Everything went perfectly, until suddenly it didn't. It will be the next man up and so far the news is good. But the potential of being without Reggie Jackson for an extended period hangs over the win.
Jackson was playing a great game. He had not gotten a deep ball to fall but 8 points on 10 shots is forgivable when paired with 13 assists against just 1 turnover. His assist total was helped along by Tobias Harris hitting everything but there is no denying that Jackson absolutely had it going. He was dealing all over the court and generally shredding the Pacers defense. Then in the 3rd quarter he landed with his ankle at a full right angle and could not put any pressure on it. He left the game and did not return. Initial reports are somewhat good as it is a sprain and not some sort of break, but as anyone can tell you, ankle sprains a tricky things especially for basketball players. This could be something that holds him out for just a week or so, or it could be a really significant amount of time. The Pistons best hope it isn't for too long.
Getting the start in name only tonight but Kennard still played well in the 12 minutes he did play. He finished the night with 6 points on 3 shots (he went 2-2 from deep and 2-3 overall) with a pair of rebounds and a huge +22 on the night. So regardless of playing time, he played really well.
And SVG said “Oh Yeee of little faith.” but then was silent when the faithful asked why on earth Bullock had been totally out of the rotation before being made a starter, for he had no answer to that question.
Bullock actually ended up not having as good a game as the last few as he finished with 11 points on 13 shots and shot just 1-7 from deep, but when you keep in mind that he handled Victor Oladipo to great success (13 points on 12 equivalents, 3 assists with 2 turnovers in 26 minutes) then I'd say this is still a pretty good game for Bullock. If Jackson is out for significant time then Bullock's life will suddenly be much harder on offense, but he continues to look like he is pretty close to his theoretical ceiling of being an awesome complimentary role player.
There was a request from a non-specific family member of mine to change the way the honors are phrased because “I can't tell people I know 'look at my son's work which I'm so proud of because it might have mother-fucker' in it.” as such I require a new system for giving special honors and I couldn't think of any right now, any suggestions are welcome.
That aside, Tobias Harris had himself a freaking game. If the game had not been such a blowout he would've had a good chance to go for a career high, but he finished with 30 points on 13(!!!!!) equivalents on the night, going 10-11 from the field and 7-8(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!什么!!!!!) from deep in 29 minutes. It was a bit disappointing given that he had 21 in the first quarter but these things happen with Tobias sometimes and given the margin of the game it is hard to be upset. Still, Harris had an awesome game.
If I was allowed to give proper honors I would give them to Andre as well. 21 points on just 15 equivalents with 18 rebounds and 3 assists and a game high +35 in 22 minutes. Drummond didn't have the shooting explosion that Harris had but he had a consistent effect on the game on both ends of the floor and also had a super fancy dribble move to the hoop that was very cool. If Jackson is about to be out for any extended time then Drummond is the guy who should help Pistons fans sleep well for a while, because in the end, even though Jackson and Harris are very important, Drummond is still the one who is holding it all together. As long as Drummond is dominating the paint on both ends of the floor they can probably duct tape the rest of the roster together and have it not totally fall apart.
First bad game for Stanley since he moved to the bench and he played 36 minutes so he was off the bench in name only. 6 points on 10 equivalents is bad even if he had 7 rebounds. He did have a couple of nice defensive plays and did a good job of making sure that Stephenson didn't do anything crazy to get the Pacers back in the game, but still not a good game.
Playing higher than normal minutes with Jackson out, Ish played pretty well on his way to 12 points on 11 shots with 3 assists in 25 minutes. He and the bench mob really struggled their first time out but evened out later in the game. By the end of the game the Pacers didn't seem to want anything to do with Ish on the break and he really started to cause problems. I really do not look forward to Ish having to take starting responsibilities again, but it is nice to know that a guy who is fairly capable of doing it will be taking the lead.
Galloway played 19 minutes, scored 7 points on as many shots. He looked just fine after getting DNP'd in the last outing against the Knicks, and I hope he still has some point guard skills because he is probably the backup point guard for a bit.
Tolliver actually didn't have a good game. 0-3 from the field in 17 minutes and didn't really make an impact on defense. It is less true than it used to be, but him having a positive impact is still fairly reliant on him hitting some shots, and tonight he missed.
Moreland played just fine in 12 minutes. He had 3 rebounds, a block, and a pair of assists. One of those assists was a really nice play where he cleverly picked off Bullock's man and looped a pass in for an open layup. Mostly he was just fine but not really worth noting.
Boban, Buycks, Ellenson:
Played some garbage time. Boban stronk, Buycks is in fact a basketball player on the Pistons, Ellenson didn't do anything.
This is the sort of game you want to play when you come back after a 3 day break, and the fact that it came against a (for now) direct playoff rival it makes it extra nice. It is absurd that the Pistons don't play the Pacers again this year but that is another thing altogether. Reggie Jackson aside, this was a really good win and the Pistons are right on track.
What about Jackson though:
Hard to say what proper courses of action are until we find out what a longer term diagnosis is. It is entirely possible that it looked bad as crap but will end up being largely fine and he may miss just a game or two or it could go full Jon Leuer and have him out forever. Ankles are just weird like that. Beyond that, the reality is that this needs more words than can fit here, but just remember that as long as Drummond stays healthy there is a good chance they can survive.
What do you think? How about Tobias Harris' night? Are you on board with Bullock as a starter?