Game Recap/Notes: Game #44. Pistons 112 - Wizard 122. (22-22)

Well that sucked. Again. Possibly two of the more frustrating losses all year, because despite the fact that the Pistons are still banged up and whatnot, they played hard enough to make it a game but made too many dumb freaking mistakes and it is so incredibly frustrating. For the second straight night the Pistons had a real chance to beat a good team, but kept blowing it by throwing super lazy passes and executing lazy rotations on the perimeter.

 

Box score.

 

Ish Smith:

In the end Ish actually played a decent game. 15 points on 12 equivalents with 7 assists against just 1 turnover is a really nice line. The problem is that in the 3rd quarter the Wizards attacked him relentlessly and it worked, and it will always be painful to watch a half-court offense with Ish as the point guard. He played about as well as you could hope, but that is part of the problem. Dude just isn't a starter.

 

Avery Bradley:

In good news, Avery Bradley did no lead the Pistons in shot attempts which was nice. 15 points on 16 shots with 1 assist in 29 minutes is, livable I suppose. His defense was also at its usual excellence but it didn't matter much in the 3rd quarter as the Wizards gave it to whichever back-court member wasn't guarded by Bradley and went with that. Bradley continued to be a little more conscious of trying to attack the hoop and take jumpers a little less, although there was one possession where I literally yelled in frustration as he pulled up for a jumper on a fast break for no reason whatsoever. Still, I suppose this is progress, hopefully it continues as a real thing and not just coincidence that his shot attempts are getting a little smarter, and he didn't take quite so many for once.

 

Reggie Bullock:

9 points on 6 shots in 24 minutes of play. All his hits were from deep, and he generally did his job. Once again the problem is that the Pistons need something more and he, like Smith, just isn't really capable of doing more. Obviously their roles are totally different, but Bullock can only really take what the defense gives him on offense, and on defense he competes but isn't often going to be shutting guys down. (although FWIW Bullock is much more viable as a starter than Ish)

 

Tobias Harris:

What's the saying? 3 times a trend? Harris put up his third straight poor game with 17 points on 20 equivalents with 3 rebounds and an assist. He started off the game very well but then fell off, and didn't play down the stretch (or at all in the 4th quarter actually I think) as he was not part of the comeback.

Here is the bigger picture thing, and to be clear I like Tobias and he has made huge improvements this year, but do you ever wonder why it is that it seems that random wings have big games against the Pistons so often? Part of that is because of the more aggressive defensive scheme they are using which takes the ball out of ball handlers hands more often which makes openings for lesser players, but a big part of it is that Tobias Harris is a mediocre defender who especially struggles off the ball. He is slow to read plays, slow to react, and slow to recover. In fact it would not be unfair to say that Tobias Harris often lacks the effort required from him on defense. I don't know what is going to end up happening with this team long term, I still kind of think they will end up staying afloat without Jackson somehow or another and be just fine, but if Tobias ends up falling out of the long term plans, that is the reason more than any other.

 

Andre Drummond:

I haven't said this before I don't think, but Andre deserves better to be honest. 14 points on 9 equivalents (4-5 from the field, 6-8 from the line) with 21 rebounds, 8 assists (5 turnovers) 2 steals, and 2 blocks in 43 minutes of play. After the Wizards blitzed the bench mob with Moreland in the first half, SVG countered by having Drummond just play the entire second half until he fouled out in the final moments of the game. He also went +3 on the night. That's right, a guy played 43 minutes, went +3, and still lost by 10. Also those 21 rebounds? The Pistons had 35 as a freaking team, and several times where Drummond was pulled out of the paint with the Wizards going small his teammates failed to box out and rebound. FWIW Drummond was not perfect, he let Morris get a offensive rebound when the Pistons had their best chance to get the game, a couple of those 5 turnovers were bad (two of them were not really his fault) and he had a couple of possessions where he got over-zealous in trying to trap guards on the perimeter which opened up the defense behind him to problems. That said, the dude played a brilliant game and he put it all out there. There isn't another center in the NBA who could do what Drummond did defensively and on the boards tonight. It's a freaking shame that he is stuck playing with possibly the only rotation point guard in the NBA who is such a inefficient scorer that no one is scared of a pick and roll.

 

Luke Kennard:

Credit to SVG I suppose, because I would've rage benched Kennard after a first half featuring dumb offensive decisions and lazy defensive ones. In good news though, he bounced back to be a member of the lineup that got it kind of close in the 4th quarter and finished with 16 points on 9 equivalents, and hit multiple big shots down the stretch of the game as the Pistons honest to goodness ran their offense through him. That last bit of the game is a nice reminder of that despite what Mitchell is doing, if they swapped places it is entirely possible that Kennard is putting up monster numbers.

 

Anthony Tolliver:

11 points on 7 equivalents for Tolly who was especially spry attacking the hoop tonight and shot 6 free throws as a result, he also actually played defense occasionally which made him a member of the lineup that got the game close in the 4th. The bad news is that he had 3 turnovers and they were all awful, so awful that I have trouble saying that he had a good game. They were terrible.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Didn't play at all in the first half, it was assumed that the decision was made that he wasn't quite healthy enough yet. Came in the second half and was really good. 5 points on 4 equivalents (and two real bad shot attempts) but he had 2 steals and went +7 in his 12 minutes of play. His defense provided a real spark for the Pistons. Perhaps they were planning on letting him rest but SVG put him in out of rage at the defensive effort, but regardless it makes it more confounding that he was headed for a DNP. Another thing, give me Stanley every time man. His offensive game messes stuff up and I get that, but I want to go down with this guy because he freaking plays his heart out and it has a real impact on the rest of the team.

 

Langston Galloway:

11 minutes of play and Galloway scored 4 points on 5 shots. We did get to see some of him at point guard after Dwight Buycks was miserable early in the game and the Pistons looked totally fine in those minutes which makes it a little bit more frustrating that SVG pulled the Galloway as backup point guard thing after one bad game.

 

Dwight Buycks:

Fart noise

 

Eric Moreland:

The Wizards went with Mike Scott at center with the bench mobs on the floor and Moreland just wasn't equipped to counter it. This is something that I've thought teams should do to Moreland more honestly because it makes too much sense. Moreland isn't going to do a lot of damage against smaller guys, and no one on the Pistons bench, except maybe Stanley when he is aggressive, is going to make you regret not having a rim protector on the floor. It was a shrewd move by Scott Brooks that probably sealed the win for the Wizards in those few minutes of play.

 

General:

That was bad. The Pistons are now .500. I don't usually buy into a lot of the psychological things people talk about with sports, because it always seems to me that winning solves everything and losing breaks everything regardless of chemistry and any other crap. I do think there is a real thing to not falling below .500 though. Like in terms of morale and outlook of the team. Their next game is against a bad Nets team that they killed just a few games ago, and is as close to a must win as you can get in January. Tobias Harris also needs to get going again, SVG said it back during the long losing streak when Harris and Jackson were struggling. “We have no fix for those two guys playing poorly.” Now it is Tobias. There is no answer for Harris struggling, he is out there to get buckets and if he doesn't there isn't a lot to do for it, it's like Drummond not rebounding, they can't not have it.

 

What do you think? How about Drummond's game? How about Kennard?

Opponent Scouting: Brooklyn Nets. (17-29)

Opponent Scouting: Washing Bullets. (25-20)