Game Recap/Notes: Game #46. Pistons 95 - Jazz 98. (22-24)

That sucked. This sucks. Its especially frustrating because if the Pistons win the three games that are so close then this is all so very different. Its even more frustrating because Ish Smith is so clearly not belonging on the floor down the stretch and by starting Galloway it looked like he they had figured it out.

 

Box score.

 

Langston Galloway:

Getting the start and even though he didn't put up great numbers he really played well and the starting lineup looked better than it has in a while. He finished with 5 points on 7 shots with 2 rebounds and 4 assists in 20 minutes along with some decent defensive play. The biggest problem ended up being the 20 minutes. It was all going well, but SVG could not just stick with the plan and put him back in and instead kept Ish Smith in which was utterly stupid and I believe cost the Pistons the game.

 

Avery Bradley:

Geez. 6 points on 11 shots with 2 rebounds and 2 steals in 41 minutes. Missed all 4 of his three points. His defense was largely fantastic for what it's worth, and regardless of whether Stanley will stay (or if it's even a good idea given how comfortable he's looked with bench mobs) in the starting lineup, it was nice to see those two on the floor together because they are a freaking wrecking crew on the defensive end.

Still though, its kind of the same old story at this point with Bradley. This just isn't good enough. I don't ride him as much about his overall efficiency as a lot of people, he is a bit miscast and Jackson's injury happened just as they were likely hoping to lessen his load (which continued tonight btw, he only took 11 shots) and the way he cuts and drives with real purpose puts some pressure on defenses and he may lead the team in Kobe assists to Drummond as a result. That said, whether it is by improving his shot selection, changing the way he gets shots, or just hitting a few more of the same ones he is taking, he must be better than this offensively. I'm not in on the movement to start Kennard or that the Pistons should trade Bradley at the deadline. HOWEVA, with every game where he does this it puts a little more fuel on both of those fires, and it starts to get harder to argue in his favor. He must improve, no way around it.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Getting the start for Reggie Bullock (who was out) Johnson didn't put up much in the way of scoring but I still think he had a decent night out and very much so passed the eye test for the second straight night. He finished with 7 points on 12 shots, though it is worth mentioning that 1 of those shots was a heave at the end of the half (credit to him for firing and not worrying about his percentages) and another was a heave at the end of the shot clock so really he was 7 points on 10 shots. Still not great, but when combined with 4 assists, 5 rebounds, and great defense in 39 minutes of play he had a pretty good night. Like Bradley, Johnson does simply, somehow, need to hit more shots. But Johnson does enough in other areas to lessen the pain whether it be with his good passing or the fact that his extra size gives him a versatility edge on defense that Bradley simply does not possess. Once again though, Johnson very much passed the eye test which was great to see. If he keeps up this play then I'd put him very close to Kennard going into the trade deadline in that the Pistons should be very hesitant to part with him.

 

Tobias Harris:

Yeah this is officially a problem. He had been playing excellent ball but 4 out of 5 games being stinkers pretty much evens that out since Jackson's injury. 13 points on 17 shots with 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 40 minutes of play just isn't good enough. And for all the complaining about SVG (which will come later don't worry) there is truth to what he said a while back. There is no strategical adjustment for Tobias missing shots. The Pistons have been pretty consistent on getting him into the upper teens each game in shot equivalents and he needs to hit them. The Jazz are a rough matchup for him given how well they control the paint but its still a problem. On the plus side he actually seemed to largely compete better on defense tonight than he has most of the time over the last few games.

 

Andre Drummond:

Thank goodness for Andre Drummond. Seriously. How freaking awful would this team be to watch without him? 30 points on 23 equivalents (one was a heave at the end of the game so really 22) by going 8-12 at the line with 24 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 6 blocks in 39 minutes of play. Andre Drummond went out and played an incredible game, and he did it against a team which defends the paint as well as any in the NBA. The only downside to his night was that his passing was a little sloppy on the way to 5 turnovers, to be fair I think three of his passes hit the receivers hands but they couldn't control it but they could've been better.

All in all I feel the same way I did a few nights ago. Drummond deserves better than this right now, and that kind of sucks. Also it is worth mentioning that even though the all star game is kind of stupid regardless, it is pretty bad that he didn't make it.

 

Ish Smith:

Lets start with the not end of the game. Ish Smith played really well. Back coming off the bench and running against reserves he looked like his normal self and was really good and lead a pretty effective bench crew. SVG left him in the entire 4th quarter though (after coming in with some time left in the 3rd) AND all of overtime and it went exactly how you would expect and have a wealth of data to show what to expect. Ish Smith kills your offense down the stretch, and he becomes much less effective when forced into heavy minutes or long stretches since he is only effective when he is able to run like a mad man. SVG let him play a stupidly long stretch (longer than honestly any player should probably play but especially a guy who plays like Ish does) and a lot of it was in crunch time. He meandered aimlessly in the half-court and puked up long twos for no reason without any ball movement. I'm not sure if the coaches give him free reign to do that or if it is him deciding to do that, but whoever makes that decision needs to get chewed out big time. The reality is that Ish Smith's total inability to even be on the floor in crunch time probably cost the Pistons the game tonight, a lot of that is on SVG for letting him be out there but Ish didn't make anything better by being literally the worst version of himself where he doesn't even try to attack the hoop.

 

Luke Kennard:

Hey Luke Kennard had a pretty night game against Donovan Mitchell. The way rotations ended up they never really guarded each other which was a bit sad since that may have been fun, but 10 points on 10 equivalents with 10(!) rebounds and 4 assists in 26 minutes is something I will take any night from a guy off the bench. The only downer is that he missed the game winner as time expired in regulation after the Pistons ran their best end of game sideline play in... years? Regardless he got a GREAT look out of it and missed which was really too bad. If he hits that then this is an incredible game and we all feel great about it.

 

BOBAN:

I mean, depends on what you want to talk about. On one hand he scored 4 points on 4 shots with 6 rebounds in 14 minutes which is uninspiring, but he caused the Jazz absolute fits in the first half. But he was much less effective in the second half and the Jazz did better to exploit him on defense.

 

Anthony Tolliver:

6 points on 3 shots and those 6 points could not have come at a better time than when they did. The Jazz were starting to pull away in the 4th quarter when Tolly hit threes in quick succession to bring the Pistons right back in it. He only played 13 minutes as well so I'd say he did plenty in his time, nice game for Tolly.

 

SVG:

Yeah we are doing this tonight. I've mostly been a defender of SVG and that hasn't really changed, but this game is a tipping point of sorts. The Pistons are now 2 games below .500 and this loss was a total implosion where the biggest reason it happened was due to a tactical mistake (leaving Ish in) that was so utterly foreseeable that it was painful. What made it even more painful is that the coaching staff had come to the correct conclusion, that Ish cannot start because he kills your half-court offense against starting defenses and that is why they played Galloway. The way the minutes were lined up showed that they clearly were planning on re-inserting Galloway to close out the game, but SVG decided to forego the corse to stay in his comfort zone down the stretch. The hope is that this will be a hard earned lesson that Ish cannot be on the floor to close out games, but even if it is, it cost the Pistons a game. I'm not on the bandwagon to fire him, especially not in the middle of the season (just as a rule I'm generally against the middle of the season firings unless something truly crazy is happening) but this has fallen apart to the point that the team simply must begin to improve. It no longer matters that if the Pistons had won the 3 games over the past week decided by one possession that we would all be thinking very differently right now, or that Reggie Jackson is out, or that the Pistons are still very much within striking distance right now. I'm very much in letting this season play out, but if things don't somehow improve there is no choice but to question whether he can do it.

 

What do you think? How about Andre? Should Stanley keep starting?

Opponent Scouting: OKC Thunder. (28-20)

Opponent Scouting: Utah Jazz. (19-28)