Tough loss, Marc Gasol had one of the most remarkable games I have seen a guy have in terms of the shots he was hitting. HOWEVA, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and after tonight I am fairly certain that it is not an oncoming train. The Pistons looked bad at the start, but then by the 2nd quarter seemed to have fully worked through whatever funk it was they had.
For the first time this year, he truly looked himself. After leaving the game appearing to be hurt in the 1st quarter, he came back and looked excellent and finished the game with 18 points on 14 equivalents and 7 assists against 2 turnovers as well as being just one of 3 Pistons with a positive plus minus on the night. (+3) At first after returning from being hurt he was clearly trying a little too hard, but then he settled down. He hit a corner 3, and then he went into his best mode, attack mode. He got into the paint and probed and snaked once he got there, finding teammates for good looks and hitting those goofy floaters that are almost hooks from in the paint that he loves so much. He even made a couple of nice defensive plays to go along with it. Hopefully he can use this game as a spring board be fully back into form.
Rough game for KCP, 8 points on 10 shots, 3 rebounds, and a pair of assists with one turnover, and he did nothing to dissuade my decision to officially declare his defense to have taken a small but noticeable step backwards this year. His struggles were well reflected in a game worst -19 in his 31 minutes. It wasn't as bad of a game as perhaps his box score shows, one of his misses was a chuck towards the end of the game and he didn't do anything horrible with his shot selection. He just didn't have a good game.
My usage of shot equivalents was made for this game. Marcus scored 12 points on a night where he went 1-11 from the field. His 10-14 from the stripe puts his final tally at 12 points on 19 equivalents which is not much good. He just missed shots that he usually hits, including a painful 0-7 from 3. If he shoots like he usually does, the Pistons probably win this game quite frankly. And yet, through all of that he somehow ended up with a +4 on the night, likely aided by getting to play a lot with the bench mobs. Either way, not a very good game for Marcus, but he did a good job of attacking and getting to the line if nothing else, and his defensive effort was good the whole game.
Tobias continues to be the guy who has most noticeably struggled in the Pistons recent slide. Tonight he scored just 7 points on 7 shot attempts in 27 minutes. He also grabbed 6 boards and had 3 assists with 2 turnovers. In my opinion, Tobias is actually the guy who needs to find his game back the most of anyone on the team, because he had been on a legitimate all star campaign and has fallen off a cliff. Reggie Jackson taking some shot attempts from him is partially to blame, but that can't explain away why he is shooting just 39% from the field over the last 5 games. Also of note, if the minutes distribution are to be believed, it is likely that Tobias was actually the one SVG planned to move to the bench.
Had a decent game, but was totally overshadowed and ruined by Marc Gasol playing, perhaps, the best game of his career. 13 points on 13 equivalents, including 7-10 from the line, with 19 rebounds is a nice final line. (He did have 4 turnovers, 3 of which were totally his fault.) As far as Gasol goes, I don't know for sure how much to blame Andre. Obviously he gets the lions share since he spent most of the game on Gasol, but other than one play where he got out of position going for a steal, I didn't see any play where he really messed up bad, and some of the shots Gasol hit were straight up ridiculous. Even if Andre had played perfectly, Gasol would've had a awesome game, but when a guy scores 38 points on 14-17 shooting, there has to have been more you could've done better to defend him. (To be fair, other people did get him quite a bit too, it wasn't all Andre.)
Leuer was supposed to start tonight, but got in a car accident on the way to the arena and missed some of the game preparation so SVG decided to leave him in his normal spot for the night. Leuer played very well as he continued to show his full offensive game with 18 points on 15 equivalents and 6 rebounds. He also gets some of the blame for Gasol's big night, and it was a ballsy and successful move by SVG to briefly have Leuer guard Gasol and have Andre just double him. I wonder how it would've gone had they tried it more. Either way, after yet another wonderful two way performance from Leuer, it is very hard to argue against putting him into the starting lineup, and I fully expect to see him there next game.
Bit of a rough outing for Ish, who had 8 points on 9 equivalents and 3 assists with 3 turnovers. He did make a couple of really nice plays, but his turn overs were kind of bad and they continue to be a less talked about thing with the Pistons recent skid, is that Ish has become human as far as turning the ball over. On the plus side, Ish really seemed to help get the Pistons going when he came in early for Jackson.
This is why Stanley needs some minutes, because he didn't score a point and went 0-3 from the field, and yet still had an undeniably wonderful game and posted a team high +7 on the night. His defensive work was excellent as he was very active defensively and even snuffed out a couple of plays by thinking one step ahead of the offense. He needs to find his offense, but for now his defensive abilities are something the Pistons pretty sorely need, especially since KCP has not been the ace he was last year. Another thing, I like tonight's idea of playing Baynes a couple minutes less and giving those to Leuer/Johnson.
Didn't really do much. He only played 10 minutes, he hit a jump hook over Zbo, he got busted by Gasol a couple of times, and allowed several offensive rebounds. I don't know man. I keep reminding myself that Aron Baynes is not bad, but when I watch I keep seeing him as being horrible.
Pistons looked better tonight. There may not really be moral victories, but this game should at least put to ease some of the worries surrounding the team heading into the game. Now no one should be worried about the long term future of this group, but instead just be worried about the next two games being against the Warriors and Cavs. If Marc Gasol hadn't decided to become God for the night then the Pistons would've probably won by a fair margin, unfortunately that happens sometimes.
Why are you always so positive about the team?
I've had this brought up a few times about my general positivity about the team. I am a willing optimist, in that I know that things will not work out all the time, but I will chose to go for it anyways. And the reason is simply because sports are more fun when you find the positive things about it.