Game Recap/Notes: Game 2. Pistons 90 - Cavs 107. Cavs lead 2-0.

Welp. I actually do think the Pistons can hang with the Cavs. I still think they will get a game in this series. But the Cavs are a better team, and so when they shoot like that, there is nothing the Pistons could really do. ALSO, as a disclaimer because apparently some people (looking at you Cavs fans) think that I'm an idiot for talking about "if the Pistons want to win." To be clear, I don't think the Pistons are going to win this series. I never thought this. But what is the point of rooting for a team if you can't at least have a little hope in your team pulling off a miracle? Surely Cavs fans have at least some belief that they can take the Warriors or Spurs, even though by most measures they stand little chance. (And I will be rooting for the Cavs in that situation btw)

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Box score.

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Reggie Jackson: It's not really his fault, the Cavs are trapping him on almost every pick and roll, and generally doing everything they can to keep him from scoring, but Reggie has been held in check through the first two games. 14 points on 14 shots, and 6 assists is not a bad night. He even had some really nice defensive plays. But the Pistons need him to really show up, and he has not been able to effectively beat what the Cavs have thrown at him. Once again, by drawing that trap he is giving a golden opportunity to the rest of the players, but the Pistons just don't have the passing chops to take full advantage of the situation. And while it may be impossible (and unfair to ask) but Reggie has to just put his head down and find a way through the traps. He is the only guy on the team who can consistently break down the defense and make plays for himself and others with the ball in his hands, I want to see him try and force the issue a little more in game 3. It might fail, but he might have to try.

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KCP: Ended up with a respectable 13 points on 13 equivalents and 8 boards. It was rather weird though, his defense was far too soft in the early going and Kyrie torched the Pistons out of the gate, forcing the Pistons to start to hedge on every pick that Kyrie received. It is not a horrible thing, Kyrie is a incredible offensive player, and after getting a little help, KCP played better defense the rest of the game. But it this is really just an example of how the Pistons have the conundrum of just not being as good as the Cavs. KCP has been their lockdown perimeter guy all season, and him smothering opposing point guards is important to their defense. But it appears that, at this point, KCP is just not good enough to do it to Kyrie. Not a terrible game though.

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Tobias Harris: I defended him after game 1 and I still will. 13 points on 15 shots is not horrible given that LeBron is guarding you almost the entire game, and he managed to once again impact the game in other ways than scoring with 8 boards and 4 assists. HOWEVA, like Reggie, I think that at this point the Pistons need to accept that they cannot rely on KCP and Marcus to finish so many plays consistently. And as good as Andre is (and was in this game) he is still not polished enough on offense to lead the offense in the ways he would be forced to in this series. (by being a playmaker with the ball in his hands.) I want to see Tobias force things a little bit more in the next game. Once again, it might fail miserably because when LeBron is locked in on defense he is insane. But he is the Pistons second best offensive option with the ball in his hands. (EMPHASIS ON BALL IN HIS HANDS.) And they need him to force things a little bit more. Because the strategy of "make the right basketball play and don't force things" is probably not going to work. Especially with the Pistons bench. In actual good news, Tobias played much better defense in this game. It still was not awesome or anything, but it was better.

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Greater Morris: Welp. Once again, with the way the Cavs have been defending, Marcus (and KCP) has to play stupendous ball. In game 1 he did that and forced the Cavs into changing their strategy for the second half and kept the Pistons in it to the bitter end. In this game he kind of flopped. 11 points on 13 equivalents, and just 2 assists is not going to really cut it. And while he still has a knack for defending without fouling too much, he still is proving largely unable to do much of anything to slow LeBron. The Pistons need Marcus to heat up big time if they want to try and get back in this series. The Cavs are putting playmaking onus on him, and he did not come through in this game.

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Andre Drummond: Just to get it out of the way. Yuck, free throws. It was bad, it really hurt in this game, and not even the true hacking, but the real hack-a-shaq style were they foul him at the hoop because they have no chance of stopping him otherwise. With that out of the way, it was a really nice game for Andre. Even with a 4/16 night at the line he got 20 points on 21 equivalents and 7 boards. BUT IT SHOULD BE NOTED. Something that I was interested in for the playoffs has looked to be true, Andre is maturing right before our eyes. In the regular season he would go after almost any rebound, whether he was needed for it or not. Which is fine, pad those stats, and I'd rather him clean the glass a little too vigorously than not enough. But in this game if someone else had it, he didn't worry about it at all, and sprinted up the court. This is a big reason why Morris, Harris, and KCP had 7, 8, and 8 boards in the game. Andre boxed out Thompson, and then sprinted up the floor. That is the sort of maturity that you want to see from a guy in the playoffs. The Cavs dared Andre to beat them with the ball in his hands by shutting out the PnR, and he largely passed with flying colors, the Cavs just had no answer for him short of fouling him when he got to the paint. (Which is part of the frustration with his free throws, is that it is the only thing that kept him from totally taking over this game) On defense he did struggle a bit with having to play on the perimeter more, but as SVG has said, that is not really on Andre so much. He is 22, and is having to learn a totally new way to defend on the fly. After having spent the whole season with SVG yelling at him to stay in the paint at all costs, he now has to run around the perimeter. And FWIW, him and KCP, after a couple mishaps, ended up tightening up and keeping the Love at center thing from being too lethal. But this is also why the playoffs is such a good learning experience. He is learning that sometimes you have to be able to be totally focused and make the right adjustments in short time, and if you don't you get burned. That's why guys talk about it being important just to make the playoffs, even as an 8th seed.

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Stanley Johnson: Well, he was not much of a LeBron stopper, because despite putting up good efforts pretty much every time, LeBron largely did what he wanted. Which is ok, Stanley is 19, so just giving a real fight is nice to see. And FWIW, he still did better than anyone else at keeping LeBron out of the paint. And on offense he was generally fine with 9 points on 8 equivalents. He was really the lone not total loss from the bench. Also, on his comments on LeBron. They are dumb comments, he is not in LeBron's head, LeBron took him to pound town in this game and there is no other way to put it. HOWEVA, This is just who Stanley is. He proclaimed himself the best player in the draft after the Pistons picked him, and has never been short on confidence so I still am glad he is saying it and that he is the way he is. (As long as he fulfills his potential)

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Reggie Bullock: Scored 4 points on 3 shots. His cutting and threat of shooting is still really the only thing the bench guys have going for them on offense. (outside of the occasional good play by Stanley) But the Cavs are pretty locked into that now, and Bullock played several of his minutes with a full bench mob. So he didn't get much chance to do much good. Still a fine game though, he may have saved his career with his play over the last month or so.

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Steve Blake: This is SVG's failure. SVG has done a wonderful job with so many things, but his insistance on Blake as the backup and total refusal to even try anyone else is a total and absolute failure. He played 10 minutes and managed to go -20. How do you even do that? Veteran leadership isn't worth crap when you are doing the type of dumbass mistakes that rookies make. Like jumping in the air and trying to pass but not getting it off in time, over dribbling and taking a dumb shot because you used all the shot clock, bouncing the ball off your own freaking foot. A GUY PLAYING POING GUARD IN THE NBA DID THIS. And being unable to get open for an inbounds pass. And to top it all off, he let Matthew Dellevedova burn him to the hoop. Kenny Smith said at halftime as a joke that if you can't keep Delly in front of you, you don't deserve to be out there anyways. Blake had no chance. I don't care about how much guys have played or not anymore. Meeks or Dinwiddie has to take his minutes because he has killed this team all year and he is killing them now.

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Anthony Tolliver: Only played 9 minutes. Did nothing to really help, but it wasn't his fault the bench got slaughtered. So whatever.

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Aron Baynes: Similar to Tolly, except that it is kind of frustrating when you splurge on a backup center, and that backup center is totally outclassed in the playoffs. (Although it is a hard matchup for him cause the Cavs are really deep in the frontcourt. But still)

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Meeks and Dinwiddie: Both played a couple minutes of garbage time. Both did a positive thing on offense. One of these 2 (preferably Meeks) has to be in the rotation for game 3. I cannot defend SVG if he leaves Blake in.

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General: Despite everything, the Pistons actually did play ok, the bench go killed, and the Cavs shot historically well. Andre showed some real stuff this game, and the Kevin Love at center thing did not look so unstoppable. If the Pistons dump Blake to the bench and manage to hit a couple more shots they should be right back in it for game 3.

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What do you think? Has Steve Blake ever crapped in your yard? Let me know! We all get smarter!

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Gofundmethang: If you want to help me write offseason posts while I am in China then you can support that over here.