Game Recap/Notes. Game #1: Pistons 106 - Hawks 94.
REGULAR SEASON BASKETBALL, NO ASTERISKS REQUIRED!
Reggie Jackson: Had a pretty nice game. The Hawks really had a hard time keeping him out of the paint. And it was encouraging to see him shoot 2/4 from deep. His overall stat line looks pretty good, but he also had quite a few real stupid plays. At the end of the game he was a big part of the game falling apart and becoming a trash tornado. Which worked out ok for the Pistons, but it would be nice to see your stud point guard be a calming force in those moments instead of being really erratic. However he was huge on the defensive side. Dennis shroder (idk how to do an umlout, sorry dennis) was an absolute terror for several stretches of the game, but Jackson was often a good remedy to slow him down. It should also be noted that Jackson had a game high +26 on the night.
KCP: Same old KCP, but slightly improved. Outside of the fact that it was on the road, this is the type of game we are fairly used to from KCP after last year. He is capable of getting hot from deep and scoring in the 20s. However he was also able to get a couple of buckets inside the line as well. Even though he still looks awkward as all hell when he tries to create for himself, but it does not really matter if it works. He was also excellent defensively. The type of excellent that we have seen stretches of before, but he managed the whole game tonight. Looked like a legit defensive stopper. Decent sign that he may have made the step up to becoming a killer two way role player.
Marcus Morris: I told you so. My prediction of him being a really good 3rd option in the offense looked pretty good tonight. He did not end up being overly efficient, (18 points on 19 shots) but he hit some really tough shots. And also made several nice plays which showed in his stat line with 4 assists. He also played really good defense, and hit the boards hard. He really is a matchup problem though, and it is so clear. He was too big for most of the hawks wing players, and too quick for the big men. Even though he is not necessarily too fast, he is quick in his moves, and big guys can't contest him well. The biggest positive for him tonight is that he was a clear positive on the floor the whole time he was out there, even though he was not on fire with his shot.
Ersan Ilyasova: Good proof for why the preseason means nothing. After looking gun shy and out of sorts in most of the preseason. He was great tonight. He took his shots, and hit them. He also crashed the boards, and drew a couple of charges. The only down side to his night was that he made a couple of ill advised passes resulting in 3 turnovers. He also had some clear problems gaurding Paul Millsap early in the game. But improved as the game went on, and he is not the only guy who Paul Millsap will make look bad. The Ersan that showed up tonight is the guy SVG was looking for, hopefully it is a sign of things to come.
Andre Drummond: Monster. That is really the best way to put it. 19 boards and 18 points. It was somewhat disheartening early in the game because he got great position several straight possessions and could not hit a jump hook. But by the time the 4th quarter came around, his advantage in size had clearly taken its toll. He was too big and strong for a generally undersized Hawks front court. And the potential for having Drummond as a one man wrecking crew on the boards was there tonight. He was also a freaking monster on defense. Plus he hit 6/10 free throws!
Stanley Johnson: Had a pretty nice game. Did not set the world on fire by any stretch. But he played an off ball role just fine, and I saw no issues with his defense. He had 4 rebounds which surprised me. (I thought he had more) I personally would not mind seeing him be allowed to spread his wings a little bit more than he did tonight, particularly with the obvious lack of playmaking off the bench. Although it was nice to see him go start off his career well. He fit in just fine as a bench cog. But I'd like to see him do a little bit more.
Steve Blake: Oh dear. He did do his job just fine on offense, generally keeping the offense from clogging up too badly, but holy crap. His defense was awful. My main concern with him coming into this year was that he might now be the wrong kind of tweener. he basically single handedly allowed the Hawks to get back into the game early on with his total inability to guard Dennis Shroder. It should be said that he might not be quite this bad. Dennis is exactly the type of guy who would be a problem for Blake, so hopefully he will not be quite so awful in the future. But if he has that much trouble on D then Dinwiddie will get a chance as the backup. (which I would be in favor of anyways quite frankly)
Jodie Meeks: Didn't play a whole lot and didn't do a whole lot. He did not even shoot a single 3. Not a whole lot can be gleamed from this game for him.
Aaron Baynes: Did not play a lot but was good when he did play. He made a couple of nice rolls to the hoop for easy dunks, and hit a nice little jump shot. Given his contract I would like to see him be able to play a little bit more than just 11 minutes but he played pretty well when he was in. Also could clearly see the physicality aspect that he brings to the team. Man sets a mean screen.
General: Outside of Steve Blake deciding defense was not something worth doing, the Pistons pretty well dominated this game from start to finish. Until the end of the game the team moved the ball well and created good looks. And at the end the game became a trash tornado, and the Pistons dominated that too. It is nice to see that sort of versatility. I do not know if it was an intentional decision by SVG to much up the game a bit at the end of the game and just blitz the offensive glass because the Hawks do not have the size to compete with the Pistons, but whether it was or not, it sealed the game. It also showed the particular type of players SVG has been trying to get. Even though the team is filled to the brim with shooters, the Pistons are actually rarely playing small ball. Instead they are regularly trotting out great size who can shoot. A unique combination that figures to be tricky to deal with. The real story of this game though has to be the Pistons defense. Outside of Steve Blake, it was spectacular, they largely stifled a really good offensive team. IT was said several times last year that Kyle Korver is a great barometer for how the Hawks offense is flowing, and Korver was a almost total non-factor. They Hawks were never right tonight as their best offense was a combination of Paul Millsap post ups, and Dennis Shroder just being faster than his defender. It was not the humming passing machine that torched the NBA last year.
What did you think of the game? Think I'm stupid? Let me know! We all get smarter!