Game Recap/Notes: Game #56. Pistons 106 - Pellies 111.

PSA: I apologize about the scouting report for this game. I totally blew it lol. I failed to realize that neither Gordon or Evans was playing. I have no idea how I missed it but I did. That is comically bad. Sorry about that. Onto the regularly scheduled programming.

Box score.

'

Welp. Sometimes you just get unlucky. The Pistons came out and really played a solid game, and should have won quite frankly. But Anthony Davis was having a game for the ages. SVG even fully unleashed Andre on him at the end of the game and he freaking nailed a contested fallaway jumper. Like there is nothing to be done there. When a dude is so on fire that he scores 59 points on just 44 equivalents and the game is still close right to the end, that is just rough. Like it sucks, especially since the Pistons keep sliding for another day, but there is no reason to get bummed out or upset by this loss. The Pistons ran into a guy who was unstoppable. That happens occasionally. Nothing you can do but tip your hat.

'

Reggie Jackson: Overshadowed by Davis (for good reason) but Reggie played a brilliant game today. After a poor outing in his last game he bounced back in a big way, scoring 34 points on just 23 equivalents, and throwing 4 assists with just 1 turnover. And most of Jrue Holliday's damage was done when Reggie was off the floor, for good reason. Because Reggie played solid defense as well. He had to force things occasionally, but he made it work, and for the most part just took the shots that the defense allowed for him and he made them pay. He had one driving layup on the fastbreak that was through like 3 dudes that was super dope too. It sucks to come in a loss, because I think pretty much every time this season that Reggie has been on like this the Pistons have won. But it was still nice to see him bounce back like that.

'

KCP: Ouch. 14 points on 17 equivalents, but really 11 because he hit a 3 in garbage time. The big ouch though was at the end of the game. He absolutely blew it. The Pistons were down by 4 (I believe. If not correct me) with just about a minute left, and KCP made an excellent defensive play for one of his 4(!) steals in the game, and he and Morris had a 2 on 1 against Davis. And KCP stopped and shot a 3. This is not a confidence thing, this is not a "Love that he has the balls to go for that." situation. This is a boneheaded basketball play situation. You have a lane to the hoop and need a bucket of any sort. Go to the freaking hoop. Throw in the fact that KCP is not a very good shooter anyways, and that was just stupid. I still love you KCP, but that was dumb. Despite his offensive struggles, his defense was its usual excellence. His 4 steals were all impressive, and even though there was not really much of a good guy for him to guard, he held the guys he was against down. That 3 pointer still has me kinda ticked, but still. Not a totally horrid game for him. Also there was a play where the ball was bobbled by several guys and he made a truly awesome effort play to save the ball from going out of bounds. I had to tweet about it I was so impressed.

'

Greater Morris: Ouch. 2 points on just 7 shots, 3 assists to 3 turnovers, 4 boards. Following the Tolly injury (more on that later obviously) he had to take the majority of time on Davis. And while it obvoiusly did not make much of a difference, the eye test says that he did a pretty decent job. But overall I did not like this game for him much. I don't think he really even got a single isolation, which is not a big deal but when a team has as thin a wing rotation as the Pellies do, I would think you should go at that a little more. But once again, it was not lack of scoring that killed the Pistons.

'

Tolly: Only played 8 minutes, came down and looked like he got his knee bent weird on Drummond's butt. (sprained right knee is the official diagnosis I believe) He is not travelling to Cleveland which is not a good sign. Not that Tolly is a hugely important player, but now the PF rotation is, well. Marcus Morris. Who is really a small forward. And I guess Harris as well. Either way, that is not really ideal right now. Get well soon Tolly. (If the trade does not go through and Tolly misses significant time this could be a really big problem.)

'

Andre Drummond: Also overshadowed by Davis (obviously) but Andre also played a really good game. 21 points on 17 equivalents, 14 boards, 7(!) of them offensive, 3 blocks and 2 steals. And even though it did not make a huge difference, he was fully unleashed to defend Davis a few times and did an awesome job, and when that happened it was hugely fun to watch. He really had the whole package showed off today, scored some in the post, had some put backs, even threw some really nice passes, blocked shots, got steals. Was generally awesome. Once again, I think this is the first time all season where both Drummond and Jackson are so on their games and the Pistons lost. Which sucks, but still nice to see. ALSO. Just to clarify something here. When I say "Fully unleashed" here is what I mean. SVG clearly has given a very specific directive to Drummond to not stray from the paint on defense, which makes sense because then Andre can block fools and clean the glass most effectively. This is actually the main reason why shooting bigs have given him so much trouble this season, is that SVG would rather him sag off a bit and allow a kind of open jumper than get him to a point where he cannot recover to protect the rim/clean the glass. I have disagreed with this a bit because Andre is so phenomenal at guarding away from the hoop that I feel like it is underutilizing him. But in this game SVG said "Fuck it" and told Andre to just freaking guard Davis however he has too. Essentially to sell out on him. And he did an awesome job, Davis just hit a couple of insane shots. (That fallaway towards the end of the game was straight dirty) But it was super fun to see two guys who are awesome players just go at it like that. And FWIW, when they went head to head, Andre held his own just fine.

'

Tobias Harris: Saw a little bit more of his dark side today, as his 16 points required 20 equivalents to get. And a few of those shots were of the "Why you take that?" variety. Still though, watching this guy is just so fun. Time will tell how good he actually is, and how much he will really help the Pistons (I'm on record saying he will be hugely successful with the Pistons.) but he can just straight up score, and it is always fun to have guys like that on your team. It is a little bit puzzling to me that some people have said he is a guy who can do a lot of things but none of them very well, because while that is true about a lot of things in his game, he can really score. Also, I have not seen his defense be really any issue, and he used his athleticism for a couple of super impressive blocks today as well, and a steal. Once again, time will tell how good he is for the Pistons, but he is just fun to have on the team. Also should be noted, he was largely totally responsible for the offense of the bench.

'

Stanley Johnson: Not a big game for Stanley but still a pretty decent one. 6 points on 6 equivalents, 8 boards, a couple assists, some good defense. He will likely have a smaller role off of the bench until Harris moves to the starting lineup (which will probably be right now since Tolly is out) but even so. He is versatile enough that he can fill into a lot of roles within the team and be effective in it. And that was on display today.

'

Steve Blake: This is horrible. I don't know if I can handle watching Steve Blake on an NBA court anymore. He does not have a single thing he does at an NBA level other than shoot open 3s. And like 90% of point guards on NBA rosters can do that. (And the ones that can't are awesome at other things) He can't defend anyone to the point that SVG stuck Darrun Hilliard, a 2nd round pick rookie who has hardly played all year and is not a good defender to start with, on Jrue Holliday. And he was proven to not even be able to bring the damn ball up the court to initiate the offense to the point that SVG had Hilliard, once again a second round pick rookie who has hardly played this year, and Tobias Harris, a guy who has not even been on the team for a week, run the point with Blake on the floor. Blake is not an NBA player anymore. It is just that simple. And if Dinwiddie is this bad then just freaking cut him and find someone else to take the roster spot. Seriously. Stan, you are a hell of a coach, you are smarter than this.

'

Aron Baynes: 4 points on 5 equivalents, and no rebounds. Also got absolutely torched by Davis, which FWIW, it is cruel to try and have Baynes check Davis, but he still got torched. Not a terrible game for Baynes, but it was not good. And he will probably continue to feel a particular squeeze on him with Blake running point since Baynes is a finisher (is able to hit open jumpers/dunk/finish around the rim with some effectiveness, but not very good at creating them) and Blake can't create anything for him to finish.

'

Darrun Hilliard: 3 points on 3 shots. He is still a bit trigger happy for me, but I would rather that than him be gun shy. He is really starting to grow on me. And the one positive if the trade is nullified is that we get to see Hilliard keep regular minutes. His defense is hard to judge in this one, because he was mostly asked to guard Jrue Holliday, which is just mean.

'

General: Steve Blake is not an NBA player. Anthony Davis had an all time great performance. Without that the Pistons win easily. Which sucks, but no one should feel bad about this. I do wonder what would have happened if SVG had fully unleashed Drummond on Davis earlier, but thats beside the point. It was a fun game to watch.

'

On the trade stuff: I don't know exactly what to think about it. SVG runs a tight ship that lets very little info slip out, so we will probably not know until an official decision is reached. But it may well be that they decided to just be cautious and it is nothing, but it also could be a very real issue. Which is a bit worrisome. Although in the end, this would not be a total buzz kill if they reversed it. I had already started on my post looking over the trade (and if it goes through as normal I will finish it and that should be up tomorrow I would think) and while it is a pretty good trade, it would be nice to have that draft pick, and Dmo is a free agent (restricted) this offseason. But regardless, I'll touch on it more once there is actually something to touch on.

'

What do you think? Think SVG should unleash Andre more? Let me know! We all get smarter!