Game Recap/Notes: Game #30. Pistons 100 - Hawks 107. 17-13.

Welp. the Pistons kileed themselves in the 2nd Quarter. The hawks started to Bang-A-Drum, SVG caved, and the Hawks then went on a 19-4 run (I believe that is the number) and the Pistons could never get back. In the end just one of those nights, 2nd night of a back to back, it happens. But somehow this one felt a little different, like the Pistons mistakes were so obviously correctable. (missing open shots, poor defensive rotations etc.) That I kind of feel like the Pistons would have won this game more often than lose it. But regardless, they made too many mistakes to think that too strongly.

Box score.

Reggie Jackson: Ended up not being a horrible night for Jackson. 19 points on 18 equivalents, 7 assists to 4 turnovers. Which are certainly not great numbers but they are ok. But he should have scored more. There were 3 or 4 floaters that he had that he just plain missed. Those are shots that the Pistons offense are trying to create for him, and he just plain missed them. He also gets a fair amount of the blame for Jeff Teague coming out of a funk to have a good game. So all in all it was not a terrible game for Reggie, but it was not a great game. And they needed a great game from him tonight. And FWIW, he did sign up for that. Either way, he does not get a ton of the blame for this loss.

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KCP: 12 points on 13 equivalents. Played his usual very good defense. Aka, pretty much exactly what KCP is here to do. He also hit 2/4 from deep. Which is the first time in a while that he has had a good game from beyond the arc. Kyle Korver did not manage any damage against KCP which is good because the run around types have given him some trouble this year. The big news though was that he left the game with an apparent injury. They said on the broadcast it was a "Lower leg strain" and that he was available to come back, but he did not. The Pistons have a couple days before their next game so if that is true he should be all set to go. HOWEVA, if he is hurt in any meaningful way, that is trouble for the Pistons. Although I secretly would not mind him missing a game or two and letting Bullock get some playing time. But seriously, if he is hurt, would be really bad. 

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Greater Morris: I was tempted to dub him a mother fucker tonight but opted against it due to the fact that the game was never actually very close. Still though, even though it was a wasted effort, it was an excellent effort for morris. 22 points on 18 equivalents, and they were largely of his usual very difficult variety. He was the lone reason that this game did not end as a total blowout, and why as the 4th quarter wound down the Pistons had a slight glimmer of hope. People have talked a lot about the culture change of the team, and a lot has been made of Morris' effect on that. And this game is exactly what everyone is talking about. In a game that is the 2nd night of a back to back, all the bounces are not going your way, and just generally is clearly not your night. There is every reason to just throw in the towel and go have a yourself a merry little Christmas. But Morris kept playing, and scored some buckets. That fight is the culture difference. Really nice game from Morris.

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Ersan-WTF-Ilyasova: This was a baad game. In theory the 5 points on 9 equivalents is not too horrible. But all of his 3s were wide open. And I mean WIDE open. And he only hit 1. Similarly to Jackson, those are shots that the offense is designed to create, and he just missed them. Those shots are literally what he is paid to hit. Can't have a night like that. By the end of the game he was largely invisible. And he (predictably) struggled to guard Paul Millsap. Overall it was a poor game for Ersan. (although he did manage 7 boards.)

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Andre Drummond: The good news? 25 points on 22 equivalents, 12 boards, went +1 on the night. Had 3 blocks and a steal. The bad? The Hawks were aggressive in banging the drum, and SVG sat him down for it. After that is when the Hawks went on the run that the Pistons could not recover from. And the obvious answer to this is that Andre needs to hit his free throws, but for now, I am not sure what the answer is. I would lean towards leaving him out there for a couple reasons. 1. When they are doing it as early as the Hawks were (they started the moment the Pistons got into the bonus, which was with like 9 minutes left in the 2nd) just let them foul all they want. It causes possessions that do not take a lot of time, and guys are adding to their personal foul counts. Even if they are bench guys like Mike Scott, 9 minutes is a long time in a basketball game. If the opposing team wants to have its whole bench on the verge of fouling out, then let them. 2. Andre actually was not too bricktastic. 7/18 is obviously bad, but that is not totally horrible. The reality is that the Hawks did not really want to give that up even, Bud was doing it just to try and get Andre out of the game because SVG has shown that he will pull Andre. 3. Show Andre that there is no help coming, there is no respite. He needs to learn to hit the damn free throws. It reminds me of when you have a guy who is just learning to pitch in fastpitch softball. He is not that good so he is getting bombed, but there is no one else who can pitch. So that guy is left to stand there, lonely on the mound, and endure through it. And he just has to get better. At a certain point he just has to improve. Also, the Pistons are a better team with Andre on the floor, he is the Pistons best player. (and yes he is, there is not any good argument for Jackson) He can't be so easily removed from the floor.

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Stanley Johnson: Pretty solid game for Johnson tonight. 9 points on 10 shots. Played decent defense. Scored in a good variety of ways. Continues to be doing a good job of settling into a role on the team. Which it cannot be overstated, that it is rare that a rookie is able to be any sort of a useful player on a team that is actually winning games. It is even more rare when a rookie is 19. And it looks like Johnson is becoming just that. Even though he has problems, (and will continue to have them) if he remains a usable rotation player while the Pistons win games it will be a huge accomplishment.

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Anthony Tolliver: Did very little of note. Missed a 3, hit a 2. Only played 15 minutes. Was not ever really involved enough to make much impact either way.

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Steve Blake: He did have 1 super cool volley ball pass to Stanley Johnson that led to a easy transition layup. But other than that, didn't do much good. Had a couple nice passes, he hit a shot, but went 1/6 overall. And Schroder/Teague torched him when he was on the floor. Get well soon Brandon.

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Aron Baynes: Actually did ok in his limited time on the floor. Got to the line a few times (although only hit 2/5, which just. ARGH YOU ARE ON THE TEAM BECAUSE YOU CAN SHOOT FREE THROWS) And had a couple blocks. But the eye test said that he got killed a lot too. Either way, he was alright in the end. But certainly did not really do anything to help the Pistons much.

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Darrun Hilliard: Ended up picking up 5 minutes at the end of the game for KCP, he took one 3 and missed it. And also managed to not do anything horrible on defense (that I saw at least) which is good I suppose. But really, it was 5 minutes, nothing to really glean from it.

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General: Just was not the Pistons night, but they still actually could have come away with a win if they had managed to shoot themselves in the foot a little bit less. Although maybe it just seems that way because the Hawks put it in cruise control. Either way, just not a good game. They need to do something else for Andre when he is hacked. And pray that KCP is not actually hurt. In the end though, the Pistons went on a 3 game road trip against 3 other (currently) playoff teams, and went 2-1. I can take that. The get a couple days off before the Celtics come to Detroit on Friday.

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