. But he also took a hard hit to the face from JV's elbow (that the refs missed) and he sat out most of the first half while the team put him through concussion protocols. He eventually returned at the end of the first half and looked totally out of it and I thought he maybe did have something wrong with him, but he came out and looked fine in the 2nd half. He ended the night with just 24 minutes played scoring 16 points on 13 equivalents with just 6 rebounds. His offense was sort of a two edged sword, he actually looked great in the post and Valanciunas couldn't really handle him. The problem was that Andre was so aggressive in looking for post up positioning that he did not run enough pick and rolls until later in the game. It also had the effect of him not being in as good position to go for offensive rebounds. To be clear, I really like Andre in the post and when he is playing as well as tonight I'm all for feeding him. He's just got to set a few more picks. Defensively he looked awful in the first half, especially the short stretch he finished the first half with. But in the 2nd half he looked better and more engaged, and the Pistons defensive problems were not his. Overall it was a disappointing night because he played so little, but he looked awesome in the post and after he recovered from getting smacked, he was good on defense as well.

 

Jon Leuer:

Not a great game for Leuer, but he generally did his job. 9 points on 9 equivalents and 9 rebounds. He was fairly quiet, and missed a couple of looks that you want him to hit. Although he did hit a really nice fadeaway jumper late in the shot clock. Continuing a nice trend that started in the preseason. His defense was not all that good, getting beat to the hoop a couple of times, but he mostly held his own. Decent game for Leuer, just nothing special.

 

Aron Baynes:

8 points on 5 equivalents and 3 boards. Decent game on offense, but his defensive strategy of “Foul the hell out of everything in sight” was not welcome on a night where the Pistons needed minutes from him after Andre got into foul trouble, and Baynes 5 fouls in just 15 minutes resulted in a Boban sighting. He was totally outmatched against JV which was fairly obvious as well. Not a horrible night for Baynes, but on a night where Andre missed a lot of time, it was not the kind of game you want to see from him.

 

Beno Udrih:

The newest member of the Pistons looked acceptable in his first action. 5 points on 7 equivalents and 2 assists with no turnovers in just 14 minutes. I didn't notice him a lot on either end of the floor for the most part, and that is a good thing because there was nothing bad to notice. Fine debut for Beno, and hopefully he improves a bit with some more time to get acclimated.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Stanley didn't have much impact on this game as he only played 13 minutes tonight. He scored 2 points on 4 shots and 3 rebounds. On defense he was at several places on the court to try and make plays but didn't really do much of significance. I'm a bit bewildered as to why he didn't play more, and the fact that KCP played 38 minutes makes it even more frustrating. I don't know that Stanley would have done better on DeRozan than anyone else, but it has been established long before that KCP is too small to bother him, and Morris was clearly not cutting it either. Stanley seems like the best chance of a guy with the size and athleticism to possibly slow him down, and he barely played. I don't totally get it.

 

BOBAN:

Played 5 minutes after Baynes got into foul trouble, and he didn't do much. He made a couple good defensive plays and messed up on offense once. Still nice to see him get on the floor.

 

Ellenson/Gbinije:

The rookies got 2 minutes in garbage time. Ellenson missed a fadeaway, Gbinije missed a 3 and hit a couple of free throws.

 

General:

DeRozan was on fire, the refs called any and all contact made on Valanciunas for an absurd 14 free throws for him. It happens sometimes. The Raptors are a really hard matchup for the Pistons for various reasons, and they showed why in this game. I'm frustrated KCP played 38 minutes, too many minutes for a guy who wasn't really doing anything of use, Should have also gotten Andre into a few more pick and rolls. Overall though its alright, home opener on Friday.

 

 

What do you think? How about Tobias?

 

Btw, it came up tonight, just so people know, I do twitter during games if that's your thing.