Game Recap/Notes: Game #26. Pistons 103 - Clippers 105. OT. 14-12.

Damn. That's really all that can be said. Good game though.

Box score.

REGGIE-MUTHA-FUKIN-JACKSON: I think this is the first time I have dubbed someone a mutha fuka in a loss. But it was well deserved. 34 points on 26 equivalents, 11 boards, 7 assists. Those are big numbers. But even those do not give justice to the game Reggie played tonight. The offense was in a rut all game, and I don't know if it was more due to the Clippers defense playing well or the Pistons offense being poor, but either way, it was just out of sync. Andre was not on his game on offense, Greater Morris had an off night, and while KCP managed some points they were not efficient. Reggie put his head down and went into attack mode. Almost all of his points where created purely by him being on the attack to try and get buckets. And while it did not end up working out tonight, this is the sort of game that should make you smile about the future of the Pistons with Jackson at the helm. Because this is the sort of game that superstars have. Not that Jackson is truly a superstar (he might be but lets give it some time there) but he is capable of being one on any given night. He went against Chris Paul, and absolutely outplayed him. All that being said, I hated his end of regulation shot. I just generally hate it when guys just dribble and try and shoot. Like do something other than shoot a contested jumper, especially when you are Reggie Jackson and your jumper is your weakest area. But whatever, I will take one questionable shot like that given how he played the rest of the game. It would be generous to call his defense excellent, but it was certainly very good. And one thing I like about him, is that when a bigger guy gets switched onto him (like Blake Griffin) he does not do the typical PG thing and just give up. Even if it never ends up making much difference, he bodies up and makes guys work for a bucket. Its a great attitude. Excellent game, it is a pity it was in a losing effort.

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KCP: Looking at the base stats, this was a decent game for KCP. 19 points on 20 equivalents, 5 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal. But the reason that you would assume it is a decent game is because the assumption is that KCP plays excellent defense. That was not the case tonight. Something about the Clippers and KCP man. KCP struggled to stick with JJ Redick all night, and it resulted in Redick going off for 24 points on 17 shots. Including a dagger in overtime. And it was a serious problem all game. And while it is true that Redick is one of the harder guys to guard in the NBA given how it is a constant sprint around all sorts of screens, when you want to be an elite defender, there are no excuses. KCP let his guy have a very solid and efficient night on offense. And it was because KCP did not do a very good job guarding him, and we have all come to expect better from KCP. And while some props should be given for his scoring, because even though it was not very efficient, the Pistons were desperate for points tonight and KCP was aggressive in searching for his shot. So all in all, not a bad game, but he is on the team because of his defense. And the team relies on him to shut down his cover, and not only did he not shut down his cover, he did poorly on him. One other thing. 45 minutes played. Since it is apparent that SVG will not use Hilliard or Bullock with any sort of regularity, there has to be a trade of some sort. I don't want to give up anything meaningful, but they need a SG who is able to actually play a little bit. (And in case you were wondering, no, the tiredness was not the reason for KCP's defensive struggles. He was struggling from the get go.)

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Greater Morris: Rough game for Morris tonight. He shot pretty poorly, and missed several that he can't afford to miss. And given how bad the Clips rotation at SF is, he didn't really even have a chance to make a real impact on defense. (Although it actually looks like he is the one who blew his coverage on Crawford's game winner) There is really not a ton to say because he did not do a ton in the game really. I suppose he gets some credit for none of the Clips SF's scoring much but they never do. Really just a poor game for him. But he did manage to play 42 minutes which is a lot so he does get some credit for that. But his poor shooting night was a big reason the Pistons offense was so poor tonight, they need him to get a few buckets each game.

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Ersan Ilyasova: This was a very poor game for Ersan, probably one of the worst games of the season for him. Mostly his defense, where he struggled so much to help out KCP with Redick and to guard Griffin that he was played off the floor for Tolly. He also did not hit a 3 pointer. Only ended up with 20 minutes tonight, and while his lack of offensive production is more so a sign of how out of sync the Pistons were, but his defense was very bad.

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Andre Drummond: This game is a good example of why Andre Drummond is the franchise corner stone. In a game where he, quite frankly, really struggled to get any real offense going, he still managed 20 points on 21 equivalents, and 15 boards. But offense was not even where he made his mark in the game, it was on defense. Where he was nothing short of brilliant. He blocked several lobs, had 3 steals, and was generally a pain in the ass for the Clippers. And the most incredible thing about this dude, is that he can defend damn near anyone. He was switched onto Austin Rivers on the perimeter, and Rivers decided "oh it's the opposing team's center I can take him easy." And Andre proceeded to stop him cold. (obviously Rivers is not a awesome offensive player, but he is a guard still, and he is capable of scoring a bit.) And in what was almost the play of the game, he was switched onto Blake Griffin and managed to poke the ball away while both were falling down. And while it is hard to argue with the results, this is one reason why I wish SVG would be a little more daring in allowing Andre to linger around the court a bit, because in the Pistons defensive scheme he never leaves the paint. They treat him as though he is Omar Asik, which once again has worked very well so far, but Andre is so uniquely gifted in his ability to guard little guys, that I think they could potentially utilize his skill-set better. But anyways, it was a solid game, even if his offense was not on point tonight. His defense was huge.

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Tolly: His offense was, not good. Going 1/4 from deep and 1/5 overall, but his quickness over Ersan proved valuble and allowed the Pistons defense to play much better. While he did not do much more than Ersan to guard Griffin, his rotations were better, and he is much better when forced to switch onto little guys. (He played awesome defense on Chris Paul on one switch late in the game, Paul hit the shot because he is really god, but it was great defense.) It is still worrisome that his shot is not falling though, because his defense may be better than Ersan's, but it is still not that good. But his energy was important tonight.

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Stanley Johnson: This game was ugly for Johnson. He is pretty clearly not as comfortable guarding opposing SGs when he plays alongside Morris, and his shot was way off going 0/5, and several of them were not hard shots. Plain and simple, not a very good game for Johnson, and while its not a big deal because there will be plenty more of these games for the rookie, it still kind of sucks when it happens.

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Steve Blake: Hit a 3, which is nice. Had 3 turnovers and no assists so that was not nice, (although I think he should have gotten credit on at least one of the Aron Baynes baskets) and while I am not sure how much credit he gets, he did not single handedly allow an opposing player to score a big bunch of points so that is better than his usual night on defense. In the end he only played 14 minutes so not a huge impact, but the reason his impact was not hugely negative was because he was bailed out by...

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ARON-MUTHER-FUCKING-BAYENS: Is this facetious? Probably, but the Clips used Josh Smith and Blake Griffin as their backup centers due to, not really having a backup center, and Baynes managed to keep Griffin in check (which is pretty remarkable) and made Josh Smith be very Josh Smith-y (1/6 from the field.). And also THREW DOWN A HUGE DUNK ON HIS FACE. Baynes was the energizer who sparked the comeback, making the Clippers pay for putting PFs on him. He held up on defense, and killed the Clippers on the other end. (4(!) offensive rebounds in just 12 minutes) Which is exactly what big guys have to do when opposing teams go small. And don't think that other teams won't take notice of this when they are thinking of trying to go small with their benches in the future. Not that Baynes will do this well, but this was huge. Best game of the year for Baynes. (and while it was not against Griffin, it must have felt nice to put up a poster against the Clippers after what Griffin did to him in the playoffs last year.)

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General: The reality is that the Pistons lost this game on turnovers. The Clippers took 7 more shots all in all than the Pistons, and that was a big difference. They did not take care of the ball, KCP could not cover Redick. But if there is a positive to take away here, first off, the bench actually beat up someone else's bench (and while the Clips bench sucks too, still) and also, combined with the Pacers game, the Pistons are looking better at guarding scorers who play forward. Griffin had a pretty good game, but his 34 points took 33 equivalents to get. Which is much better than the last game. And I actually kind of liked SVG's approach of just letting Griffin get switches and counting on the guards to man up. Regardless, that was good to see. And the reality is, that even with everything that went wrong in this game, they still absolutely should have tied it on the last possession of overtime. So while it is hard to lose a game like this, there are some real positives to take away. Fun game.

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What do you think? Think Aron Baynes could be the next Shaq? Think I'm stupid? Let me know! We all get smarter!

Btw I twitter and so should you.