Game Recap/Notes: Game #72. Pistons 118 - Magic 102. 38-34.

Well that was, exactly what the team needed. It was not perfect execution but it was solid. The Pistons took advantage of some pretty lax defense by the Magic and they ended up cruising to a fairly comfortable win without 2 of their top 3 SGs in the lineup. Very good win.

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Box score.

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Reggie Jackson: Not great, but a pretty decent game for Reggie. 16 points on 15 equivalents, 9 assists to 6 turnovers (obviously the turnovers are a bit high there.) but he generally ran the offense well and found the holes, of which there were many, and also allowed others to do some playmaking as well. Also obviously Andre Drummond had a huge game and that was assisted by Reggie and also by Andre being in a total mismatch. Solid game for Reggie.

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Darrun Hilliard: Hilliard showed once again the reason why SVG has some hope for this guy as a real solid offensive player. 11 points on 8 equivalents including 5 of them at the line. (Btw Darrun. 5/8 from the line ain't good enough for you man.) He hit a couple of spot up looks, and he also got inside a bit and got to the line. He even made some nice passes on his way to 3 assists. I don't know if his shooting will ever be consistent enough for it, but he has some real potential as a really nice offensive player. Also I didn't see anything to egregiously bad with his defense.

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Tobias Harris: Had a real solid game against his former team. 18 points on 15 equivalents, 3 assists, 4 boards, and 2 blocks. Including an absolutely filthy dream shake on Fournier early in the game. He really just did his thing, attacked the hoop with abandon, occasionally shot over dudes, and hit a 3. One slight critique is that he (and Morris) and some trouble protecting the boards, as Aron Gordon ended up with 6 offensive rebounds. Not all of those are on Harris/Morris but still. That can't really happen. Still a nice game.

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Greater Morris: Continued his recent stretch of excellent ball. 15 points on just 11 shots, 5 boards, and 4 assists, with 2 steals tossed in it was a really good game for Marcus. (Also kept up his hot outside shooting going 2/4. HOWEVA, the hot streak is likely going to be coming to an end pretty soon as he is all the way up to 35% on the season, which in theory means he should settle into his regular 35/36% now) He also gets credit for struggling to keep Aron Gordon off the glass as well though. Really he is finding that perfect zone where he looks to score when he has got a real nice mismatch against him, but does not force it otherwise. And looks to facilitate and move the ball the rest of the time. If he truly will settle into the sort of player that he has been lately then it will be hard to pry him and Harris apart in the starting lineup, because it is working to perfection right now. (And once again, Harris gets a lot of credit for Morris' crazy efficiency lately. Harris' presence on the floor means that Marcus deals with a lot more of Evan Fournier and a lot less Aron Gordon)

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ANDRE-MOTHER-FUCKING-DRUMMOND: Might be small since it was just 2/3, but I said that if he ever shoots over 50% he gets the honors and I'm sticking to it. Also he might have deserved it anyways. Without Vucevic playing Andre had comic mismatches the entire night, and it was pretty clear. Throw in that the Magic were so poor on defense that they allowed quite a few alley oops to Andre. He ended the game with 30 points on just 21 equivalents, and 14 boards. He did it in all the ways you could hope for, catching lobs, a few put backs, in the post, you name it. The Magic just had no answer for him the entire game. Great game for Andre.

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Stanley Johnson: Looks to have come out of his funk and is playing really good ball again. 13 points on 10 equivalents, 8 boards and a couple assists. (Although 5 turnovers is um, not so good.) This was of course aided by going 3/6 from deep, but the Magic were yielding tons of open 3s so that was probably not just luck. Nice game for Stanley.

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Steve Blake: Made the correct basketball plays by passing to the wide open dudes on his way to 7 assists, even had a layup for 2 points on 2 shots, still can't play defense worth a lick. But due to the lack of making the wrong basketball play (which admittedly, there was not a ton of opportunity for) this was a better game for him. Also, because it was brought to my attention that my hatred of him was "obnoxious" I will just clarify some things with him. The reason I have taken to just saying "nope" and various forms of that with his bit of the recap is because I would be saying the exact same things over and over again. Just like I said that, for the rest of this season, I am not going to be arguing with anyone over KCP and his offensive capabilities and future because I have had it several times so if you want to know my opinions on it then it is there but until something changes there is no reason to argue it anymore. The same thing with Blake. I don't hate Steve Blake, I hate Steve Blake as my backup PG playing almost 20mpg. If he was PG version of Joel Anthony (which is what his ability level actually is) I would be fine with that. Other guys on the team like him, he can do the whole veteran leadership thing, and if he has to play a few minutes he might hit a 3. (Just like Anthony might block a shot) But when people say "He brings up the ball and generally makes the right pass" that is the whole point. The biggest defense is that he manages to do 2 things that are literally a prerequisite to being in the NBA as a PG. So for instance, when Aron Baynes has 2 boards, I am not going to give him credit for that. If you are a center in the NBA playing 15 mpg, you better be able to do that. When Tolly does not hit any 3s he is not useful, I say this all the time. I don't talk about Reggie's assists as a positive when he only has 4 or 5. He better be getting that many with how much he has the ball. I will not give Steve Blake credit for "Making the correct basketball play" when he is a veteran PG in the NBA. And by the way, he averages 3.2 assists and 1.5 turnovers per game, which is not a very good ratio. The one thing he does that you can not just pull some dude on a 10 day to do is his shooting. That is the point. (If you really think he is not a horrid defender I can look into compiling a pictures post for that.)

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Aron Baynes: The Baynesiest of games. 13 points on 9 equivalents, a block, a steal, just 2 boards, allowed Jason Smith to hit a bunch of jumpers. He pretty much just did his thing though. He finished plays well and missed just one shot from the field. Really nice game for Baynes.

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Anthony Tolliver: Took one shot, missed it. He played hard otherwise but did not have much impact on the game. Not much use when he doesn't hit some shots.

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General: Once again, was just what the doctor ordered. Hilliard managed to play well which was very helpful, but the Magic just looked uninterested in playing weak side defense for most of the game and the Pistons took full advantage. They are now in sole possession of the 8th spot and are tied with the Pacers for the 7th as well. It was a good thing they got these 4 in a row though because they have Charlotte, Atlanta, OKC, and Dallas in the next 4. Which is not an easy stretch. (Then the Bulls after that, which will probably be a really big game obviously.) Just a nice game from pretty much everyone.

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What do you think? Think Morris should be re-named "Efficient Morris"? Let me know! We all get smarter!