Game Recap/Notes: Game #32. Pistons 96 - Knicks 108. 17-15.

Kind of a weird game and a lot of things to sort through.

Box score.

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Reggie Jackson: 17 points on 19 equivalents, 9 assists and 3 turnovers. Those are very solid numbers that are hard to complain about, but I still feel like he should have done more. He often picks his spots early in the game and then turns it on late, but the Knicks pulled Calderon late in the game so that it would not be quite so easy. Even with that Galloway is (I don't think at least) anything special on defense. The Knicks were doing a lot of creative (and smart) stuff to try and neuter the PnR, and given the way they defended it (more on this on Andre Drummond) should have resulted in a monster game either passing or scoring for Jackson. His defense was often ok, but he left just a bit to much space for Calderon on a few 3s, but Calderon is a good shooter and he just hit some shots so that is not all on Jackson. Idk for sure in the end, early on in the game it felt like it would become a classic case of Jackson picking his spots for the first 3 quarters and then he'd go off for a big 4th. But he just sort of never did.

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KCP: Actually ended up being a decent game for KCP with 9 points on 9 equivalents, and also made several very nice defensive plays. Although he was invisible for the whole 1st half. It appears as though it is a coaching decision but he has suddenly become a totally complimentary piece on offense. Most of the season he regularly was allowed to try and run a PnR for himself/handle the ball in other ways but those touches have vanished the last couple games. I'm not really sure how to feel about that, on one hand the midrange pull up jumpers they almost always yielded were not very effective, but on the other hand, they were another source of offense (even if not that efficient) and KCP will need to add that sort of ball handling to his game if he is ever going to become more than just a defensive player who can shoot a little bit. Even though this ended up a decent game because he was definitely a net positive, it is weird that a guy played 38 minutes and was so unnoticeable on the floor.

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Greater Morris: 17 points on 17 equivalents, 4 boards, 2 assists, 1 block, and some very solid defense on Carmelo Anthony. Could not really ask for a better performance from Morris. Anthony caught fire towards the end of the game at which point there is nothing Morris could really do, when Anthony is on he is pretty much unstoppable. Morris managed to play Anthony tough without fouling, (no seriously Anthony did not shoot a single free throw) and that has some real value. It really is too bad that Melo basically just pulled a Melo and shot himself out of his struggles. On Offense Morris was doing his normal thing scoring on goofy midrange shots and herky jerky drives to the hoop and was pretty effective. I think that it is sometimes overstated how good he is because he is compared to the literal crap shoot the Pistons have had at SF the past couple years, but Morris has been an absolute godsend. Side note here: It has to be noted how good Morris is in transition, it is funny because he is not all that fast, but I literally cannot think of a single time where Morris lead a break and it did not end up in a good outcome for the Pistons. I want him to lead the break more.

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Ersan Ilyasova: Very solid night offensively for Ersan, scoring 19 points on just 15 equivalents. He was the primary recipient of the scheme the Knicks used to stop the PnR and he took full advantage. His defense was, at times, lacking. But it was never really a big issue though. He scored on 3 point shooting and also took it inside a few times. Just a very nice game for Ersan.

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Andre Drummond: So a lot has been made of his poor performance and his lack of effort, and while that is not undeserved, it has to be mentioned that it is not all his fault. The Knicks put a ludicrous amount of attention to stopping him on offense, literally posting an extra guy on him for no reason other than to stop the lob at almost all times. And Robin Lopez would start to box him out before shots had even been taken. (Which btw I am pretty sure is actually a foul but also one that must just never be called, of which there are plenty in the NBA. But if people do it with as much regularity as Lopez that could become a real source of contention for SVG.) And while I certainly look stupid after predicting another 20/20 game for Drummond, that prediction was based purely on that guys often go off while playing at the Garden. In the end Robin Lopez is exactly the sort of guy who would give Andre trouble. He is big, strong, smart, and very fundamentally sound. And he does not have a very large role on the team so he can literally be given the sole purpose of "Stop Andre Drummond" and that is literally the only thing he has to do. (Once again, often boxing out before a shot is even taken) HOWEVA, this was still a largely piss poor effort by Andre. There is no excuse for allowing Lopez to score as easily as he did, and even if the Knicks are putting a laughable amount of attention his way, he needs to find ways to be a positive on offense. And he needs to put in more effort to getting rebounds when guys are sound in boxing him out. FWIW though his defense was (outside of him bizarrely just not being able to bother Lopez) very solid. This was really the first (or maybe second) game of the year where he just was plain not good. (other games with poor numbers were often caused by foul trouble.)

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Stanley Johnson: Not a great game for Stanley, did not score efficiently (4 points on 6 shots) and did not make a noticeable impact on defense. He still needs to be more aggressive in trying to go to the hoop as opposed to taking jumpers, but he is still settling into his role on the team.

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BRANDON JENNINGS!!!!!!!: So it turns out that SVG was just screwing with everyone. And thank goodness for that. Also, Jennings actually played really well. He had 4 assists and should have had 2 more but KCP blew the layups. He scored 7 points (and no that layup as time expired did not count) and did not look lost on D. This is going to come off as arrogant I suppose (and is also a real opportunity for me to look stupid lol) but I think that pretty soon everyone will realize exactly how bad Steve Blake was. Either way, it was just great to see Jennings play and actually look really sharp. He was looking to pass first and was doing an excellent job at it.

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Aron Baynes: This hurt. Kyle O'Quinn went off for a bunch of easy buckets, and Baynes did not manage to get any of them back. Baynes was not good tonight. Not at all. And for everyone who is wondering why people make fun of Baynes contract, Kyle O'Quinn makes almost half as much as Baynes. (And while it is a little unfair because O'Quinn may have had no interest in playing in Detroit, it still hurts to see that. Both are backup bigs, both were free agents, and the one who is paid 3 mill absolutely took it to the guy who is paid 6 mill.) And once again, that does not change that Baynes has generally been very solid this year. But this game really highlighted why he probably is overpaid.

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Anthony Tolliver: Tolly is useful when he hits his shots, he hit them tonight. As such it was a good game for Tolly. 8 points on 5 shots. Nights like this are when he is an excellent bench player, very solid night for Tolly.

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Darrun Hilliard: Made a cameo at the end of the game for 3 minutes. Actually hit a shot so that was nice.

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Steve Blake: Best game of the year for Blake. His veteran leadership on the bench was truly inspiring.

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General: The Pistons are inconsistent for a reason. The Pistons offense was actually very solid tonight despite neither of the Pistons top 2 guys being very good. But the defense was miserable overall. The issue is that the Pistons simply do not have enough individual defensive ability to make up for slips in concentration. Look at the lineup, Reggie is generally a pretty decent defender but nothing more. KCP is excellent. Morris is pretty decent as well. Ersan is pretty bad. Andre is really good. KCP and Andre are the only 2 who are going to be +s on D every night. When they are locked in and playing hard they can become a long armed mass of humans who make it difficult to even throw basic-ass passes. But when they are not locked in they become a very mediocre team. It is ok to have a bit of an on/off switch on defense because you can't kill yourself every possession, but for the on/off switch to work, you need to turn it on occasionally. Regardless, the defense is what let the Pistons down, Kyle O'Quinn's outburst and Melo catching fire at the end (which once again there is no defense for) were the big separators. Once combined with Andre's struggle resulted in a loss.

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What do you think? Think Jennings will be good? Think I'm stupid? Let me know! We all get smarter!