Game Recap/Notes: Game #35. Pistons 115 - Magic 89. 19-16.

Way to bounce back in a big way. The Magic had a couple of short stretches where they kept up, but the Pistons were largely in complete control of the game. Excellent end to end win that ended up being a blowout for the Pistons.

Box score.

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Reggie Jackson: Not a monster game because he ended up only playing 26 minutes due to Jennings going off, but it was a very nice bounce back game for Jackson. 14 points on 13 equivalents, 7 assists to just 2 turnovers. He probed the Magic defense and regularly made Nikola Vucevic pay for poor defense, hitting wide open pullup jumpers and throwing oops to Drummond. Also made a couple of really nice defensive plays as well. There was no visible kink in his step due to his ankle either so that is good. Very nice game for Reggie. Also, even though Jennings will (rightfully) get a lot of the attention tonight, don't forget that Jackson is the guy who hit some big buckets in the 3rd after the Magic got it close.

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KCP: Awesome game for KCP, may well have been his best game of the year. 21 points on just 13(!) equivalents, went 5/8 from deep, and PITCHED A FREAKING SHUTOUT ON EVAN FOURNIER! I have been (and still will be) skeptical of KCP becoming a good scorer (or offensive player at all) but games like this show why there is some hope that he could become a legitimately killer 2 way player. He owned a very solid offensive player in Fournier, and was a important offensive player. We've seen this move before with KCP, and as such there is little reason to believe that he will suddenly come out of his shooting slump, but it is still really nice to see. Awesome game by KCP.

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Greater Morris: This game was literally a perfect example of why I like Morris so much. SVG clearly like the matchup against Tobias Harris and went to it on the Pistons opening possession, but it quickly became apparent that attacking Vucevic in the PnR was the better option, and the ball was just moving really well, as such there was no need for Morris isolations early in the game. In this portion Morris took a backseat, moved the ball, played solid defense, and was generally a solid complimentary piece. Then in the second half when the Magic came out and made it a game, and upped the defensive intensity, the Pistons ball movement slowed a bit. And waiting for the ball was Marcus Morris, ready to get the Pistons a few tough buckets when the offense stalled. And he got them. 13 points on 9 equivalents is not huge but it was efficient. Tobias Harris beat him bad a couple of times on the other end but Harris is a good player (and one that I still kind of wish the Pistons had made a some sort of play for this offseason) and Morris generally did a pretty decent job on him. Really a very solid game for Greater Morris.

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Ersan Ilyasova: 10 points on 10 equivalents, had a couple really nice offensive boards, did not cause any issues on defense (which Channing Frye is not exactly scary but still, Ersan did a good job) makes for a really solid game for Ersan. He pretty much just did his thing, nothing spectacular but he did his job. Just a really nice game for Ersan.

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Andre Drummond: Super game for Andre. Vucevic got a few buckets, but that is ok because Vuc is a very good scorer. Andre kept him (mostly) in control and was a pain the the backside for the rest of the Magic with active hands and rim protection. His 17 points on 16 equivalents was solid, and despite only 12 boards (lol 12 is only. It still blows my mind that I type that with such regularity.) he was a big reason the Pistons dominated the glass as a team, and all his numbers need to consider that he only ended up playing 29 minutes due to the blowout. He was very good on both ends of the floor, and if this game had stayed close he may have had a truly monster game. Really good night for Andre.

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BRANDON-MOTHER-FUCKING-JENNINGS: BOO YAH! THATS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. Ok seriously though, that was awesome. Jennings played an awesome game, 17 points on 12 equivalents, 6 assists and no turnovers, making some DOPE ASS PASSES. (and all of this in just 18 minutes) This was vintage Brandon Jennings. This was obviously his best game, but since returning he has looked excellent with the bench, and he might actually be everything we could have hoped for. All year we said that the bench has guys who can shoot but the problem is that none of them can really stir the pot, but if someone could get in there who could really create some breakdowns this bench could get very solid very quickly. Jennings has absolutely done that. I love that with the bench mob Jennings is looking to run at every opportunity, especially with KCP as the only starter on (idk if I like KCP in that role as much as I like Morris there, but I suppose with Jennings back the shot creation of Morris is less required with the bench mob.) it really plays to their strengths. The bench has suddenly transformed into a relentless group of guys who push the ball and rain death from 3 point land on unsuspecting bench players. I want to get more into this (hopefully I have some time tomorrow for a full post) but obviously how Jennings fits alongside Reggie will determine where he fits in the long term, (and I am ready to see that btw) but for now, he figures to make the bench very good. And I liked what SVG said in his post game presser, that for now they view Jennings as a guy who can help them make a playoff push, and that's it. And I do not want to get people too excited, but the Pistons starters are legitimately one of the best lineups in basketball. And if the bench can suddenly become really good with Jennings leading it, this Pistons team might suddenly be REALLY good....

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Stanley Johnson: Very nice game for Stanley, even though his scoring wasn't awesome with 6 points on 8 shots, (he hit 2/5 from deep and missed all 3 of his shots inside the arc) he had 3 assists, all 7 of his rebounds were contested, he ran out in transition, and played good defense. Now with Jennings able to take on all of the real offense creation on the bench it lets Johnson be more of a complimentary piece and he good at that right now. Also, he and Baynes have legit got some chemistry in the PnR, which is really nice to see. Stanley has shown some real ability to make good passes out of the PnR which is pretty advanced stuff for a 19 year old, especially one who is not a point guard.

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Anthony Tolliver: 4/8 from the field, 2/4 from 3. He was hitting his shots, and you know what that means. Tolly was a super good sub tonight. I would imagine that with Jennings around instead of Steve Blake Tolly's %s will go up a pretty substantial amount because the looks figure to be more open. Also he really fits well with the apparent run and gun style of the new bench because he plays super hard and has an itchy trigger finger when he gets open looks. He is perfect for this, I really hope he starts to blossom while playing alongside Jennings. Also, I love when Tolly pulls big blocks out of nowhere ala Joel Anthony where he suddenly just has huge hops and stuffs some punk.

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Aron Baynes: Another game where Baynes did pretty much all you could possibly ask for from a backup center. 7 points on 4 equivalents, 10 boards, and stuffed several shots at the hoop. (Although he did allow Jason Smith a couple too many open jumpers) Really a nice game for Baynes. Those little contributions mean a lot over the course of a season. I do wonder a bit how well he will fit with the new bench because he is not exactly the most mobile dude, but he is not slow either so he will probably do fine.

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Blake, Bullock, Hilliard, Anthony: Nothing of note happened with them. Got in for a couple minutes and none of them scored a single point. It is frustrating to see Steve Blake get garbage time instead of Dinwiddie getting some looks (idk what they are doing with him) but that is not a big deal. I also still wish Bullock would get a chance to play a little bit.

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General: Just a really great all around game. There was very good defensive effort all around, the offense was very good as well. Even if the shots had not fallen quite so much the offense would have been very solid. And it was so great to see Jennings go off like that, and to see the rest of the team (especially Reggie Jackson) be so happy for him. The dynamic between Jennings and Jackson will be an interesting one for the rest of the season.

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What do you think? How good can the Pistons be with the new bench? Let me know! We all get smarter!

P.S. With regards to the whole downvote button thing. /u/defeatedmac [+3]says that it would be very easy to make it so as the downvote button is whatever team the Pistons happen to be playing next. Given its apparent ease, this is the answer. That would be super cool.