Game Recap/Notes: Game #75. Pistons 96 - Heat 97. (Eternal sadness)

            That’s a rough one. The Pistons playoff chances likely died last night with that Hassan Whiteside tip in. Technically they still have a chance, but it is now a very slim one. The reality is though, they didn’t lose their playoff chances last night, they lost it by losing to 3 straight bad teams.

 

Box score,

 

Ish Smith:

            Ish had himself a game, finding some hot shooting to score 19 points on 16 equivalents along with 6 assists against just 2 turnovers. His lack of size was a problem on the other end however as Dragic was able to take full advantage at several opportunities. But even so, Ish scoring as efficiently as he did is more than you should usually hope from him, so it was a very good game for Ish. One thing that is fairly small but something that I noticed was that there were a couple of times that he just straight up forgot about his guy on a box out and allowed a Miami offensive rebound.

 

KCP:

            KCP ended up having a productive night on the offensive side of the ball with 25 points on 24 equivalents, although it is worth noting that all 6 of his free throws were after drawing fouls from 3. Even though his offense wasn’t terribly efficient, the reality is that the Pistons needed someone to get the ball in the basket, as such I’ll take his offensive production, throw in 5 rebounds as well. Defensively he also got the job of Dragic at various points, and he also failed to do much to keep Dragic in check, and like Ish, there were a couple of possessions where he straight up forgot about his guy leading to an offensive rebound which is very frustrating for both of them, given that when going against Whiteside you have to know that this is one of the rare guys who is going to actually be able to steal a few tips from Andre which will result in some loose balls like that. Either way, still a fine game for KCP.

 

Marcus Morris:

            After a very solid outing in his previous game, Marcus pretty much went in the crapper tonight, 7 points on 10 sots with 5 boards and 2 assists isn’t immediately awful, but when you throw in the fact that he fouled out in 28 minutes and had a tech called on him (they missed the tech free throw) and it is a very rough night for him. He also had his life ended by James Johnson which I’m sure was not pleasant. Dude has been a competitor all season and, by far, the guy who has played the most “winning basketball” of anyone on the team, so it is a real shame that in the pivotal game he had to play so poorly.

 

Jon Leuer:

            This is officially going to be in my complaints of SVG in the season’s epitaph. Why on earth he put Leuer back into the starting lineup tonight is beyond me. In just 17 minutes he had 2 points on 4 equivalents 4 rebounds and 2 assists and a game low -11. Leuer also is officially on the “this may have been a big mistake” list of guys. I’ll certainly give him a chance into next year (assuming he is still on the team, which is a good assumption I think) but it has been a very poor first year for him, and I think one of the main reasons why is because SVG seems to have it in his head that Leuer can start, and he pretty clearly just isn’t good enough.

 

Andre Drummond:

            9 points on 8 equivalents, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks in 34 minutes. Between him and Whiteside it was fairly even the whole way as neither had great games but both did some good stuff. It sucks that Whiteside beat him on the final play of the game like that for a tip, but the reality is that if you told me the Pistons season was going to come down to Andre Drummond beating Hassan Whiteside for a rebound I’d take it every day of the week. That is the only thing that makes me feel a little bit better about the way it ended. If you are going to go down, I’d at least like to know that you ended up with your best shot. The reality is that he played a very nice game and got beat on the last play by another guy who is really good. It’s not unlike last year when Kyrie hit that one crazy 3 over KCP in the playoffs last year to really sink the Pistons. The reality is, that if I’ve gotta go down, I’d rather have KCP playing defense, Andre rebounding, and Tobias/Marcus going iso (for the various situations.) and if it doesn’t work I can end up living with that. Still hugely disappointing.

 

Stanley Johnson:

            Statistically it was actually a fairly good game for Stanley. In 33 minutes he had 5 points on 5 shots with 7 rebounds, an assist and a steal to go along with some very nice defensive plays. Unfortunately his youth showed up in a big way. He had 5 fouls, and a charging foul at the very end of the game was a crucial one. The tech called on him for stepping on the line I don’t really care about because that never gets called, SVG even said that in the postgame, and the jump ball probably should’ve been a foul instead. Either way, it was kind of rough because he had like 3 screw ups in the final moments of the game, but that is what happens with young guys. All you can do is hope he learns from it and improves.

 

Tobias Harris:

            Tobias had a very good game, 19 points on 15 equivalents with 6 boards and a pair of assists with a team high +11 on the night. He was able to get some 3s to drop and got to his spots. His outside shooting in particular was a godsend, as the Pistons once again had a dismal outing from deep by everyone else. Like Andre, it is too bad he got beat on the final play, as Dragic straight up ripped the ball away from him to get up the last toss that ended up being tipped back in by Whiteside. The only difference being that you’d like to think that your PF should be able to corral rebounds against a point guard. Either way though, as much as it sucks how it ended, he still had a good game.

 

Beno Udrih:

            Managed to avoid the turnovers this game and finish with a perfectly acceptable 6 points on 7 equivalents with 4 assists against 2 turnovers in 17 minutes. Not all that good, but perfectly fine.

 

Aron Baynes:

            Only played 14 minutes as he got a wee bit hurt in his first run. Ended up with 4 points onshots and 5 rebounds. Fine I guess, but not much good.

 

 

General:

            It sucks man. There is no way around that. Last year the Pistons won a pivotal game over the Bucks with an Andre Drummond offensive rebound, this year they lose a pivotal game by having someone get a tip over Andre. That’s just kind of the way it breaks sometimes. The Pistons still technically can make it, but it is officially a very long shot, if they had won last night they would be right in it still. Either way, this game should’ve never been the deciding one. They played the Nets, Magic, and Knicks in 3 straight, the 3 teams who are literally the worst 3 in the Eastern Conference. They should’ve cleaned up with them and then this game would’ve been the Heat fighting for their playoff lives instead, and that tip in would’ve just meant that the Pistons still had some work to do to finish off the Heat.

 

 

What do you think? Should Leuer have ever started? How much of Stanley’s screw ups were really his fault?