Game Recap/Notes: Game 3. Pistons 91 - Cavs 101. Cavs lead 3 - 0.

Man, I know that it sucks, and it is probably getting old to hear. But this is good stuff from the Pistons. They are out here, one of the youngest and most inexperienced teams in the NBA, and they have legit pushed the Cavs. It has not resulted in a win, and it might not result in any wins. But the Pistons are showing real things here, and there are clear things that they will improve on. This is an important part of team building, and I know that Cleveland fans don't get it because they don't know what it is like to build a winner with any strategy beyond "Have LeBron James" but here in Michigan we know that you can't always rely on having one of the most freak athletes ever born in your state. So you have to build, and Rome wasn't built in a day.

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Box Score.

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Reggie Jackson: Brilliant game from Jackson. And I rescind my previous comments about how he might just have to force things more. He has committed 5 turnovers in this series, and I think at least 3 of them were at the end of the game when he had to play hero ball. (more on this later.) He has seen traps and double teams the entire series, and has pretty consistently made the right pass out of it and still managed to pick some spots to get himself some points. In the end, 13 points on 17 equivalents, and 12 assists with just 1 turnover. And he also played (generally) good defense. And about the end of the game, (which is where he missed several shots to make his efficiency look worse than it really was) it cannot be stressed enough, that when Andre hits the bench, the only real option if for guys to play hero ball, and Reggie is probably the best option for it. He has failed pretty badly both times it has come to it this series, but it does not take away from how good he has played in this series.

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KCP: I don't really know what to think of KCP in this series. On one hand, he has stepped up and played well on offense, scoring 18 points on 14 equivalents, which is big because he is the main guy the Cavs are giving easy shots to, so he has to hurt them for that. But he has just not been as effective in guarding Kyrie as I thought and hoped he would be. That is more of a testament to how highly I think of KCP's defense, but the reality is that Kyrie has killed the Pistons this series, and while I don't know if it is actually more than Love or LeBron, we all knew that LeBron would kill the Pistons, and it was easy to see that Love would give the Pistons trouble. But I kind of figured Kyrie was the one guy we could expect to stay in check. And it is frustrating because in this game I actually thought KCP played mostly good defense, just every time he made any sort of mistake, Kyrie is just so good that he got him for it. And the numbers speak for themselves, Kyrie has pretty much owned KCP in this series. So I don't know for sure what to think, but it is nice to see him finding his offense.

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Tobias Harris: Another decent game for Tobais in the end, 13 points on 10 shots, 7 boards, and 4 assists. But I am going to stand by my previous thoughts on him. He needed to be more aggressive, as awesome a defender as LeBron is, especially when Andre is on the bench, they need him to create more. Even if they are not always good, high percentage shots. They need him to go get some more hard buckets. His defense was not terrible but he still stood little chance against LeBron and Love. But still, it is hard to be too down on him, he has not forced stuff and has been efficient. (Not done with him quite yet)

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Greater Morris: On continuation from Harris here, these two failed Andre in this game. They already had, but it was the biggest in this game. When Andre goes to contest a shot, (which happens a lot) Mobias had to find Thompson and put a body on him, and they totally failed at that. It is a lot to ask because Thompson is relentless, but Andre can't contest and rebound every shot. So yeah, that has been a problem for the Pistons. On just Marcus though, it was a decent game for him. He attacked Love in isolation more, which I liked. Ending up with 16 points on 13 equivalents and 3 assists. But on the other end, he has proved largely ineffective against both LeBron and Love. I hate to say it, but there is a chance that the Mobias combo is going to die with this series. I don't necisarirly think it would be correct because even here there is stuff that it does good. But it would be hard to blame SVG for wanting a true PF when his two headed monster is failing to box out Tristan Thompson at all, and getting bombed by big and strong forwards. Once again, I don't know that it would be the correct course of action, but it is understandable why SVG would go for it.

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Andre Drummond: Frustrating. He had pretty much taken over this game, but due to fouling came out. Unsurprisingly, when he left the game the Pistons got beaten pretty badly. His defense was stupendous yet again, whether it was doing unworldly things like contest a Kyrie layup to force a pass, and then get back up in time to stuff Thompson's dunk attempt off that pass, or switching onto LeBron and LeBron and forcing him into jumpers because he could not get past Andre. And on offense, he continued to be impressive with the ball in his hands, whether in the post or catching the ball on the move. He ended the game with 17 points on 17 equivalents and 7 boards. And once again, the boards don't really worry me. He has had to go outside the paint a lot more, and is not worrying about boards that other people have, instead choosing to race up the court. But he only played 27 minutes. I hope that SVG knows that he is giving up any real chance at winning when he pulls Andre, but he might just be doing it to drive home to Andre that he must learn to shoot free throws. I don't know, but this series has made it painfully obvious that Andre is, by a wide margin, the Pistons best player.

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Aron Baynes: This is rough. Because I really like Baynes, and I think he is a good backup. He has been rock solid all season, and this is a tough matchup for him. But it looks like he never really belonged on the floor in this series. Whenever he has gotten on the floor he has been totally outclassed and has been a big issue for the Pistons. There may only be 1 or 2 games left, but Baynes should see as little time as possible. He just can't do it here.

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Stanley Johnson: SVG has not added much playing time for Stanley for some reason, and while LeBron has still largely done well against Stanley, Stanley is the only guy (other than Drummond) who has shown any ability to keep LeBron out of the paint. And Stanley played well on offense, finishing with 9 points on 5 equivalents. He hasn't played a ton, but this is a nice series that Stanley has put together.

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Anthony Tolliver: Played a little, hit a prayer of a shot. Didn't do much else. So he was fine I guess.

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Steve Blake: I don't know if he has alone costed the Pistons a game in this series, but he is probably the worst player in these playoffs other than the Grizzlies. He is SVG's failure this season.

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General: I'm tired. Pistons played well, just screwed up the end, but didn't really have a chance with Andre on the bench.

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What do you think? Think they will avoid the sweep? Let me know! We all get smarter!

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The thang: If you wanna support offseason posts for a couple months, go right here. 

P.S. To Cavs fans: going into my older posts and pointing out things I got wrong or whatever. Congratulations.There is a reason I call the prediction part "opportunities for me to look stupid" you can think you had your gotcha moment I guess, but it's A. kinda sad that you care enough to go back for that. B. Must nice to have never cared enough about your team to spend time actually learning the nuances enough that people don't care enough to go through your whole history to find things to try and get you because they think you disrespkt them.