The Pistons jumped out to an early lead and dominated most of the first half, and until a 10-0 run to close within 10 at the end of the first half, the Bulls looked like they would roll over and die on the 2nd night of a back to back. But the Bulls fought back and made it a game, until the Pistons bench mob eventually pulled away.
Only played 18 minutes, and it was a very different night from his first night. Tonight Reggie was passing instead of scoring, as he finished with just 7 points on 10 equivalents, but had 7 assists against just 2 turnovers. He drew lots of attention from the Bulls and it yielded a couple of offensive rebounds for Andre as well. The Pistons offense just more functional when he is on the floor. Overall Reggie has generally looked pretty good through his first two games back, especially in that the overall offense seems to have already adjusted to his style of play in place of Ish Smith's. It's nice to have Reggie back.
Offensively, this was actually a really good and encouraging night for KCP, I have often said that he has figured out how to take advantage of games where he is shooting well/getting open (he had that already his 2nd year) but that his problem was the other games. He needs to learn how to have games where he just scores a quiet but fairly efficient 10 or 12 points when he isn't getting open. Tonight he did pretty much just that, he stayed mostly within the offense and didn't force himself into bad shots, and finished with 12 points on 11 equivalents to go along with 3 assists. Defensively it was not as strong for him, Wade seemed to have more success against KCP than he did against others (which was strange and probably mostly a fluke) but KCP certainly did not shut him down. Still a solid game on both ends for KCP.
I hope KCP was watching Morris tonight, Morris started off hot from 3 and had 10 points (I think) heading into half, in the 2nd half the Bulls were much more careful of him and stuck Jimmy Butler firmly onto him defensively, and as a result Morris just stayed within the offense to finish with 13 points on just 9 shots. Defensively he struggled to do much to slow down Butler, but the Pistons never really sent doubles or anything so all in all it was ok. Although several others had turns against Butler for stretches. Like KCP, a solid 2 way game for morris, and it continues to be nice to see him get on track shooting the ball from deep with a 3/5 night.
It doesn't get much more Tobias Harris than this, I am not sure I have ever watched a guy who I was so consistently surprised when they announced that he had just gotten to 20 points on the night, he somehow just does it so quietly. But his 22 points on just 17 equivalents were very important for the Pistons as he continued to be that steadying presence for the Pistons on the offensive end. Throw in 2 assists, 7 boards, a block and a steal, and Tobias turned in a solid all around performance tonight. Defensively he did alright, and even got an extended stretch against Jimmy Butler and did pretty well against him. Nothing special, but he did hold serve at least. Excellent game from Tobias, and he continues to be a truly silent assassin.
Ended up playing only 24 minutes due to some foul trouble and the end of game fouling combined with SVG just riding the bench mob a bit longer than usual (Morris also only played 26) but Andre still finished with 15 points on 15 equivalents, as well as 10 boards a steal, and 3 blocks. Andre was the tone setter early in the game and it looked as though he was in for a monster game until foul trouble sat him down a bit earlier than he would've normally. The Bulls started fouling late in the game and he came out, but in this situation, where the fouling is because the Bulls were down by like 10 and were desperate, is the situation where I'm fine with taking him out. The only way they get back in the game is if the Pistons miss a bunch of free throws and the Bulls start raining 3s. Regardless, it was a good game for Andre on both ends of the floor.
Ish Smith is a freaking wizard sometimes. 7 points on 13 equivalents sucks, but 10 assists with 0 turnovers is pretty remarkable. And even with his scoring, he hit a couple of very important and difficult jump shots in the 2nd half. He harassed various Bulls defensively as well, and was the main catlyst for the Pistons bench mob pulling away in the 4th quarter. This is the bench mob SVG envisioned when he signed Ish and Leuer this offseason. One thing to watch, is that as Ish's minutes go down, in theory that should mean he can run even more since he has less time on the court. The future looks bright for the Pistons bench mob.
For the first time, since probably the game he filled in for Andre as a starter, we got a good Baynes games. 8 points on 7 equivalents, 9 boards, an assist, 2 steals, and a block. Baynes did a good job battling with the Chicago bigs inside for rebounds, and did a good job of contesting guys at the hoop and managed to not be the culprit too much in a game where the Pistons committed way too many fouls. Baynes got his points in the nice variety of ways that he is capable of as well. Hopefully this game can serve as a nice little reminder that it has more to do with other guys why Baynes should maybe be dropping out of the rotation. Baynes is a solid backup center.
This should probably be called “The Jon Leuer” at this point. 9 points on 8 equivalents, 5 boards, an assist, and a steal. He had a super cool dunk in transition off of a Ish pass as well which was cool. Leuer has been super consistent all year and tonight was just another day on the job for him. Hopefully he can improve his efficiency a bit with Ish joining him on the bench mobs more.
He was kind of a mess defensively, I didn't realize it until recording my podcast earlier, but he is averaging just over 5 fouls per 36 minutes, which is insane. Wade cooked him a couple of times but also just missed some shots so it ended up being ok in the end. Offensively however, Hilliard made good on some open shots, and even created a couple for himself, finishing with 9 points on 7 shots. I'm still not convinced he is actually any good, but offensively he does provide at least some amount of creation punch.
I've been riding for him to get some time, and will continue to do so. But man did he play like crap tonight, and if he is playing like this it is hard to blame SVG too much for the DNPs. Although I still want him to play, he has to learn from his mistakes.
It was nice to see the Pistons fend off the Bulls comeback, and it was especially nice to see it come mostly on the back of the Pistons second unit with Ish Smith now leading the way. Good things are in store for this team, and Darrun Hilliard gets to have a nice game on his record now as well.