It wasn't all that pretty the whole way through, but the Pistons ended up getting the job done, and if you want to feel a little bit better about it being a bit ugly here are some things to make you feel better. First off, the East is going to be close all season and also suddenly looks not so toothless as it was predicted (shocker) and the Pistons are probably not good enough to complain about how a win looks. Second, remember that it was on the second night of a back to back while the Kings were on two days of rest and that always matters. Thirdly, the Kings played really well, even though the Pistons helped them a bit with some poor defense this was not the same Kings team that got steamrolled in three straight games. So in the end, even though it wasn't a great win, it was a win and it wasn't ugly enough to be any sort of real problem. Also, I'm not a Lonzo hater or anything and its too early to really say, but man, De'Aaron Fox looks really good.
Interestingly, when the game finished I thought Jackson hadn't had a very good game but his final stat-line wasn't as bad as I thought it had been. He finished the night with 15 points on 14 equivalents with 7 assists (against 3 turnovers) and a pair of steals in 28 minutes. He was only 3 of 10 from the field but made up for it by having two of his makes be from three and also going 7 of 8 from the line. He didn't stand out much from everyone else defensively either, which isn't great because the team in general was not very good defensively but he was fine.
In the end it was kind of an ugly way to get there I suppose, but he ended up playing a pretty effective game and he keeps up his theme of being a pretty steady starting point guard for the Pistons.
For the second night in a row, Bradley had an awesome game. 24 points on just 16 equivalents with 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 huge block in 33 minutes of work. He was just hitting every shot he took, and they were almost all good looks to boot. So far this season the stark difference from KCP in both consistency and well roundedness has been on full display and while it isn't as important as a lot of the national media/fanbases seem to think, it has been really good for the Pistons as a team.
He also of course played his usual very good defense, I don't think he spent as much time on Fox as I would've liked so he didn't have a huge defensive impact but he made some very good plays still.
Only played 23 minutes tonight for reasons that I'm not totally sure of, but he was effective in those minutes with 8 points on 3 shots, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and going +16 with his usual good defense. In the end though he just didn't play enough to have a major impact on the game as SVG went with Tolly at the 4 and Tobias at the 3 down the stretch.
His final line was indicative of his very good game with 20 points on 15 equivalents, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in 35 minutes. The one thing is that I wish he had gone at Zach Randolph more, because that seems to me like it should be a pretty sizable mismatch. And this is a complaint with both Tobias and the general play-calling. Even though it is hard to complain when he was so efficient I wish Tobias had been more aggressive going to the hoop, and I wish the Pistons had put the ball in his hands a bit more because he could've had a bigger game I think. In the end though, he was super efficient and the Pistons won fairly comfortably so I won't complain too much. Very good game for Tobias who continues to look like he had an epiphany with his deep ball, and also showed off much better passing than he usually does.
He did qualify just from his free throws as he went 2 of 4 from the line, but even without that he likely would have gotten the honors. 16 points on 12 equivalents with 19 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and a block in 36 minutes of play is a pretty huge line, and he should've had 18 or 19 points but the refs inexplicably waved off an and-1 he had. He did pick up two fouls in the first quarter again, and the second one was a stupid one that he has to avoid, but it was far enough in that it was about time for him to come out regardless.
He gave the Kings all kinds of trouble on the glass, and the Pistons were looking for him on lob passes again all game. It will take more samples before it becomes a real trend, but for two games in a row the Pistons look like they are starting to really jell with their passing and if it keeps up Andre is going to be a big winner. Zach Randolph hit some jump shots over him but other than that there is not a whole lot to complain about other than a few specific plays where he was a tad slow. The one thing that is a bit frustrating with his defensive play still this year (and this is said while knowing that he is playing really well on that end of the court this year) is that he is way too slow to recover from traps/switches. He does a great job of showing out and walling off against ball handlers, but then he is slow to rotate back to his spot and that has to speed up, against good passing that will kill the Pistons defense.
Still a really great game for Andre, he is finding open spaces on offense, being a pest on the offensive glass, passing, and playing with good effort defensively while also showing better tact and smarts. One of the biggest improvements he's made defensively this year (that I've seen at least) is that he has realized that he doesn't have to leap as high as he can in the air to try and contest shots. He can stay on the ground with his hands up and due to his sheer size he is a decent deterrent, he also has shown good progress in getting more of the blocks that he goes for.
Ish came down to earth a bit in this game but still had a good game by the eye test. He scored 10 points on 13 shots with just 2 assists in 20 minutes of play, neither of which are ideal of course, but he had a stretch where he was almost totally unstoppable and was mostly taking the right shots. Even if he is going to be as improved in scoring efficiency as he has looked so far this year he will have nights where he misses too many shots and if tonight is what that looks like it is fine with me.
I have to say, I love Reggie Bullock. Anyone who has been around the last couple of years knows this. But dude needs to start hitting some shots. He missed both his shots in his 20 minutes of play tonight and hit a free throw, that single point was the only statistic he put up. He still does lots of good things with passing, movement, and defense, but to really be a good player (and the player we know he is capable of being) he needs to starting hitting some shots.
Finally getting a couple of threes to fall on his way to a 10 point outing on 6 equivalents with 3 rebounds and a couple of steals. He played some role in cooling off Randolph in the second half and even got some points by putting it on the floor which included an honest to God euro-step. Anthony Tolliver is proving to be a huge get for the Pistons this offseason.
Got some surprise minutes in the second half and did not all that well. He scored 2 points on 4 shots with a couple of assists in 10 minutes. He also totally blew a few different defensive rotations, but one of those assists was a awesome touch pass in transition so that was cool. The main thing I don't get is why they decided to play him over Galloway in the second half, with the way Bullock is shooting I'd understand giving him some time there, but not over Galloway.
Getting backup center duty again, Moreland played just 9 minutes and didn't do a whole lot other than making him a perfect 3 for 3 in getting into an altercation with someone when he plays real minutes.
Only played 7 minutes, I hope he wasn't hurt or something. When he played he was fine and hit a floater but didn't play enough to really matter.
The Kings busted out of some shooting slumps across the board while the Pistons were on the second game of a back to back, as such this was fine. Andre continues to look very good, and the Pistons have a real chance to gain good ground in the conference over the next several games and has a whooping 3 days off before their next game against the Pacers.
What do you think? How about Andre's play? Do you want more Kennard?