Game Recap/Notes: Game #5. Pistons 101 - Nets 109. 3-2.

 

 Well that was disappointing. 2nd night of a back to back will do that to you. The Pistons defense was poor all around in the first half, and it was made worse by the fact that the Nets could not miss, including Brook Lopez hitting as many 3s in the first half as he had in his entire career until that point.

 

Box Score.

 

Ish Smith:

Tough game for Ish, Jeremy Lin gave him problems in the first half (before Lin missed the 2nd half with injury) and he did not get a whole lot done on the offensive end, with just 9 points on 10 equivalents, 7 assists to 3 turnovers, and a couple of boards. He was part of the good defense in the second half, but he just generally struggled to really get the offense going. It wasn't totally his fault since SVG decided to suicide the offense by nailing Andre to the bench down the stretch, but there was a reason the Pistons offense devolved into bad 3s and Mobias hero ball. And a big part of it was that Ish really struggled to get things going on offense. This was the first game this year where I really felt like the Pistons missed Reggie, in that the way it finished as such a slog, is exactly where Reggie's hero ball antics saved the Pistons several times last year. In the end though, Ish didn't have a bad game, just not a very good one.

 

KCP:

Weird game to evaluate for KCP. On one hand, he put forth (IMHO) his best defensive performance of the year and got 4 steals to show for it, although aided by sloppy play from Brooklyn all night (some of the passes were right to Pistons players lol) but 4 steals is 4 steals, and they were not on accident. He also got off to a nice offensive start, as the Nets fell victim to a few back door cuts and also lost him beyond the arc, allowing him to get several wide open shots. His final line of 15 points on 16 equivalents is not a bad one, but holy crap did he tank badly in the 2nd half, including a transition 3 attempt that was so incredibly stupid I don't even know else to say about it. But, in the end I'd give him a plus for the night. His defense was huge, and even though he kind of blew it in the 2nd half, he started off well enough that his final line was fine.

 

Greater Morris:

Like everyone else, he gets some credit for the horrible first half showing on defense, as well as the solid 2nd half. HOWEVA, when SVG decided to wave the white flag, Morris refused the surrender order and went hero ball, and it worked out pretty well finishing with 23 points on 18 equivalents, 4 boards, and a couple of assists. He also got in on the defensive action getting 3 steals on the night. He did what he did at various times last year when games were on the verge of getting out of hand, he put down his head and decided to get some freaking buckets. Really good game for Morris,

 

Tobias Harris:

There is a pattern here between the Mobias combo. Harris matched Morris' 23 points and he did it on 17 equivalents. Joining Morris in attempting to foil SVG's plan to throw the game by just going hero ball at several points and making it work. Defensively he gets some blame along with everyone else, but he was a part of the solution in the 2nd half. He is a super steady presence on offense and has done a great job in picking his spots as to when to attack the hoop. At this point, when Andre is not on the floor an it isn't the bench mobs, the Pistons best offensive option has been, by far, throwing it to one of Harris or Morris and saying “score plz.”

 

Andre Drummond:

Was also a culprit in the 1st half slaughter house. Although Brook Lopez's huge game was not really his fault. Lopez went 4/5 from 3 in the first half on him, and that is a shot that the scouting report says to give him. If he is going to hit that then you just say whatever, but then he kept hitting them and Andre had to leave the paint and it opened up the lane in a big way for others. He did start to kick it into gear in the 3rd quarter and him really starting to compete with Lopez on defense was a big part of the Pistons initial push out of halftime.

Offensively he had a rough night though, he missed (by my count) 4 bunnies that he absolutely just needs to hit with no real defense around him. It's not the end of the world as long as it's one game, but it was kind of baffling, and that led to his 6 point night on 9 shots. On the plus side, he was passing the ball well and his teammates were hitting shots out of his passes for 4 assists on the night.

Not a good night for Andre though, the 3s are not his fault, but Lopez took him behind the woodshed in the post early in the game as well, and even though he only played 25 minutes, 6 points and 6 rebounds is not going to cut it for the big fella.

 

Jon Leuer:

Continues to be the most used guy off the bench with 26 minutes tonight. And he had himself a pretty good game, scoring 11 points on 8 shots, including a couple of really nice buckets out of the post. He also grabbed 7 boards and blocked a couple of shots, and (with the help of hard double teams) played decent defense on Lopez in the 2nd half.

He was in at center for a large part of the Pistons comeback, until it became totally clear that he was totally spent so SVG decided to even furthur suicide the offense by replacing him with Baynes. In case you can't tell, I am not pleased that Andre sat for so much of the 2nd half, but it was really nice to see Leuer get extended minutes at the 5 spot. I personally think he probably is a wee bit more effective as a 5 than as a 4. Really nice game for Leuer.

 

Aron Baynes:

Very Aron Baynes type of game. 4 points on 5 shots and 4 boards. He also got a big block on Sean Kilpatrick out of no where, and he managed to commit 3 fouls in just 18 minutes of play. He finished the game at center, and is the primary culprit in the Pistons failing to secure defensive rebounds on back to back possessions for the Nets which effectively iced the game. Not a bad game for Baynes, but he certainly was not all that good.

 

Beno Udrih:

Not really any complaints with Beno's game tonight. 10 points on 10 equivalents in 16 minutes, 4 assists without a turnover, hit several of those goofy midrange off balance jumpers. It was just another day at the office for Beno. Good game for him.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Another 0 for 4 night for Stanley, and tonight it was not the result of high effort on the offensive glass, but instead the result of one awful floater and 3 (mostly) open 3s that he bricked. He did make a couple of good defensive plays, but didn't have much of an impact. It is kind of frustrating to see him playing so little, but I suppose he has to earn more minutes and with the way Mobias and Jon Leuer are playing, there are not a lot of minutes available at forward.

 

General:

It was a tough loss because the Pistons managed to get back into the game but fell short, but these things happen in the NBA. 2nd night of a back to back and having to travel can ruin a team for a night. I also am a strong believer in the Nets not being complete trash so this is not that worrying. No one outside of Mobias had a very nice game, and both of them are off to wonderful starts to the year, especially Harris who is sporting an absurd 22.3 points per game on 69% (lol) TS%. The Pistons showed in the 2nd half how solid they can be on defense, but unfortunately the hole they dug in the first half was just a bit too deep.

 

You kinda went on a tirade about Andre sitting, and mentioned it several times here. You should probably address that.

Yeah, if you want the basic reason I'm upset about it is just the fact of the matter that Andre is the Pistons best player and it isn't even close, get him on the freaking floor. And it is even more frustrating when the game is put away by giving away offensive rebounds on 2 straight possessions while Andre is on the bench.

 

But free throws:

Why did he put in all the work in the offseason if SVG isn't going to at least give him a chance to show he can hit them when hacked late in games? I think that in his rotation choices it shows the problem with SVG being undisputed top dog, Stanley Johnson has basically dissapeared, Andre sitting on the bench, the Pistons 4th and 5th best players leading the team in minutes (last year) all because of “trust.” Trust caused Steve Blake to play 20 minutes per game last year, and KCP to get run into the ground until injuries forced Bullock into the lineup where he promptly played spectacularly. SVG's “trust” is worthless to me, and if he really had to answer to anyone he wouldn't get away with that sort of crap. (Still love you SVG, awesome coach and everything. This is literally the only complaint I have.)

 

Andre's effort tho:

First off, his effort wasn't actually that bad this game. Certainly no worse than anyone else. Brook Lopez is really good, he's going to roast you sometimes, especially if he is transformed into Dirk for a half. And here is the thing, Andre's effort was straight up bad for the 3rd quarter against the Knicks, but guess what, he pulled it together by the end of the game and made several really big plays to help close the game out. He also was starting to really compete with Lopez in the 3rd quarter and was a big part of the Pistons initial push.

 

Its a teaching moment:

I don't want any teaching moments. This team does not have to be a finished product this year, but they are now in full “trying to win” mode. Even if he isn't giving 100% effort all game every game, the Pistons are a way better team with him on the floor, especially when Baynes is the alternative. It is the same thing as my opinion on Bullock last year. If SVG has such little faith in Andre to play hard at the end of a close game, then freaking get rid of him. (I obviously think that would be incredibly stupid) He is the team's best player, and they can't afford to be losing games so that SVG can prove a point. You either are rolling with Andre as the guy or you are not. If SVG keeps benching Andre at the end of games, then the Pistons need a best player who SVG will let finish games, or the Pistons need a coach who will let Andre do it. You don't win in the NBA with your best guy on the bench. It's just like if SVG tried to have KCP guard opposing 4s every night or something. KCP is not here to guard 4s, you can't win with your best perimeter defender getting clobbered on the inside. If you can't trust KCP to guard on the outside then you shouldn't have him on the team. You could give an example of this for each player on the roster.

 

What do you think? Just a schedule loss or a real problem? What about Andre? Do you like Leuer at center?