Game Recap/Notes: Game #28. Pistons 99 - Spurs 109.

I am not totally sure how to feel about this one. On one hand, the Pistons did some very good things and stuck with the Spurs down to the end, but on the other hand the Spurs were in pretty clear control for most of the game and it was never really close enough to be all that worrisome for the Spurs.

Box score.

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Reggie Jackson: Pretty poor game from Reggie, 10 points on 15 equivalents, and was the main culprit in the Tony Parker explosion. FWIW he appeared to get a bit hurt (yet again) but managed to play through it. (say what you will about Reggie, but the dude has got some real guts. He was legit hurt and he literally walked it off.) He did manage to tally up 11 assists put against 5 turnovers. Even though it was not a totally poor performance, it was not very good. And had he not been the main man who let Parker out of the bag to start the second half I would (hesitantly) say he was just kind of not that good instead of bad. (A couple of his shots were prayers at the end of the game so his shooting looks a bit worse than it actually was.) But Tony Parker getting open shot after open shot pushed it over the edge and into just a straight up bad game.

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KCP: Easily the biggest bright spot for the Pistons tonight. Scored 25 points on just 16 equivalents, and even though he only had 2 assists both of them were really excellent passes. (Which is not the usual for him. Generally his assists come from pretty basic passes. But both of them tonight were really nice ones.) And also played his usual great defense, and even though Tony Parker burned him as well a couple of times. Parker slowed down immensely once KCP was switched onto him. Really a excellent game from KCP, and he was a big reason that the Pistons managed to stick around in this one. Also don't look now, but his shooting is steadily trending up. He is now up to 32% on the season from 3 and 41% overall. That is not good enough yet, but if it keeps going upwards it might be good enough pretty soon. Also, dammit SVG, you're going to kill him. KCP played 43 minutes.

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Greater Morris: Scored just 4 points on 7 equivalents, but that was not what was important. First off because he was almost certainly still hampered by his injury because he only played 28 minutes. (Which is crazy low for him. Second off, he was mostly asked to defense Kawhi Leonard, and he did an excellent job. With tonights defensive performance I have decided to officially say that Marcus Morris is a really good defensive player. I have been hesitant to say it because he had a very poor reputation, his athletic skill set does not really lend itself to good defense, and also that he often does things where he is definitely not that good. But he has had too many awesome performances against good offensive players to really argue it anymore. I don't know for sure how good he is, but he is good. Hopefully he gets back to 100% soon so he can get back to providing a lot on offense as well.

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Ersan Ilyasova: Bit of a rough night for Ersan. 6 points on 9 shots, (and missed all 3 of his 3s.) and was regularly beaten by Aldridge on defense. That is a hard cover for Ersan, but he did get beat pretty bad. If he had hit a couple of 3s his night (and possibly the Pistons) would probably look much different, but that is the way it goes with a guy who's primary ability is his shooting. Just not a great game for Ersan, but in the end he did enough right that it was nothing too horrible by any stretch.

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Andre Drummond: Was pretty much neutered through the first 3 quarters by foul trouble and still managed to end up with 17 points on 16 equivalents, as well as 10 boards. There were some calls in this game that were questionable, but at least 2 of his fouls were no brainer fouls so he does not have a lot to complain about. When he was on the floor he was excellent, and in the 4th quarter, the Pistons (sort of) surge was fueled largely by Drummond and his defensive impact once he no longer was worried about picking up a foul. And that is exactly why this was such a bad game for Andre. He has to be able to stay on the floor, (whether he comes off for fouls, or his foul shooting.) because he impacts the game on both ends in such a huge way that the Pistons cannot afford to lose him. Simply put, without him on the floor this Pistons team is pretty mediocre, with him on the floor this team can play with anyone.

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Aron Baynes: It was maybe a little bit overstated how well he played, but he certainly had a good game. 15 points on 15 equivalents, and 9 boards is a very good line for your backup center. He had some real gaffes on the defensive end (and a couple nice plays) and he is largely incapable of not fouling everything he sees, but he can come on and save par. And that is as much as you can hope to ask for a backup. He showed off the variety of offensive abilities he has, scoring on jumpers, free throws, putbacks, and post hooks. He is a solid player, and the Pistons are lucky to have him instead of the Spurs having him. (even if he is a little overpaid.)

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Stanley Johnson: Tale of 2 ends of the floor for Johnson tonight. On offense he was pretty miserable, scoring just 2 points on 8 equivalents, and having just 1 assist to go with 1 turnover. But on defense he was excellent in his guarding of Kawhi Leonard, and this was quite frankly his best defensive performance of the year. One thing with his offense though, he really has been showing some real ability as a PnR ball handler. It did not result in anything tonight but he had a couple really nice plays that were just not finished properly. So all in all, I don't know for sure. Played awesome defense, played miserable offense.

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Anthony Tolliver: 9 points on 7 equivalents, hit 2/5 from deep. When he hits his shots he is really useful. We all know this at this point. His shooting continues to get better since Jennings return, and while he also did little to slow down Aldridge, he did a little bit better than Ersan. Very nice game for Tolly.

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Brandon Jennings: Another very solid game for Jennings off the bench. 9 points on 9 shots, threw 4 assists. And was a big part of the Pistons rally in the 4th quarter. I am actually a little surprised that SVG did not just let him finish the game for Reggie. Also saw his first action alongside Reggie tonight. (just because they wanted a shooter, nothing of note there.) Once again though, the sooner SVG figures out how to play him alongside Reggie the better.

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Joel Anthony: Played literally 1 minute, and scored a bucket. Good job?

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General: Like I said earlier, I am not really sure how to judge this game. The Pistons stuck in it, but the Spurs were always in control. KCP played a really good game, and so did Baynes. But whatever in the end, the Spurs are crazy good, and the Pistons managed to keep it close, so I will take it as a positive. The one thing here though, you see how Kyle Anderson, Boban, and Simmons, all played 3, 4, and 6 minutes for the Spurs? That is how Pop keeps guys minutes from getting crazy. Obviously it helps that the end of the Spurs bench generally is stocked with competent players, but seriously SVG, you just played KCP 43 minutes, and there are 2 young guys sitting on the bench who would love even 5 minutes to try and do something. And one of them (Hilliard) actually looked pretty decent in real playing time just a couple nights ago. SVG, plz take notes.

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What do you think? Think the Spurs will win the title? Let me know! We all get smarter!