Game Recap/Notes: game #48. Pistons 104 - Cavs 121. (22-26)

Further slipping. I am as optimistic and anti-panic as they come, but there is no denying. The Pistons must start winning games, and soon. If they let this hole get much deeper then even if Reggie Jackson returns sooner and stronger than expected they will not be able to crawl out. That simple.

 

Box score.

 

Ish Smith:

Back in the starting lineup and he did alright but not much good. 7 points on 9 shots with 4 rebounds and 5 assists. The biggest problem was that he was very lazy with his passes early in the game on his way to 5 turnovers in his 27 minutes of playing. For the most part he wasn't really a huge problem beyond the way that his lack of shooting hurts but he certainly did not play well.

 

Reggie Bullock:

Playing for the injured Avery Bradley at shooting guard, Bullock played a really good game. He poured in 14 points on 9 equivalents (going 4-6 from deep) with 5 rebounds and 4 assists in 30 minutes of play. He also largely did a decent job defensively, often taking on Isaiah Thomas. If the Pistons continue to lose there is a good chance that he will be shipped off at the deadline to a contender, but if the Pistons have any intention of trying to salvage this season or simply re-tool for next year they should be hesitant to let him go. He isn't great, but he can really play in his role. Of course that fact also makes him a good trade asset.

 

Tobias Harris:

I mean, he didn't have a great game but he did alright all things considered. He played more minutes at small forward which pitted him against LeBron James much of the night and he finished with 20 points on 20 shots with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. LeBron was often passive but largely did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted against Tobias which isn't surprising but is still a big downside of his game. There was however a scary moment where he turned his ankle and went to the locker room, because if Tobias were to go out for a significant amount of time then this team is truly sunk. For some perspective on this, since Jackson has been out the Pistons have been terrible offensively with an efficiency of just 102.1. When Tobias Harris is on the floor they sit at 104.5 points per 100 possessions, and when he sits they score just 97.2. If Tobias goes down before Jackson comes back this season is all the way gone, although admittedly it may be gone already.

 

Anthony Tolliver:

The Cavs are a bad defensive team. They especially struggle to cover shooters on the perimeter (not unlike the Pistons) and Anthony Tolliver was the big winner there. He finished with 20 points on 14 equivalents with 3 rebounds and 5 assists in 40 minutes of play on what is probably one of the best games he has played as a pro. He struggled to deal with Kevin Love on defense but that isn't exactly shocking either, but he competed at least. At least Tolly has recovered from a slump he had been in for a bit.

 

Andre Drummond:

Kind of a strange game for Drummond. He finished with 17 points on 16 equivalents with 11 rebounds, 4 assists (just 1 turnover), 1 steal, and 1 block in 35 minutes of play which is a very solid if not incredible stat-line by his standards. But I just felt like he struggled to have a significant impact on the game other than a stretch where he got loose for alley oops in quick succession. The Pistons also got totally destroyed with him on the floor again and even though I don't think that is really his fault he didn't do much to stop the bleeding.

 

Stanley Johnson:

A small bright spot remains Stanley Johnson. 14 points on 16 equivalents (although really 15 as he had another heave at a quarter end) with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals in 28 minutes of play for Stanley. On top of that he was one of just two Piston players to go positive with a +9 on the night. He played LeBron tough defensively, and while there were two possessions where he clearly got in over his head on offense, he was mostly aggressive without being too wild in attacking the hoop which was good. He still has work to do, but there really seems to be something clicking with Stanley lately, he has fully realized that he can largely bull his way to the hoop whenever he wants to.

 

Dwight Buycks:

Welcome back friend, I've missed you. Buycks himself didn't have a great night with 8 points on 9 shots and 3 assists in 21 minutes which included a couple of misses as a result of dumb shots, but the offense ran better with him out there. Even with his limitations, he is a legit scorer that the defense pays real attention too and he has enough smarts to get some milage out of the attention paid to him.

 

Luke Kennard:

Well, this was going to happen at some point. 2 points on 7 shots with 2 assists in 19 minutes. Not a good outing for Luke.

 

Eric Moreland:

In his 13 minutes he played decent I guess. He joined Stanley as the only Pistons to go positive on the night at +5 but he didn't really make a big impact it didn't seem to me.

 

General:

I don't know at this point. SVG is trying different things to get some life in the offense without totally killing the defense and some of them are ideas that I think/thought were good but they largely are just not working. The reality is though, that SVG more or less made this bed that he has to sleep in even with the injuries. It may be impossible, but he has to keep trying to find some way to get this to work somehow.

 

What do you think? Has Stanley figured something out? Should Buycks be back for good?