Game Recap/Notes: Game #53. Pistons 89 - Raptors 103. 27-26.

Well that was kinda depressing. Both the Pistons big duo had not very good games, and the Raptors were just clearly the better team tonight. (which they are a better team but still)

Box score.

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Reggie Jackson: Not a rough game for Reggie. A bad game for Reggie. 13 points on 14 shots, but the 5 assists to 6 turnovers was the real killer. Combine that with him struggling to do much of anything to stop Kyle Lowry on the other end and you've got a really bad game. I was admittedly not watching close enough to see if there was anything in particular that the Raptors were doing to bother Reggie so much, but it might have just been an off night. Regardless this was a poor performance on both ends of the court for Reggie, it has been a while since he has been this careless with the ball and that is good, but it still can't really happen. It is hard to win when you're second best player and point guard plays that poorly.

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Stanley Johnson: Welp. Looked a bit more like a rookie tonight. 5 points on 9 shots, 3 assists was nice though. I was a bit surprised that he did not get much time on DeRozan but due to that his defense did not really have much chance to be all that impactful. It was not a total loss for the rookie because he still did some good things tonight, but it is a step back from what we have been seeing lately from him. Hopefully this is not a sign of him hitting the rookie wall.

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Greater Morris: 14 points on just 9 equivalents, 6 assists (to 3 turnovers), 5 boards, and 3 steals. Not especially voluminous (if that is a word) but a really nice night none the less. He keeps up his role of being a guy who refuses to go quietly into the night and looks to make plays even when down by a lot. He showed off his passing abilities tonight too, which was awesome. Obviously he had 3 turnovers which dampens it a bit, but I really want to see him get more touches in the PnR. This is the first season he is getting any real run as a ball handler and he has occasionally shown some real chops at making plays out of the PnR, but it will take some more time to develop himself a little bit more and learn the right passes to make. Also, Marcus is like the king of in bounds passing. He has punked so many teams with that "toss to the hoop when the other team is not looking for a tip in" so many times this season. It is a good example of the little things Marcus does to help your team win. Even though it did not move the needle a ton, his play tonight was really good, and he especially gets a gold star for his defense of DeMar DeRozan, because it was very good. And remember that the Pistons picked him up because the Suns decided they didn't want him anymore lol.

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Ersan Ilyasova: Really nice night for Ersan, 17 points on 13 equivalents and 6 boards. The Raptors do not have anyone who can play the 4 that can really hurt Ersan on the defensive end (with Carrol out at least) so his defensive limitations were not really an issue in this game. The impressive thing was that he scored a lot of his points inside the arc, with step backs, putbacks, and even a post up move. Nice game for Ersan.

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Andre Drummond: 12 points on 14 equivalents, 13 boards, 2 assists. A dope full court shot. It should be noted that for almost any other center in the NBA this would be a real solid game, fortunately Andre is not any other center. He has to do better than that, plain and simple. He was not helped out by Reggie's struggles obviously, and that hurts his numbers, but he needed to do more. Also, his 2 assists are not that impressive a number obviously, but man, when Andre looks to pass out of the post he really is good at it, and it really gives me hope for him to become one of the most dominant players in basketball. Dude can rifle passes on a line right to shooters who are stationed around the outside in a way that can only be described as "LeBron like", obviously Andre is not, and never will be as good a passer as LeBron is. But he could be a pretty stinking good one in a year or two, and if you are watching the Pistons consistently this year, and you get frustrated with them in rough stretches (like right now) and need something to draw on for positive energy, there is one. Andre learning to make the right passes. It is a sign of how this team is still climbing and they are not there yet, but when they get there it could be something special.

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Darrun Hilliard: Ok. So little side tangent here. Upon him being picked and based on what I had seen of him in his little garbage time stints and his couple games with the Drive. I figured the up side (for the first couple years at least) for Hilliard was that he could be like a wing version of Tolly, a guy who comes in, shoots 3s, plays hard, and pretty much nothing else. (which FWIW if that is what he ended up being that would be a win. Any 2nd round pick who ends up contributing in any meaningful way to the team he is drafted by is a pretty big win) But after the last few games where he has gotten some real playing time, that does not appear to be the case at all. Obviously he can shoot, but he can put it on the floor, make some moves inside, and make goofy finishes. Obviously its like 4 games so not a ton should be taken from it, but he has looked much better than I had any clue he would be. If he is actually pretty close to what he has been these few games, then the absence of Meeks might not be so big. (Which can be another thing to look for if you need some positivity) HOWEVA, on to the actual game tonight. Really solid night for Hilliard coming off the bench. 13 points on 12 shots, his defense is generally bad still but he did manage 2 steals. And once again, it is not like he just hit a bunch of open 3s, he made good moves, got inside, and hit shots there too. I don't know how much SVG will trust him on defense in the long term but he actually could be a really nice offensive player.

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Anthony Tolliver: 5 points on 6 shots. Played hard. Pretty much Tolly. He was not much of a positive but also was not a negative. Fine night for him I suppose but not a ton to say about him.

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Brandon Jennings: Bit of a rough night for Jennings, scoring no points (on 3 shots) and registering just 2 assists. The Raptors are a bit unique for him due to Corey Joseph being good enough that Jennings cannot just steam roll him, but I don't know for sure what the deal was here. Jennings did not really seem to have it tonight and that put the bench in a bit of a hole. If it had not been for HIlliard then the bench mob would have gotten really killed.

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Aron Baynes: 10 points on 8 equivalents, 6 boards, 3 assists (with 2 turnovers). He generally did his thing, bullying people in the paint with a dash of touch. Can't ask for any more out of the backup center than this. Real solid game for Baynes.

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P.S. Sorry bout going MIA for a couple of days there. Got caught up in some stuffs.