Game Recap/Notes: Game #19. Pistons 112 - Hornets 89. (9-10)

 Bit of an odd game tonight. Andre got ejected fairly early in the game, but the Hornets just never could really get anything and the Pistons got some great play out of the bench as well in order to end up with a comfortable win. Best showing on the road all year for the Pistons.

 

Box score.

 

 

Ish Smith:

13 points on just 10 shots, only 3 assists but against just 1 turnover. Played good defense aside from a bit of foul trouble early in the game. Also set the tone by reasserting the Pistons after Andre's ejection, by pushing the pace and being aggressive he got like 3 straight buckets that were huge because the Hornets had just cut it close. Nothing special from Ish, but it was just fine. It should also be noted that he only played 22 minutes so his numbers could've been higher. With Reggie's return now imminent, Ish will likely head back to the bench with a job well done filling in.

 

KCP:

18 points on 15 shots, 7 assists against just 1 turnover. Those numbers really say it all for his offensive night, he was not exactly facilitating in a huge way, but his higher assist numbers this year do show a very real improvement as far as keeping the ball moving and to the right places, combine the good ball movement with a hot shooting night for the Pistons and you end up with 7 assists. And truthfully, KCP's improved passing is almost a more assuring sign right now than his improved outside shooting, because he hasn't really improved his shot selection so far or anything so I'm just waiting to see if I should really believe in his shot or not, but there is nothing fake about his improved passing.

On the other side of the ball, even though obviously it was not a bad night. KCP was an important cog in a good defensive effort gaining a steal and a block, but he continues to not be quite up to the (admittedly very high) standard he set last year. If his offense can stay improved he can be alright still, but it is worrying that he appears to have lost a bit of his defensive fire. Although I don't want to read too much into it until Reggie comes back and KCP is back on point guards more often. Regardless, wonderful game for KCP.

 

Greater Morris:

18 points on 18 shots, 4 rebounds. Not a great night by any stretch, but he did his job more often than not. One place where he really did show up was down the stretch. Marcus is almost like a bruising running back who you turn to at the end of the game to make sure you win a game you are comfortably winning. It is a great luxury to have him on the floor to just toss him the ball and have him just run down the clock a wee bit and then get a decent look out of it.

On defense he was also a good part of the defensive effort tonight, although individually he was against MKG for much of the night which is not exactly a threatening offensive player. Still, a good game for Morris.

 

Tobias Harris:

Started off the game very hot with (I believe) 12 points in the first quarter, and ended up with 24 on just 13 equivalents. 7 rebounds, a pair of assists, a steal and 2 blocks rounds out a really nice game for Tobias. When he was matched up against Frank Kaminsky he made good on the mismatch. Defensively he was also a part of the good team performance although he certainly still had some mistakes on that end, in particular he has to learn how to close out on a shooter without getting blown by after a pump fake.

Still though, I don't want to complain much about this game for him lol, he played wonderfully, and I wonder how many points he maybe could have gotten if the game was closer down the stretch.

 

Andre Drummond:

Got ejected, I hate that call and not just because it was Andre. If you are going to just straight up eject a guy like that there should be some seriously malicious intent. T him up, give him a normal flagrant. But it just annoys the hell out of me when players get ejected for a stupid thing like this. Only played 12 minutes, played good defense while on the floor, sucked in the defense, but didn't get a lot done for himself offensively.

 

Jon Leuer:

Played 32 minutes in a bit of overtime with Andre out, and he just sort of quietly did his thing. 12 points on 12 shots, 7 rebounds. He put the ball on the floor a bit more in this game than he usually does with mixed results, but I do like him trying to maybe be a bit more aggressive, especially with his vision as a passer. Defensively he did a pretty good job against a tired Hornets team, and his effort should be noted as a reason that the Hornets were tired. When playing against a team who is playing their 4th game in 5 nights, if you play hard they will wear down, and that is exactly what Leuer did. Even if it isn't a huge deal, he certainly played well.

 

Aron Baynes:

8 points on 8 equivalents and 8 rebounds in 22 minutes. Baynes got a little extra work and he did just fine, although he was not able to pull out a heroic performance like he did the last time he had to fill in for Andre. He was perfectly acceptable on both ends, although I am starting to lean further and further towards wanting to just give all the backup center minutes to Leuer.

 

Beno Udrih:

7 points on 6 shots to go along with 7 assists. Defensively he was, um, overmatched when he had to try and guard Kemba for a couple of stretches, but that is pretty much to be expected. Offensively Beno just knows what he is doing and he still has enough quicks to get to the spots he likes. Once Jackson is back and settled in Beno could become a decent trade chip for the Pistons if they want, I hear the Grizzlies (A team Beno spent some real time with) may be looking for a point guard. That said, if they just hold onto him all year then the Pistons have enviable depth at the point guard spot.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Only played 10 minutes, didn't do a lot. His defense looked good even if he didn't record any stats. The one shot he hit was in garbage time though.

 

Darrun Hilliard:

Getting some real playing time again, and he looks like he may have found a bit of his game at the NBA level. 5 points on 4 shots and a steal, he is pretty good at handling the ball for a wing and looks more comfortable on defense. I will want to give at least a few weeks of him being consistently in the rotation before I pass much judgement either way, but his early returns are good right now.

 

BOBAN/Gbinije:

Played 2 minutes garbage time. Boban missed a shot, Gbinije hit a shot.

 

 

General:

SVG put it best after the game I think. The Hornets were on the 4th game in 5 nights, so it is a game that the Pistons should be expecting to win, but they did exactly what they should've been able to do. The Hornets essentially tired out in the 2nd half, and it paired with the Pistons bouncing back and hitting their 3s after a miserable shooting night in OKC. Good win, and hopefully the Pistons can pull out just a couple more and get back to Reggie with a winning record. (That would be a great win for the early portion of the season btw.)

 

Stanley?

Hilliard took his minutes in the 2nd half. SVG essentially said that he felt like they just wanted to try something different in the 2nd half because Stanley was struggling offensively in the first. One thing to keep in mind there, Darrun Hilliard is almost 24. Stanley is 20 and was raw when he arrived. It is not a bad thing for Hilliard to be more polished offensively, in fact if he wasn't it would be a really bad sign for Hilliard. HOWEVA, this predicament with having too many wings that deserve playing time is actually a big reason I want Leuer to take Baynes' minutes. Essentially then Leuer does the same thing he does now where he is essentially a backup to 2 positions, and then you cut Baynes from the rotation, and then have Hilliard (or Bullock or Gbinije) and Stanley fully in the rotation.

 

 

What do you think? Hilliard or Stanley? Should Leuer take Baynes minutes? Can KCP keep up his passing numbers?