Great win for the Pistons, and on a back to back no less. Pretty much everyone played well.
Jackson played an excellent game, scoring 21 points on 18 equivalents with 5 assists and a steal. Those points largely came on tough shots inside, and he did a really nice job making the right decisions out of traps that the Cavs set for him out of many of the pick and rolls. It also is pretty clear that when SVG decided to go with the even split rotation, he more or less told Reggie that he can keep starting, but he better get the ball moving in transition, get to the hoop, and compete on defense. Reggie has done that, and tonight the numbers were there too. This doesn’t mean that Reggie is going to be awesome every night now, but he is definitely starting to look a lot better, and the main thing is not even the numbers, but the fact that he is getting to the rim and into the paint again with consistency. Even in the month of January where he put up excellent numbers, he was doing it largely on jump shots. If you want to be very optimistic the last couple of months could be a blessing for Reggie, as he had to learn to adjust his game a bit, and if he can keep that shooting and smart play going with his explosiveness returning, he could be a much better player.
15 points on 10 shots, including 4-7 from deep, with a pair of assists. He wasn’t hugely impactful, largely staying in his lane as a spot up guy on offense and playing hard on defense, but that is ok. These are the sorts of games that give me a lot of hope for KCP, because they are the ones he has had so much trouble with in the past, he can have the games where he is red hot from deep and score a bunch, but then he would miss everything for a while. Good game for KCP.
More or less this game is what you would expect for Morris. 12 points on 12 equivalents, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He certainly didn’t do much to stop LeBron on defense, but other than that he played a very nice and in control game. Like KCP it was just a good game of staying in his lane, making the plays that were there for him, and not forcing the plays that were not there.
Not actually a great game for Tobias, 15 points on 21 equivalents is very poor, especially by his standards. But he chipped in 9 rebounds and a pair of assists, and he had more good passes that didn’t give him assists, and a pair of blocks. Even though he too got largely eviscerated by LeBron on defense, Tobias still played very well on that end and made some really good plays. I will be honest and say that I wouldn’t mind if he keeps coming off the bench so that he could maybe win 6th man, but I really do think he should be starting at this point. The gap between him and Leuer is just too large, Tobias is a better shooter, scorer, and defender. I don’t care if Leuer has “size” Tobias is a lot better.
Andre Drummond is a problem for the Cavs. They are painfully thin on big guys that are actually big on the inside (remember that the 2 guys who play center were 4s until last year), and Andre is athletic enough to do just fine when they go small and space. I also found it funny how LeBron wanted no part of Andre when he got switched onto him, opting to take a 3 each time. Obviously Andre was giving him plenty of space for it, but still. Andre finished the game with 20 points, 16 rebounds (7 offensive) and 4 assists. I really want to highlight the assists, as the Cavs often went to the same strategy as the playoffs last year of just trapping Jackson on every pick and roll to put the ball in someone else’s hands. Last year Andre would catch it at the free throw line and not be able to make a play quickly enough to beat the defense, but he did it several times in this game, and that is hugely encouraging. I have said it before, but I really would like to see Andre get the ball there more often, he has some passing chops and can hit a floater. I don’t know how successful he would be with a larger volume of touches at the free throw line, but I’d like to find out.
Stanley just keeps on chugging. 8 points on 7 equivalents, 5 rebounds and an assist with some very nice defensive plays. He isn’t all the way there yet defensively, and LeBron largely owned him, but there is a lot to like. Stanley also got some very nice extended minutes as SVG stuck with him for a while.
12 points on 9 shots for a tidy scoring night to go with 3 assists for Ish in 17 minutes. He did a good job of keeping the Cavs on their toes whenever he was on the floor, but I feel like that hardly even needs to be mentioned at this point with Ish. He was on the floor when the Cavs went on a run in the 1st quarter but it wasn’t much to do with him, so don’t worry much about the -8 on the night, Ish played really well.
Bullock got some real run and did well. He only hit one shot (a 3) but he put up a +14 in 14 minutes which was a team high, and by far better than any other bench guy. (Stanley was the only other one who was positive with a +1) The way he is so active on both sides of the ball is just winning basketball. I’ve wanted it since preseason of last year, but I really hope SVG gets him some more minutes.
Leuer’s struggles continued as he only played 13 minutes and did nothing of note. He was on the floor when the Cavs went on their big run, and his inability to switch or generally play defense was a problem. Leuer needs to find his game back, and fast.
Only played 4 minutes, likely with the combination of being banged up and that the Cavs play pretty small. He got torched by Channing Frye.
Good win, fun game. While it did come down to the Pistons hitting some of the tough shots at the end and the Cavs missing, it is nice to be on the right end of that for once. It is also at least a little bit nice to have Drummond be so clearly the best guy on the Pistons for two nights in a row.
What do you think? Should Bullock get more minutes? What’s wrong with Leuer?