Game Recap/Notes: Game #55. Pistons 102 - Raptors 101. (26-29)

Wooooooo!! That was such a fun game, and an important one for the Pistons. Their record has been better lately and they got back into the playoff seeding, but it was largely due to them clobbering weaker opponents. A win, on the road, against a good team could potentially be a nice turnaround for them. Also the Bulls lost so the Pistons are now tied for 7th.

 

Box score.

 

Reggie Jackson:

Reggie didn’t play a lot, and didn’t do much when he did. Scoring 6 points on 7 equivalents, with 1 assist and 2 turnovers, it should be noted that he probably would’ve at least a few more assists if the Pistons had hit ANYTHING early in the game. He only played 17 minutes as well. He went -25 but I don’t put a ton into that, just like last week Ish outplayed Reggie and yet Reggie had a team high +15 or something and Ish had like -10. Reggie was mostly hot garbage and has remained in his funk, but it wasn’t as bad as the numbers might suggest.

 

KCP:

Just to get it out of the way, KC33333333333!!!!!! He hit the Pistons last two shots and it was huge. That said, KCP was pretty much hot garbage in the game. 21 points on 23 equivalents, and even though he did redeem himself, he took a incredibly stupid 3 pointer at the end of the game, the Pistons were down 5 with more than a minute left and he hoisted a horrible look. I’m also worried about the way he has continued to struggle with his defense, which combined with his continued struggles shooting the ball has combined with the struggles of Reggie to be a major problem lately. HOWEVA, as much as I often complain about KCP’s irrational confidence in his shot and the way he takes some really dumb shots. The end of the game is one of the few times where a totally unshakable confidence, the sort that led him to hoist almost 5 3s per game last year despite being below 31%, is an asset. He had been hot garbage the entire game, and was 1-11 from 3. But Ish found him for a good look and he didn’t hesitate even a moment. So, yeah, from an objective and statistical point of view, KCP was trash. But from an emotional and more fun point of view, WOOOOOOOO GAME WINNER BABY!!!!

 

Greater Morris:

Marcus didn’t do a lot on offense, 11 points on 12 equivalents, joined in the horrible 3 point shooting with an 0-4 night from deep. He did have 2 steals and 1 block along with 4 fouls. All of this would point to a game that was somewhere between poor and fine. But he was awesome. Derozan did have a decent game scoring the ball, often with Marcus guarding him. But as much as KCP did hit the shots at the end of the game, Marcus was huge with his defensive plays on DeRozan down the stretch. DeRozan is one of the toughest isolation scorers in the NBA, and Marcus smothered him on multiple possessions. Marcus Morris, along with Tobias Harris (more on him in a moment of course) won this game, with their defensive plays down the stretch.

 

Jon Leuer:

Leuer joined Reggie and (from the non-fun standpoint) KCP in being mostly hot garbage. Only playing 17 minutes, he scored just 2 points on 5 shots and struggled to defend anyone. Unlike Reggie who has the excuse of no one hitting any shots, or KCP coming through in the clutch, Leuer was just bad.

 

Andre Drummond:

Andre, once again, struggled to put the ball in the basket scoring just 10 points on 14 equivalents. But he also, once again, was doing the other stuff right, he had 18 rebounds including 8 offensive and a steal and a block. Other than the opening of the game where he (for the billionth time) got into foul trouble against JV, he had a good night on the defensive end as well, coming up with several really nice plays down the stretch.

 

Ish Smith:

Ish was freaking awesome. He played the bulk of the minutes with 31, scored 15 points on 12 equivalents and had 5 assists against just 1 turnover and had a couple nice defensive plays. The Pistons were struggling to get anything in the half court against the Raptors for most of the night, so Ish just tried to avoid ever getting into the half court, which was a boon for the Pistons offense. He was instrumental on both ends of the floor and has played out of his mind over the last 2 or 3 weeks. Great game for Ish.

Herka Derka Ish better than Reggie you’re so stupid Joe:

Here is the thing, Reggie has played like crap the last 2(ish) weeks, that is largely undeniable. He’s been passing the ball really well but he hasn’t been shooting well coming off the month of January where he scored really well. But here is the thing, Ish Smith in the moth of January has a true shooting percentage of 66.8%. That is absurdly good by anyone’s standards, but Ish Smith has a career TS% of 45%. It doesn’t take away from the fact that Ish has been awesome the last couple of weeks, and that he has even outplayed Reggie over that time, just the other day I even said in a comment that if Ish was a good scorer he would be, objectively, a better player than Reggie. If Ish is suddenly one of the most efficient scorers in the entire NBA then trade Reggie and Ish is the new starter because here come the Finals baby. But he is almost certainly going to cool off, and it will probably even be ugly, he is currently a full 20% above his career TS%. Ish’s play lately has been great, and it has been a huge help for the Pistons. But is fools gold if you want to try and ride that for the rest of the year.

 

Tobias Harris:

Tobias was the man of the night. 24 points on just 15 equivalents with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 assist. He was the engine that drove the Pistons comeback as he hit shot after shot and made play after play. He was absolutely huge. And even though he didn’t make the isolation stops on DeRozan like Marcus did, Tobias made 3 incredible defensive plays at the end of the game in the form of rim protection when Andre was pulled away from the rim for various reasons. Tobias and KCP hit shots, but it was the defensive plays that the Pistons, mainly by Tobias and Marcus, that were the biggest difference. Great game by Tobias, he showed off his entire arsenal, this game is what people see as his potential. A go to scorer who is also a versatile defender who can make big plays on both ends of the court.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Stanley also had himself a game, scoring 11 points on 9 shots, including 3-5 from deep with 2 rebounds and a steal in 24 minutes. He made several excellent defensive plays as well, and was huge in the initial turnaround in the game. Stanley’s play has been instrumental in the bench becoming an absolute force.

 

Aron Baynes:

Played 21 minutes with some extra time due to Andre’s early foul trouble. He only scored 2 points on 1 shot and had 7 rebounds. He honestly didn’t do a ton of note, but he just sort of did his thing, playing hard and getting in the way of guys on defense. Nothing really worth noting, but he did fine.

 

General:

As stated before, this is potentially a really big win for the Pistons. They’ve struggled on the road all year, and even though they have been winning more games lately it hasn’t quite felt like that serious a turnaround. They now will head to the Bucks and then go to Dallas, giving themselves a very good chance to get to the all star break just 1 game under .500.

 

 

What do you think? Could Ish actually become the most efficient shooter in Pistons history? WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!