Game Recap/Notes: Game #33. Pistons 115 - Timberwolves 90. 18-15.

That's more like it. After a fairly rocky start to the game The Pistons were able to pull away for a decent lead by halftime. In the second half the Wolves got within striking distance a couple of times but never too close, and in the end the Pistons pulled away and emptied the bench with 3 minutes left in the game.

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Box score.

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Reggie Jackson: The numbers were not too crazy, but this was an excellent performance by Jackson. His 19 points came on just 14 shots (and 1 free throw so 14 equivalents) and his 9 assists were opposed to just 3 turnovers. This was the definition of a under control, and in control, performance. Jackson largely did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. The reality was that the Pistons just did not need him to do all that much in this one. His defense also generally looked pretty solid although it is tough to judge a guys defense when guarding Rubio since Rubio is such a unique player. Regardless, Jackson scored inside, outside, jumpers, and floaters. Just a really good game for Jackson, and it was in a different form than I thought it would be, he definitely got his mojo back.

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KCP: Exploded in the 2nd half to end up with 22 points on 20 equivalents. His defense was also his typically very good levels, although SVG generally went with Morris on Wiggins instead of KCP (which did not go all that well but more on that in a moment) so KCP did not have the Wolves best guy. But his defense was still very solid. And while games like these are encouraging to see, they have happened before this year, so until he really strings together a long stretch I am going to assume this is a one off successful game. Which truly does suck, I want to believe that KCP can become a legit high teens scorer and destroyer on defense. But look at this shot chart.That is miserable. He is finally figuring to creep his FG% up to 40% in the next game (he is currently sitting at 39.99% lol) and is also almost to 30% with his 3 point shot, which are sort of the most basic levels of not sucking. But until he proves he can actually do this with any sort of consistency I am not going to take anything from it. Even with all of that, it was still a very good game for KCP and it was good to see. HOWEVA, one thing that is not fake at all, is that I LOVE KCP in transition, he is so fast with the ball. I want him to push every chance he gets.

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Greater Morris: Just after I point out that he has taken a lot more shots lately and it might be on purpose, he suddenly scores just 8 points on 8 equivalents lol. He was guilty of several bad passes early in the game, but still managed a few nice ones to finish with 3 assists (and 4 turnovers) and 8 points on 8 equivalents is fine, even if he got an odd amount of them from free throws. (He only hit 1 FG.) Offensively he was just not all that needed so he took a backseat which it totally fine. On defense though he received the bulk of the time guarding Wiggins (which may be why he was given less of an offensive load so he would be fresh for Wiggins) and he did not do especially well. While I do not mind SVG trying that out, (I am generally in favor of any and all experimentation to find out exactly what guys are, and are not, capable of.) it was fairly predictable that Morris would struggle. His defensive strength lies in just that. Marcus is strong, and he is very physical, and walks the line of being hella physical without fouling very much. But Wiggins is so much quicker than Morris that he did not really even get a chance to use his physicality and strength against Wiggins. I would rather put KCP on him and challenge Wiggins to shoot over top of KCP (especially given Wiggins' struggles shooting this year.) but regardless, Morris did not do all that well on him. But some of that was just that Wiggins was feeling it.

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Ersan Ilyasova: Pretty good night for Ersan, had 10 points on 8 equivalents, connected on all his deep balls. Did some Ersan type things. Just a very solid and decent game for him. Had a couple of really bad plays in the first quarter (just like everyone else) but still managed mostly good plays. And the Wolves did not really attack him much so his defensive deficiencies were not really on display. Perfectly acceptable night for Ersan.

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Andre Drummond: Nothing to see here, just 23 points and 18 boards in just 31 minutes. Just a very good night for Andre, he was too big inside for any of the Wolves and he knew it. He dunked and hooked all over them and just was generally a bully. KAT is just not big/good enough yet to compete with Drummond inside, after 2 meetings this is pretty clear, and I bet Kevin Garnett will be reminding KAT of this in the weight room. Now you're probably thinking "But Joetruck, what about the defense on KAT? KAT did really well shooting the ball?". That is not on Andre. Looking through the games more closely (which is not really even need to see this but whatever, I did anyways lol) SVG has very clearly given Andre strict instructions to stay in the paint and not go out to really contest jumpers. This is rather bewildering at times, but it is SVG, not Drummond. But on that, now that Steve Blake is bench bound, this is the most bewildering thing SVG is doing. I get that you want Drummond around the hoop to protect the rim/get boards, but KAT (or Boogie if you remember that game, and a few others fall here too) are REALLY good shooters. If you just consistently give them space they will kill you, there is no way around it. And Andre is absolutely quick enough that he can play out on guys and not worry about getting blown by. To be clear, I generally think that keeping Andre in the paint is a good idea, but some guys are good enough that exceptions have to be made.

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Stanley Johnson: Bleh, not a very good game for Stanley. He pulled up for way to many jumpers, which I will say again, STOP. GO TO THE HOOP. EVEN IF YOU FAIL A LOT. GO TO THE DAMN HOOP. He also got burned by Wiggins on defense a few times. (but also made a couple nice plays too.) He is a rookie so these things happen and it is not really any worry, but still not a very good game for him.

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Brandon Jennings: First game back at the Palace, and he did just fine. He scored a couple buckets, threw some assists and other nice passes. SVG is still looking to keep his minutes down so he is relegated to full time backup PG and nothing else for now, and until SVG plays Jennings with Jackson we will not have any info on the most important thing regarding Jennings, but for now, I am just thrilled he is playing, and actually looks pretty good. He is throwing crisp, ambitious passes, and communicating on defense. The one thing that worries me a wee bit is that he has not done any of his nasty stepback jumpers in anyones grill yet. But overall he looks very solid. Hopefully he keeps getting more into the flow so we can see him play with Jackson sooner rather than later.

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ANTHONY-MOTHER-FUCKING-TOLLIVER: 5/7 from deep. Thats all you really need to know. I've said it a lot here but it is true. Tolly is pretty much as useful as his shooting is. He was on fire tonight, and so he was super useful tonight. Making back to back games where he shoots very well. Games like this are why you have a guy like Tolly on the bench, because he can get hot and basically single handedly seal a win for you. (Pistons win without his hot shooting, but his hot shooting is the biggest outlier) Excellent game for Tolly.

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Aron Bayens: Was perfectly acceptable. KAT tried to take Baynes inside and generally failed miserably. He scored a bucket, which was a dope dunk over KAT. And also got a couple boards. Essentially he was what he has been all season. Very acceptable as a backup center.

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Hilliard, Bullock, Anthony: All 3 got in with about 3 minutes left in the game. Hilliard hit a couple free throws, Bullock had an assist (and I still wish he would get a real chance), and Anthony did his classic block where he just straight punks a guy, which is always fun.

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General: Very solid win for the Pistons. Rough start but they came together and won comfortably against a team that they should be able to win comfortably against. Jennings looks very solid, and Andre is probably actually a cyborg.

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

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P.S. I am really tired while writing this, I reserve the right to heavily edit this post in the morning if it is required lol.