Well that sucked.
Ish had, quite easily, his worst game this year. 2 points on 9 shots, 3 assists against 2 turnovers. And it wasn't just that he put up poor numbers, he deserved to get those numbers with the way he was playing. He was far too trigger happy with his jumper, which he has to take some jump shots in order to keep defenses honest, but he shouldn't take them every time he's open because he just isn't a good shooter. Later in the game he was more aggressive in trying to attack the rim, and he just is not big enough to finish over a legit rim protector like Jordan is. Ish's game is at its best when he is essentially poking holes into the defense and looking for guys to pass it too, and scoring just enough so that the defense doesn't totally ignore him, he has mostly succeeded in this in the young season, but he totally failed last night. The fact that he could do nothing against Chris Paul didn't help the situation either.
Ish had a bad game, KCP had a worse one. And on a night full of bad performances, KCP's takes the cake. He scored 1 point on 7 equivalents, and many of his shots where not of great selection. (although only a couple were of the “wtf KCP” variety) He grabbed a single rebound, and had 2 personal fouls. Those are the only stats he had in his 23 minutes of play. But it was not really his offensive performance that gave him the LVP of the night award, it was his defense. This is kind of weird, because usually when I complain about his defense it is not his fault, its just that he is in a matchup where he spends too much time away from the play to really be an impactful guy. This was not the case last night, and it highlighted the one area where he still does have work to do on defense, and that is dodging screens and general off ball defense. To be clear, it is really hard to guard JJ Redick, he needs very little space to get off shots, but KCP gave him way too much space and had a couple of plays where he was made an absolute fool of. Redick scored 20 points on 11 equivalents in just 24 minutes, the only good thing about KCP's night is that SVG had enough sense to only play him 23 minutes. (Ish only played 23 as well.) This game was also a good reminder of how foolish it is to take a 4 game stretch and declare that a player has figured it out, especially when the player has done this many times before like KCP has.
10 points on 9 shots, which is fine, only 2 rebounds and 1 assist with 2 turnovers (both of which were bad turnovers) and it was just a poor night for Morris, but not the horrible night that the backcourt had. The largest problem that Morris had was that he just didn't really do a lot on offense, and also had a couple of poor defensive plays. Just a very mediocre night for Morris. The one thing I will say for him though, and this was always true last year as well, is that when games get out of hand, Morris is often the guy who is most visibly fighting to try and get back in the game.
Pretty much the same deal for Tobias as for Morris. He didn't have a totally awful game, 12 points on 14 equivalents is not good, but it isn't awful. He had just 3 rebounds and 0 assists, which is not good either, but he is not really there to pass the ball that much anyways, and he didn't turn it over. Just didn't do enough. Essentially, with the backcourt playing like they did, the Pistons needed a big game from the other 3 starters, Andre looked as though he was delivering, but Mobias just didn't do much. Tobias also had absolutely no chance playing defense against Blake Griffin, which is far from a sin, but it is still a bit dissapointing.
Only starter who didn't have an awful game, for people who don't watch lots of league pass games by the way, this game was a little bit what it's like to watch the Pelicans, with the main difference being that SVG had the sense to only play Andre 24 minutes. 15 points on 12 equivalents including 3/5 from the line (woot woot) and 12 rebounds, with a pair of steals and a block is a good line for just 24 minutes. He did have 3 turnovers, of which 2 (by my count) were really dumb turnovers, but he played hard his whole time on the floor and made nice plays. If this game had been closer he would've had a chance for a 20/20 game while playing against DeAndre Jordan, so that is pretty good, he just had absolutely no help tonight.
Sort of a bright spot, like Andre and Marcus he appeared to be one of the only guys who really played hard to try and keep it a game early on, and he did end up with a solid final line of 14 points on 11 equivalents, 6 boards, and a pair of assists with as many turnovers. The problem of course was that he had absolutely no chance against Griffin, which once again is not a sin, but still a problem. He pretty much did his thing by playing hard, and using his variety of skills. Him and Andre where really the only 2 guys that could come away as any sort of bright spot while the game was even remotely in question.
Another guard, another poor night. 5 points on 9 equivalents, 3 assists and 2 rebounds. At least he managed to do it without a turnover though so that is a positive. And look, it was not a horrible performance like Ish and KCP had, Beno can have nights like this and the Pistons still win, but he certainly did not have a good game in his 24 minutes.
The 3rd bright spot for the Pistons tonight, although admittedly a lot of it came when the game was already in garbage time, but still. Stanley now has 2 straight games where he had nice games so that is a real positive to take away, I remember last year Tolly came out of the gates shooting the ball pretty poorly, and then when the Pistons got blown out by the Bucks he got a bunch of minutes in the 4th, and he found his groove and hit a few 3s and it really got him going on a good stretch of play, so hopefully Stanley can make that one good thing that comes from this game.
He finished with 11 points on 8 equivalents, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 turnovers, and a steal. He played very hard and had a couple really nice defensive plays, and generally looked like the best version of himself, which is him just being a super athlete who has real basketball skills. Good on him for using some of the extra time tonight to help him find his game back a bit.
Didn't really do anything in his 14 minutes. 2 points on 4 shots, 4 rebounds, a block and a steal. He also fouled Speights on a 3 pointer, which was kind of a stupid call but still one that Baynes cannot give them a chance to call. I'm starting to be ready for Boban to get a few non-garbage time minutes.
Got 12 minutes in garbage time, scored 3 points on 4 equivalents, with all 3 points coming at the free throw line, also had 2 assists without a turnover. It's garbage time so it doesn't matter, but he looked fine.
7 points on 6 equivalents and a pair of offensive rebounds. Got fouled a bunch, played 8 minutes. I'd like to see what he can do with some real minutes.
On one hand, I'm upset that the Pistons played so poorly, but on the other hand, this is what happens when you run into a legit contender that is firing on all cylinders. The Pistons made plenty of dumb plays, but they couldn't hit the shots that they did get, and the Clippers were hitting everything, even many shots that the Pistons are fine with them taking. This was also probably the game where the Pistons missed Reggie the most so far this year, because the Clippers came in with an obvious game plan of trying to make the Pistons take jumpers, and later in the game, when Ish and KCP tried to force things inside it went poorly because they are both poor finishers inside. Reggie could have forced things inside and actually gotten something good out of it. Even so, it was a miserable combination of the Pistons playing poorly while the Clippers played very well, and on top of that the Clippers are the better team anyways. So whatever in the end, it happens sometimes in the NBA season. Pistons are headed to play the Suns next and they really need that game in order to salvage something from the road trip because playing the Spurs and Nuggets on back to back nights will be hard.
What do you think? Can Stanley use the past couple games as a spring board? Remember that today is podcast day as well.