BOOM. That was awesome, then it was depressing, then it was awesome again, then it was terrifying, then it was awesome. Between the Pistons and Wings the past bit I could go for a nice easy game on Friday lol. Regardless, the Pistons may as well go all in on this identity they are carving out for themselves and become the Detroit Jeckle and Hide. Or for a more Detroit friendly reference, the Todd Jones'. Oh yeah, there will be multiple mutha-fukas tonight.
REGGIE-MUTHU-FUKIN-JACKSON: Wow, what a great game for Reggie. But I will just get this out of the way first, Reggie was, um, not good on defense tonight. This is where his occasional gimpyness is most visible, he just cannot stay in front of guys and he was a big reason the Suns had a fast lane to the paint for most of the night. Although (and credit to him) he did dig deep for a couple of nice one on one defensive plays down the stretch, including on Eric Bledsoe to close out regulation. HOWEVA, he was nothing short of brilliant on offense. I'm almost starting to think that his injury might be a bit of a blessing in disguise. Jackson has been much better as a distributor the past 9(ish) games. Even on the nights where he has struggled to score, Jackson has managed a pretty solid assist/turnover ratio. And tonight was no different, 16 assists with 3 turnovers is obviously an awesome line. Then throw in 34 points on just 20 shots, and you have a brilliant game of volume and efficiency. I obviously don't know for sure, but I would guess that will probably end up being one of the more impressive stat lines of the year on those terms. And to pick up on my thought from earlier, Jackson has clearly slowed down a bit with his decisions and been much more deliberate with the ball. Perhaps that is less injury and more just getting into a grove with the offense/teammates. But either way, he is really starting to look comfortable with himself on the court. He scored with a variety of drives and jump shots (plus a few foul shots as well) and his passes were to guys all over the court. Early in the game he was killing the Suns with outlet passes to Drummond and Ersan for easy transition layups, and then killed the Suns in the half court later in the game. Seriously, we as fans can (and even should) argue about how good exactly Jackson is, and pick apart various parts of his game. HOWEVA, it is important to remember that when he is on like this, to just forget any arguments or anything like that about him, and instead just enjoy watching a brilliant player tear apart an opponent. If it was not for his defense I would say this is easily his best game of the year, but even with the defense it probably still is.
KCP: Dear Stan, stop. I'm not kidding, if Bullock/Hilliard are truly so incompetent that KCP needs to play this much, then get rid of one of them and try and find someone who can play. Even though KCP (like Reggie) dug deep towards the end of the game for some nice defensive plays, KCP was having defensive lapses that he has not really had all year. And it almost resulted in Brandon Knight saving the game for the Suns. KCP was dead tired, I don't care if he is young, athletic, hard working, etc. He is not super man, SVG has to either just play one of the guys on the roster a bit more, or somehow find someone who can spot KCP even 5(ish) minutes per game. To be clear, I am not calling for some monumental move or anything, but if Bullock is actually THAT bad, then there is no reason to have him around. I personally would rather he get a real chance, as in take like 5-10 games where Bullock plays 10-15 minutes a night, no matter how poorly he plays. But I can understand why SVG would be hesitant to do that,but the reality is that KCP needs more rest. KCP's game relies so much on him being freaking relentless that when he is spent, he loses a lot of his value. HOWEVA, even with the huge minute total, and making a lot of uncharectaristic mistakes, it should still be noted that Knight did still only manage 22 points on 21 shots. So even on a night where he is clearly a bit off, he is still pretty stinking good. The shot is officially a cause for concern at this point though, even though he hit a super ballsy step-back 3 in the corner late in the 4th quarter, 10 points on 11 shot equivalents (10 FGs, 1 trip to the line) is not good. FWIW KCP did seem to be looking a little more for passes this game, and even made a couple good ones. But it is pretty clear that he is just not that good a passer/does not have great vision. Which is ok, he's a shooting guard, but he needs to shoot better. Still though, his hustle is undeniable, and there is literally no other option for many minutes at SG, so a decent night for KCP.
GREATER-MOTHA-FUQUIN-MORRIS: I decided that I would cheat and declare him Greater Morris once again by default since Markieff did not even play tonight, but the Marcus went out and scored 24 points on just 10 shots. (15 shot equivalents) and also threw in 14 boards and 3 assists for good measure. Oh yeah he also made THE PLAY OF THE GAME BY STEALING A PASS TO GIVE THE PISTONS A CHANCE. Ok so real talk though, that was an awesome play, Marcus sometimes struggles a bit in one on one defense, and also can have some mental mistakes. But he has long arms, and almost always has his head on a swivel. His 1.4 steals per game does not seem like a big number, but it is solid for a SF who is not an awesome defender otherwise. And he is freaking awesome at turning steals into transition points, I've said this a few times now, but he is an excellent transition player. Also, he is a much better rebounder than his totals usually suggest. He is great at picking his spots, most of the time he is fine with letting Andre/whoever else snatch up the board and Morris just heads for the other end of the court. But when Morris sees he's needed he throws himself into the fray and he is a freaking force when he gets there. Like, when he decides to go for it, this guy is a monster on the glass. And lastly, for most of the game, Morris was the only guy who seemed to realize that the Suns where missing their starting front court, and so he crashed the boards hard inside. Also, 3/4 from 3, (please be done with shooting slump) and his overall shooting percentage has now climbed back up to 40% even. (!yay!) Simply put, Morris was a man on a mission. Mission accomplished Oh greatest of the Morrii.
P.S. on Morris, this might go horribly, but I have a new lineup I desperately want to see. I want to see Marcus Morris play center in a lineup. Poor mans Draymond?
Ersan Ilyasova: Had a super fast start, and then went away for most of the game. But that fast start was huge. He hit a few deep shots, and also jumped out in transition for a couple of really easy buckets. Although it was painful to see him clank 2 of the 3 free throws he drew at the end of the game. But still, this is the Ersan the Pistons need more of. Obviously he will not score 20 a night, but when teams leave him open/put little dudes on him, he needs to punish them. And that is exactly what he did tonight. Also, just a quick 'Thank you' to Ersan. On this team where everyone is shooting worse than expected, Ersan has been freaking stroking the ball so far this year. Good game for Ersan.
ANDRE-MOTHER-FUCKING-DRUMMOND: So there have been several times (including the last Suns game) where I was going to declare Drummond a mother fucker, but decided to pass him over due to poor free throw shooting. And even though he only ended up 6/17 from the line tonight, THIS DUDE HIT 2 FREE THROWS WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE AND IF THAT IS NOT WORTHY OF MOTHER-FUCKER STATUS I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS. Seriously, that was awesome. And even though, with such a small front court across from him, Andre should have had a bigger game than he did, but it is hard to complain about 22 points and 12 rebounds. He had a tough matchup for much of the game against Jon Leuer (who holy crap by the way. Any Suns fans, that dude is really good.) who can really shoot the ball, but he generally managed ok. It was also hard for him to protect the paint given the constant penetration the Suns were getting. But this sort of game is why Andre is the dude who is being built around. He did not have an awesome game on defense, on the boards, and was off with his post ups. (2/5 by my very unofficial count on post ups) and yet he still scores 22 points and grabs 12 boards. But it doesn't even matter, those free throws were freaking awesome.
Stanley Johnson: Despite a game worst -25 on the night, I think that Johnson is really starting to get into the role he has on this team. He hit another 3 which was good (out of 3 of them) and played some really nice defense. I think he is really starting to settle in.
Tolly: Hit all 3 shots, only one from distance strangely. But regardless, when he hits his shots he is a good/valuable bench guy. Tonight he was a really valuable bench guy. Do your thing Tolly.
Eternal Sadness: I'm seriously starting to question SVG on this one. Why is this guy playing? He can't defend anyone, he can't score outside of occasionally hitting a 3, and even though he makes some nice passes, he also makes super dumb plays to lose the ball. I don't get this at all. But I've beaten that horse silly, so I won't stay on it. Blake sucks, but he did manage to suck a little less in this one.
Aron Baynes: Only played 11 minutes, but did not end up having a big impact. He was active on the glass but none of it resulted in points. Perfectly acceptable backup C.
General: Play KCP less please. The team looks like they are starting to really settle in with each other, passes are getting crisper between everyone, and the defense is damn terrifying when locked in. In fact, if the new year comes around and the starters are still doing this to people, then I will officially be in favor of trying to make a small(ish) move or two to shore up the bench, because this starting lineup is really freaking good.
What do you think? Think I'm stupid? Let me know! We all get smarter!