Game Recap/Notes: Game #14. Pistons 89 - Bucks 109. 7-7.
So (obviously) this recap is going to be a little, um, unkind. But let me start it all off by reminding everyone, that the NBA season is 82 games, and every team has a few games per year that are like this, (the Bucks were coming off 2 straight where they were on the wrong end of this game.) where they are just flat out bad. It happens. It does not mean that it is ok, or change the fact that they were freaking horrible tonight, to the point that I was legitimately getting angry while watching. But it does mean that this is not a reason to freak out a whole bunch about anything. The Pistons sucked tonight, plain and simple. It happens. As long as it is not a regular occurrence, it will be OK. But all that said, this is not going to be a kind review.
Reggie Jackson: After getting off to a decent start, he was bad. Actually distributed better than it looked with 7 assists and 3 turnovers. But he only scored 7 points and took 11 shots to do so. And it is not even that he missed a bunch of shots, or that he missed a bunch on shots on a matchup that he should have been awesome in. He took really stupid shots, like a lot of them. Part of that is the Bucks playing good D. But Reggie should literally never pull up for a three with a defender on him. There is no reason for it, he needs to get to the lane every chance he can. He should jack jumpers when the defense leaves him alone for them, not ever when they are on him. And he took way to many jumpers. He was just generally not very good on offense, but I am totally clueless as to what he was doing on defense. I get that in the regular season you will not do much to really change the defensive game plan team by team, and perhaps SVG is really drilling it into Jackson to not duck under screens. But holy crap, why on earth would you ever try to fight over a screen while defending MCW. This is a dude who literally cannot shoot. If you duck way under the screen and he shoots then you win the possession. Once again, Jackson appears to be making a concerted effort to not duck under screens anymore, which is likely a order from the coaches, but this literally made no sense. MCW literally grades out as one of the worst offensive guards in the NBA. I'm not even kidding, the Bucks fans were talking about it a whole bunch in a thread the other day. There is one thing he is capable of doing well on offense, and that is when he gets some space inside so he can use his size to make some plays. Literally the only thing he does with any sort of competency on offense, and the Pistons gave it to him all night. That made no sense. Overall a really off night for Jackson. KCP: Actually was not terrible, he scored 17 points on 8 shots which is obviously awesome, and he went 3/4 from deep which is his 3rd(?) straight game where he has shot really well from deep, so hopefully he is out of his shooting funk now. Middleton got him for a few buckets, but Middleton is good, that will happen. KCP was really the only guy who was actually pretty good tonight. (of the starters at least.)
Greater Morris: Morris is on the team to be the third option on offense, the guy who they can dump it to for some reliable scoring when Jackson and Drummond need a break. 4 points on 7 shots is not going to cut it there. He also had some troubles defending at times, but he actually did ok on that end. But geez he needs to start hitting some 3s soon. Like Jackson, he was just off tonight. Bad night for him.
Ersan Ilyasova: Tonight we saw in full form the limitations of Ersan. When his shot is not falling, (0/7 from the field) he does not bring a ton else to the table. He is a good shooter so it does not happen that often, but don't underestimate how much this hurt the Pistons tonight. The Bucks left him open on several plays and he missed. But as long as this is not the start of a shooting slump for him, this should be water under the bridge. Although still a bad game from him, you can't have your really good 3 point shooter miss multiple wide open shots.
Andre Drummond: Even though he did ok with a 15/15 stat line (on 14 shots) but 4 of those rebounds came on one crazy sequence where he and Ersan played volleyball for a bit before Andre finally tapped it in. But he was ok, and Monroe did most of his damage when Andre was not on him, but it does not matter a ton. The Bucks lived in the paint, and Andre is supposed to own the paint every game. I've said this before, but the Pistons success this year is almost totally dependent on the fact that Drummond has totally owned the paint, and when the Pistons lose it is because he did not own the paint for some reason, (both tonight and against the Wizards are the only 2 that really stand out here for me) or when teams are able to do enough damage from the outside that it does not matter that he owns the paint. (Golden State, Indiana, etc.) They need him to be a monster every night. Oh also, Andre, I know you have been working on your post moves, but never shoot a fadeaway jumper again. Like ever. That was despicable. He did not play too poorly, but he is the Pistons best player, "not too poorly" does not cut it. Once again, he no longer gets to make excuses, he needs to bring it every night.
Stanley Johnson: He did ok, although a lot of his numbers were from garbage time so I would not put a ton of hope into that. He missed a lot of 3s again, but he did put more effort into getting to the hoop which is good. The only time he should shoot a jumper is when it is a catch and shoot. Otherwise get to the rim or die trying. He was culpable of several defensive mishaps though, and his poor shooting is starting to visibly hurt the offense at times. But he did get a little extra time in garbage time, so that was nice.
Anthony Tolliver: Did nothing of note really before garbage time. HOWEVA, in garbage time he hit a few 3s to finish 3/6 on the night. This means literally nothing for the purpose of this game, but if he could somehow manage to roll this into him getting out of his shooting slump that would be great. Also, even though it was in garbage time, that put back dunk was awesome.
Aron Baynes: Was perfectly acceptable. Monroe beat him a couple times, but Baynes also got him a couple as well. And Baynes pretty thoroughly outplayed John Henson. Also had a bit of a bizare flagrant 1 called on him. (I thought at least it was bizarre because there was not really anything there.) I would also like to point out, that I really like his goofy-ass-grandma-slow hook shot. It is so funny. Baynes was fine tonight.
Spencer Dinwiddie: Did not have a great game by any stretch, but he was ok. I would like to see him manage a few more points, but the reality is that when he and the rest of the bench guys were on the floor in the late 3rd/early 4th quarters where the time when the offense looked ok in the second half. Took a really hard foul but bounced back from it. And had 3 assists. When he manages to get into the lane he really does well to make good plays. The issue for him is getting consistent penetration. Oh yeah he also played like crap on defense, so there is that.
Darrun Hilliard(!): Got a surprising chance in the rotation tonight. And unsurprisingly, he looked pretty bad. 1/7 from the field, with some iffy defense. But, whether it is with Detroit, or GR, I am in favor of him getting to actually play. But based on what I saw tonight, I would rather Reggie Bullock stay in the rotation for the few minutes to give KCP a blow, because at least Bullock makes whip smart passes and can defend a little. But Bullock also appears to not be able to shoot at all, so if SVG plays Hilliard for a few games to see if he can hit anything, then I will be just fine with that. Who knows, maybe Hilliard will be somewhat competent from outside.
Blake, Bullock, Anthony: all 3 only played in true garbage time so I'm not really going to go much into them. Blake actually hit a shot inside, Anthony hit a couple free throws, and Bullock missed a couple threes and also a layup. I wish so bad that Bullock could start hitting some shots, because he passes and moves so well on offense that he could be really good. But until he hits something he will be bad.
General: The defense was awful tonight, and the team gave bad effort. Then throw in the fact that the Bucks were out for blood after 2 straight blowout losses, and you have a recipe for disaster. Even when the Pistons found holes in the Bucks defense, they generally missed the shot it produced. But this was a good reminder of that the Bucks are capable of being downright scary on defense. I am still totally dumbfounded as to the defense against Carter-Williams though. That made no sense.
Tonight sucked, the Pistons sucked. But it happens. SVG will tear the team a new one in all likelyhood, and they will come out with a fire in them for the next game. But still a horrible loss that needs to not happen with any regularity.
What do you think? Think I'm stupid? Let me know! We all get smarter!