Game Recap/Notes: Game #59. Pistons 98 - Celtics 104. (28-31)

Tough loss. Too many bad mistakes whether turnovers, missed free throws, dumb shots, dumb mistakes on defense. On the plus side, there is a decent chance the Pistons get the Celtics in the playoffs, and all of the games have been super fun and hard fought.

 

Box score.

 

Reggie Jackson:

He took a real dumb 3 towards the end, jacking one with plenty of time on the clock and up by 1. But it is a pity because people will focus on that and forget that he actually played a really good game overall, I actually thought it may have been his best game of the year. He finished the night with 17 points on 13 equivalents, 6 assists with 3 turnovers, 4 rebounds and a steal. The Pistons got back to the pick and roll and Reggie looked comfortable snaking into the lane and finding guys for 3s. Maybe the horrible play right before the all star break added onto the long break has messed with my sense of time but I thought this was the best the offense has looked in a long time. The Pistons were getting good shots with consistency from 3 and at the rim and minimized their mid range shots. Jackson also really competed defensively and made a couple of really nice plays. This is the Reggie Jackson that the Pistons need. Just, please don’t take that 3 at the end.

 

KCP:

Nice game for KCP, who probably wishes that Isaiah Thomas would guard him every night. 18 points on 15 equivalents with 3 boards and 3 assists, and a few really nice defensive possessions on IT on his way to a steal and a pair of blocks. He once again coaxed Thomas into fouling him from 3, which was the 6th time this year that he has done that to Thomas I think, which is pretty funny. Nice game for KCP, and an important one. Hopefully this can be a sign that he is not going to fall off a cliff.

 

Marcus Morris:

Really rough game for Marcus. 16 points on 17 equivalents isn’t so bad, especially when 10 boards and 4 assists are added. But 5 turnovers is the big number, and the thing is that they were all bad turnovers too. Like sometimes he will have the ball going iso at the end of the shot clock and he will lose it out of bounds or something, that counts as a turnover but is pretty much the same as a missed shot. But he had a few passes that turned into transition points, and also threw a pass away while aiming for an open Tobias Harris with plenty of time on the clock. To make matters worse, he fouled Jaylen Brown on a 3 at the end of the game for a 4 point play that was really the turning point of the game, and got totally cooked by IT for 3s a couple of times earlier in the game. One plus side, is that 5 of his 10 rebounds were offensive, and they were not the wimpy sort where it just sort of bounces to him. Even if he turns it over a bunch and commits an awful foul, dude works his tail off. I love Marcus Morris so much, even if he isn’t actually that good lol.

 

Jon Leuer:

Leuer had a really rough game, 10 points on 12 equivalents with just 4 rebounds and 1 assist, and he joined Marcus in having turnover problems with 3, and like Marcus, they were bad turnovers. He also was 0-2 from the line. He only played 25 minutes as SVG went primarily with Tobias down the stretch which I thought was the right call. Leuer struggled to defend anyone on the Celtics, and didn’t do well offensively. Obviously no need to panic or anything, but it was a bad game.

 

Andre Drummond:

Well there is good news and bad news. The good news is that Andre had 17 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals, several really nice defensive plays, and was a real catalyst in the Pistons getting back into the game as he turned all the way up to take over on both ends for a stretch. The bad news is, his 17 points needed 18 equivalents thanks to a 1-11 night from the free throw line, and as a result of the poor free throw shooting he had to come out of the game at the end after basically dominating the game and it effectively killed the Pistons chance at victory as the Celtics proceeded to kill the Pistons on the offensive glass (more on this in a bit. Ugh) and the offense became “hope someone can hit a tough shot”. And look, it stinks, Andre did everything you want him to do. He played good defense, he cleaned the glass, he was energetic (especially in the 2nd half) and played really well. But 1-11 from the line cannot happen. I am as big a defender of Andre as anyone, and I’ve always been in favor of riding out the hacking because the Pistons can’t win a close game with Andre on the bench anyways, I’ve said this for the last 2 years. But if he goes 1-11 I can’t even say that. If he had gone 6-11 and SVG had taken him out, I would be upset, but there isn’t an excuse. Andre not being able to stay on the floor is the reason the Pistons lost this game, not the Marcus foul, not the Reggie dumb shot, not the Pistons totally failing to clean the defensive glass. Keep working at it big fella, because the Pistons need you on the floor to beat good teams.

 

Tobias Harris:

Very strange game for Tobias, because his stats were bad. 8 points on 11 equivalents with just 2 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block with 2 turnovers. But I’m still fully turnt about this Tobias game, because he was mostly trash offensively, and yet I still feel like he was very good tonight based on his defensive effort, which I thought was mostly very good. It is a testament to the Pistons coaching staff, because Tobias Harris has been a bad defender for his entire career, and he just played a game where he was a positive because of his good defensive play. That said, the bad offense was sort of killer, and he went just 3-6 from the line, which hurts because he has been one of the best free throw shooters in basketball the last couple of years.

 

Ish Smith:

Ish had a perfectly fine if totally unremarkable game. 2 points on 5 shots and it appears he has regressed back to his norm in the scoring department after shooting really well for a couple of weeks before the break, 4 rebounds and 3 assists without a turnover, and some nice defensive plays. Nothing special, but a fine game for Ish. The only oddity was that Ish committed 5 fouls in just 14 minutes, which I probably wouldn’t read into much since fouls have never been a problem for him before, but still worth noting.

 

Aron Baynes:

Screw this. SVG put him in the game at the end when the Celtics started hacking Andre, and he totally blew it. It isn’t really Baynes’ fault, it is SVG’s fault. Earlier in the year Baynes gave up the game winning offensive rebound to Horford. He gave up like 3 or 4 offensive rebounds at the end of this game. I don’t know why SVG went with Baynes instead of Leuer at the end, the only thing Baynes has over Leuer is girth, and with the Celtics going with Horford at center Leuer would be fine, and then the Pistons can go 5 out and maybe have a functioning offense at the very least. Baynes played like crap, but he shouldn’t have been on the floor at the end.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Another game another good look from Stanley. 7 points on 3 equivalents, 3 boards an assist and 2 steals.  He once again provided an energy and athleticism that was great on both ends of the floor, and I kind of wish that he he gotten more than just 12 minutes. Still a nice game for Stanley, and it is great to see that he has picked right up where he left off before the break.

 

 

General:

Even if you take out Andre, the Pistons shot 15 of 24 from the free throw line, and even though 17 turnovers isn’t incredibly bad, they were bad turnovers. And there were too many plays where they just screwed up defensively, whether Tobias switching onto Rozier and biting too hard on a fake drive and giving up a 3, or Marcus giving up a pair of 3s to IT, or KCP forgetting to box out on a fast break after Reggie hustled back to stop the bucket, Reggie and Andre both following the roll man and leaving IT open for an easy jumper, and many more. Basically, this sort of game shows the difference between a young and growing team like the Pistons and an experienced and veteran team like the Celtics. It stinks to be the young team sometimes, but these are the sorts of things that happen, and the reality is, that even with all of that, if the Pistons hit a few more free throws they probably win the game anyways.

 

 

What do you think? How was Tobias’ defense? Was that Reggie’s best game of the year/