Game Recap/Notes: Game #75. Pistons 88 - Thunder 82. 40 - 35.

Well. No KD or Ibaka. But that just made this game an even more important one to win. Reggie and KCP both played like flaming pieces of feces but Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris came to the rescue, torching the Thunders replacements all night in the midrange. This game was like a crazy flashback, with lots of midrange iso scoring and both teams going down the stretch with two centers on the floor together. But the Pistons won, and that's what matters in the end.

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Box score.

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Reggie Jackson: Well, the reality is that he damn near cost the Pistons the game. He came out trying so painfully hard to do something dope in front of his old team that I felt awkward watching it. He threw bad and just plain stupid passes and shots, didn't play good enough defense, and generally was horrible. HOWEVA, he eventually did his super dope thing to impress his old team. Following a turnover at the hands of Dion Waiters Reggie tracked him the length of the floor on the break, and straight up swatted the layup. He then sort of calmed down and just played basketball. At which point he suddenly looked fine and the Pistons offense looked tons better. He closed out the game with a super dope dunk after splitting a double team, and also hit the free throws to seal the deal, allowing him to salvage at least a little bit of his performance to be just kind of bad instead of horrible, finishing up with 13 points on 17 equivalents, and 6 assists on 4 turnovers. Still bad, but not a total disaster. Plus, my man still clutch.

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KCP: That was ugly. It was a team effort to contain Westbrook but it started with KCP playing really good defense on him, but he certainly does not get all the credit keep him from going off. And his offense, was, um, really bad. 8 points on 17 equivalents is really bad. It's even worse considering that he bricked a lot of good looks created in the offense, (Most notably his 0/5 from 3) He did have 6 assists to 2 turnovers, but I think a few of those were pretty generous to be called assists because they were really just "Gave the ball to Harris/Morris who then did an iso and scored" and KCP just happened to be the beneficiary of the isos. His defense was good, but his offense was freaking terrible really. And especially with Marcus Morris having burst triumphantly and spectacularly out of his shooting slump the past month, it makes the fact that KCP will dip back below 30% from deep with just one more miss even more frustrating. He somehow has to find something he can do to consistently get offense other than his fast breaks.

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Tobias Harris: Another notch in the sword of Tobias Harris as the rock solid scoring option. 17 points on 16 equivalents, 7 boards, and 3 assists. Ending up with a real solid game for Tobias, and he spent a pretty good portion of the night being guarded by Andre Roberson who is a real solid defensive player. The one thing that was not so good was that he was unable to hurt the Thunder enough when they went with the Adams/Kanter jumbo line. Adams guarded him and Harris was unable to get much going with the theoretical mismatch. And Kanter (predictably) slaughtered him on the other end, which prompted SVG to pull out the Baynes/Drummond jumbo combo by choice for the first time all season. Which I was ok with, but still. It would be nice to have one of your best players not be played off the floor in an important game. Still a real solid game for Tobias though, his ability to consistently get tough shots at an efficient clip has been huge for the Pistons.

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GREATER-MOTHER-FUCKING-MORRIS: "Marcus Morris: Power Forward Edition" has arrived, and it literally could end up being the best/most important discovery for the Pistons this season. A big part of his 3 point and general efficiency surge is just simple law of averages. But another big part is that between getting opposing PFs on him, and more than that, weaker defenders with the better defenders taking Tobias Harris, he is getting much easier looks from everywhere. The Thunder let Kyle Singler and Dion Waiters try their hand at guarding Morris for much of the night. And it did not work, really at all. He bailed out the Pistons several times when with the bench mob as well, with Stanley Johnson playing one of his worst games in a while, Morris was literally the only source of offense for the bench mob. Marcus Morris was the best player on the floor tonight, with the assist from Tobias Harris for allowing him to attack Singler and Waiters. (On a side note. I am thankful that Kyle Singler is not the starting SF for the Pistons anymore.)

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Andre Drummond: Considered giving him special honors for his 1/2 at the line, but decided that would be a little bit overkill. Still though, really solid game for him. On a night where he ended up getting almost no chances in the post after a couple early looks, and Reggie Jackson was so off that the PnR was damn near useless, he still managed 13 points on 10 equivalents, and 15 boards. And the real truth of the matter was that he almost single handedly won the game for the Pistons down the stretch. When both teams went big, it suddenly became a battle of the paint. And Andre pretty well won that battle on both ends. Which was big, because Baynes pretty clearly could not hang with Kanter. Even though it was not the huge volume that he often has, it was a really nice game for Drummond considering that two of his primary sources of points (post ups and PnR) where limited tonight.

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Steve Blake: -_- He did manage to get a steal from Westbrook. Then proceeded to be unable to advance the ball at all because Westbrook was pissed, but KCP managed to salvage the play. That's really it. He was bad.

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Stanley Johnson: Holy crap did he struggle, and the numbers do not do it justice. He had 7 points on 6 shots, and 3 boards and 1 assist against 3 turnovers. But those turnovers were freaking horrible. If it was not for a nice and one on the fast break and hitting a spot up 3 his night would have been damn near totally lost. Especially when Morris is not the lone starter (which he really should be every time. I have no idea why SVG ever has anyone else take that role with the bench mob) Stanley is the best facilitator and creator on the bench, so he cannot afford to be off like this. (Assuming they make it) Steve Blake will likely be exposed to a comical extent in the playoffs, and (other than Morris/other starter) almost all of the offensive creation from the bench will fall on Stanley. It is a lot to ask of a rookie, but he will have to come through. He has to be better than this.

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Tolly: Didn't do a whole lot. He had a nice drive and finish to the hoop which is always funny to see from him. I didn't notice him much otherwise though. But a lot of that is because the bench mob was so totally lost getting points tonight.

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Aron Baynes: Not a very good game for him either. (You may be detecting a pattern for the bench guys here) He really 2 points on 6 shots (the 2 free throws were in absolute garbage time when the Thunder were fouling) and got absolutely roasted by Kanter. Which is not really his fault because Kanter does that to most backup centers. But Baynes has to find a way to make a bigger impact on offense when he is outmatched on defense. He did manage 9 board though so that was cool. Still, he's gotta find a little more offense in that matchup.

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Darrun Hilliard: Made a brief cameo, I don't know why he got to make it instead of Bullock but whatever, I'm all for getting him some spots of playing time, even if it is just 3 minutes. The only thing of significance he really did was he made one nice drive and kick that ended in a missed 3 by KCP.

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General: Hard won win. Reggie needed to calm down way sooner than he did and KCP just can't do this. I do like that SVG did not hesitate much to go with the Baynes/Andre combo as a bit of thinking on the fly creativity that he has not shown much willingness for this season. Really solid win, and the Bulls beat the Pacers so the Pistons are in 7th spot for the moment. Speaking of which...

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Who should the Pistons hope to face in the playoffs?

If they can get the Raptors instead of teh Cavs that would be good, because regardless of matchups, the Cavs are just better. Throw in that the Raptors have a bit of a history of wetting the bed in the playoffs, and that LeBron teams don't, they should try and get the Raptors. But in the end it does not matter a ton. The Pistons would almost certainly lose either one and it would be fun to watch LeBron in a series plus the media fiasco and national spotlight that comes with LeBron would be good for the Pistons experience wise.

Will you ever do a draft overview?

I've gotten a couple PMs asking to look at "player x" for drafting so Imma just make this clear here. I probably won't do much in the way of draft preview for a few reasons. First off, I'm going to (hopefully provided my visa goes through successfully) in China for a good portion of the summer and I will not be doing much writing while there. Secondly, I don't watch nearly enough college basketball. I've watched so much NBA that when I watch College I just kind of get sad by how much worse the quality of play is. Thirdly, even if I had the time and desire, I don't have the slightest clue what to look for in a college guy beyond the obvious. The two teams I watch/follow with any consistency are Michigan and Purdue, and I generally end up thinking that like half the guys on those teams or whoever they happen to be playing would make good NBA players and they won't.

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What do you think? Think Marcus Morris should be the PF of the future? YOU READY FOR PLAYOFFS? Let me know! We all get smarter!