Game Recap/Notes: Game #48. Pistons 107 - Raptors 111 . 25-23.

Second night of a back to back against a really good team. And pretty much the same result. Even though the Pistons were pretty well handled, I felt like it was a lot more the Raptors playing really well than the Pistons playing poorly. The Pistons could have played better obviously, but most games this season where they have been beaten pretty soundly (prior to some late game crazies at least) you could just tell that they played like crap. And now 2 straight games where they lose but it didn't seem like they played so bad.

Box score.

Reggie Jackson: Yuck. 13 points on 13 equivalents, just 1 assist. That is not very good, not crazy bad by a lot of PG standards, but Reggie has to play better than that. He is the 2nd best player on the team so he has to be held to higher standards than that. His poor play in the back to back gets a fair amount of blame for the back to back losses. But once again, he did not play so bad that he is the reason they lost by any stretch, he just did not play as well as he is expected too. On the positive for him though, he once again actually looked very solid defensively. But not a very good night for Reggie.

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KCP: 15 points on 13 equivalents, 5 boards. Nothing crazy offensively but once again, despite cooling off from a super hot stretch of games, KCP has managed to keep his offense on a very solid and acceptable level. And that is big. His defense was good, although he had some issues with DeMar DeRozan when he had to guard him due to the size difference. But KCP spent most of the night on Kyle Lowry and did a fine job on him as well. While it would still be foolish to assume that KCP is going to become a really good offensive player, his play the past couple months has shown that it would be foolish to assume that he is going to be a bad one. (Which earlier in the season was looking like a real possibility.) Obviously there are things that change, but if he keeps up this sort of play, then he really would be a solid answer to the SG position for the Pistons long term. (Which once again, has not been anywhere near a lock so far)

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Greater Morris: 13 points on 14 shots, only a couple boards. His defense was not overly impactful either way. A fine game for Morris, but not all that good. He did some good things on both ends of the court, but did not do a whole lot extra. HOWEVA, I still give him some huge props. It has become an absolute theme this season, that when the opponent gets a sizable lead, Marcus noticeably turns up the intensity and fights even harder than usual and he made several very nice plays to start the Pistons making it at least a little bit interesting at the end of the game. Simply put, this dude fights every night, and I like that.

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Anthony Tolliver: Starting for the first time this season due to a Ersan Ilysova quad injury, it highlighted exactly why Tolly is the backup and Ersan is the starter. Tolly is a pretty decent player, but he does almost nothing offensively besides shoot. In a game like this where the Pistons are struggling a bit offensively for stretches, he cannot really do anything to create a shot while Ersan can do his goofy little dribble drive game to get a few extra buckets a game. It is not a huge difference, but it does matter. Still, 5 points on 6 shots is not so horrible. He was about as good as you can expect from him barring a hot night shooting the ball.

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Andre Drummond: Was looking like a fairly promising night for Andre before he fouled out. He had 11 points and 12 boards in his 28 minutes, and several of those points were on really nice post work (which has looked noticeably better as of late after a stretch of horribleness) And he just seemed to be starting to kick it into higher gear for the comeback when he fouled out, and when he got a tech while leaving after fouling out, he absolutely had a beef with the refs. (but more on that later.) Still though, it was a pretty good showing while he was on the floor, he held Jonas in check (something he has struggled with in the past) and was doing his thing on the boards and in the post. A couple of stupid fouls and a couple of stupid calls cut it short though, and the reality is he needs to cut down on the stupid fouls. Because as much as it sucks, there will be stupid calls on him, especially because of how big he is, so he needs to save a few more of his fouls.

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Brandon Jennings: Jennings was on fire and had a brilliant night off the bench. Scoring 22 points on just 16 equivalents. (although he had 0 assists.) He was just on fire from deep and he let it fly with no shame in the most classical Brandon Jennings way. It should be noted that a couple of those 3s came in garbage time, which ended up not being total garbage time because it got a little bit close, but it was still garbage time. Still though, he played a really good game and injected a lot of life into the Pistons.

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Stanley Johnson: 12 points on 15 equivalents, got some rebounds, played some good defense. And his energy was part of the late game push to make the game interesting down the stretch. It was not an awesome night for Stanley, his defense on DeRozan resulted in a lot of fouls (although idk how much of that is on him.) and his offense was not all that efficient. But watching the game I felt like he played really solidly so I will stick with it being a positive game because his effort really was good and it made a difference.

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Aron Baynes: Pressed into a little bit heavier minutes due to Andre fouling out, and played very admirably in his time. 11 points on 10 equivalents, 7 boards, a couple assists. Also had a HUGE block towards the end of the game that was sort of the high water mark for the Pistons in the game. He did have some trouble with Biyambo, but that is not a huge deal. Baynes played really solid ball tonight, again. I am still not so sure about his contract, but at this point there is no denying that he is a really solid guy coming off the pine.

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Darrun Hilliard: Got a few minutes due to Ersan being out (Johnson usually plays a combination of the backup SG and SF minutes, but without Ersan Johnson was split between SF and PF thus opening up a few minutes for Hilliard) and looked totally fine. He hit a 3, made a really nice steal and finished on the break at the end of the game, and generally looked competent of defense. He ended up with Lowry quite a bit somehow, which Lowry did take advantage of. But a few weeks ago if you had told me that Hilliard would have to guard Kyle Lowry for an extended period I would have guessed Lowry would have literally killed him. Instead Lowry just got a few buckets and it was not a total disaster. Which speaks to Hilliard's improvements on the defensive end of the court. Once again I say, LOOK SVG YOU PLAYED HILLIARD AND THE WORLD DID NOT END HOLY CRAP LET KCP REST A LITTLE MORE PLEASE YOU ARE GOING TO KILL HIM AND MARCUS MORRIS.

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Jackson/Jennings happened? Yeah it did, but nothing to see there in the end. It was clearly not a planned thing. No one seemed sure which guy should be bringing the ball up (there were at least 3 audible looks to SVG asking who was playing point.) and the result looked like something that had not really been prepped at all. It was probably SVG saying YOLO because Jennings was playing really well and the Raptors had both Lowry and Joseph on the floor. It was only like 2 minutes, and nothing happened of significance. Literally read nothing into it. Even when they finally decide to really try it and prepare for it, that pairing will take some time to get right. I am glad SVG finally freaking tried it though.

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Those refs tho? Yeah. I don't believe in blaming the refs for a loss in basketball because there are so many possessions. HOWEVA, this game was freaking horrible. The Raptors draw a lot of fouls every night and perhaps if I re-watched it would not seem so one sided. But holy crap did it look bad while watching live. And I know that Laurn Holkamp had some real issues with SVG last time she reffed a game. (The Pacers game where SVG got ejected) And I don't know if that had anything to do with the quick whistle, but it suuuuure makes you wonder. Regardless, it did not cause the Pistons to lose, but it was still frustrating.

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General: It is rough that the Pistons lost both games, but the back to back does not bother me too much. The Pistons played pretty well in both, just surprise surprise, both the Cavs and Raptors are just objectively better than the Pistons, and because the Pistons were not on top of their game, they lost them both. They played hard, battled, and found ways to make the games kind of interesting at the end. So while it sucks to lose them both obviously, it is not so bad.

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What do you think? Think that the Pistons will bounce back? Think KCP is the future at shooting guard? Let me know! We all get smarter!

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P.S. Sorry about no scouting report, I had the day off so I figured I could do a lot of writing. But it was really nice outside so I decided to go work on the train. #priorities