Game Recap/Notes: Game #18. Pistons 116 - Rockets 105. 9-9.
Got a little bit more interesting than I would have liked, but still held on. Good win.
Reggie Jackson: That's more like it. 31 points on 18 shots, 8 assists with 2 turnovers? Yeah. That's what we like to see. And FWIW, I actually spent some time watching him pre-Warriors injury, and then watching tonight, he is absolutely noticeably gimpy on that right leg. And it is really hurting him on defense. HOWEVA, despite being hurt he put in an awesome game. Scoring 17 points in the first quarter, and then not scoring again until late in the 3rd (I think) but turning it on towards the end of the game following Drummond being forced to the bench by the bang-a-drum strategy. His decision making was much better tonight as well, (which was part of the reason he did not score for a long stretch in the middle of the game) when he did not have a good look he did not try and take a dumb shot/pass and instead just reset. Although admittedly it is much easier to do that when the opponent cannot stop anyone from scoring. Hopefully his leg gets better soon, but still a really good offensive game for him.
KCP: Wow. That is one of the craziest stat lines I have ever seen. 44 minutes, 4 points, 3 assists. He played brilliant defense on Harden most of the night, (a lot of Harden's points were against Johnson/other people) but at the end of the game KCP was clearly pretty much spent. But he was a huge part of this Pistons win. HOWEVA, this is not ok SVG. I know that KCP is young and can take a heavy load, but this is irresponsible. There are two guys on the bench who play SG who have not gotten any sort of real chance to play. Playing 44 minutes cannot happen for any player, there is just way to much evidence that playing guys heavy minutes causes bad stuff to happen to them. If Bullock is that bad, then trade/cut him and find someone who you trust. Seriously. I did not realise that KCP played that much. I'm angry. Still though, a good night for KCP. His offense was largely nonexistent, but his defensive contribution tonight was huge.
Greater Morris: Another nice bounce back game here. Although I think he could have/should have gotten a lot more looks. For some reason the Rockets decided that James Harden was the best guy to guard Morris, and Morris took advantage with a couple easy isos, and also a couple easy put backs when left un boxed out. But holy crap Mook hit some 3s. 0-5 from deep will mean his 3pt% will continue to plummet. Although on the plus side, he was 5/6 inside the line so that is nice. I honestly was very surprised they did not attack the mismatch more, because he was killing it in out the gate. Also had a scary moment in the 1st quarter where he got hit in the back by Andre and sort of snapped forwards really fast. He was on the floor for a bit and left the game, but did come back and look ok. (maybe the injury is why they did not keep feeding him I suppose, but he looked fine when he returned.) Also though, 6(!) assists for the man who is allegedly a ball stopping hog. Reggie's willingness to not force the issue resulted in Morris running a couple of PnRs and other such things and he came through in a big way there. Although I'm sure Rockets fans are sick of their terrible defense making bad passers look good.
Ersan Ilyasova: Just played his game and played it really well. Only 1/4 from deep, but he got some nice buckets inside the arc as well. I am really starting to like his half pullup, half fadeaway jumper. I do not know for sure if he can take more shots while maintaining his excellent efficiency of the early season, but I would like to see him try. Also totally punked Clint Copela by drawing a charge.
Andre Drummond: I was going to deem him a mutha fuka, but then free throws happened. Had a huge night regardless, 24 points on 15 shots, 13 boards, 3 steals, 3 blocks, and generally shut down Dwight Howard. If it had not been for 2 REALLY STUPID FOULS that he committed in the early going he may well have gone for 25/25. (he only played 27 minutes due to foul trouble/bang-a-drum) He owned the paint on both ends, which is what is required from him at this point. But holy crap, 4/18 from the line. Idk man. How on earth can a professional basketball player do that? Guys say it is mental but that is crazy. I don't care what is causing it, 4/18 is totally unacceptable. Monster game from Drummond, but that is not ok.
Stanley "Splash Bro" Johnson: It's funny how a kid can look 100% better when they shoot 4/5 from deep. 2 nights in a row where the deep ball is falling for him, maybe he will bring up the shooting percentage to somewhere respectable, which would be nice. But geez, on defense, you could see the rookie in him. He got duped by Harden several times, and also gave Marcus Thorton too much space. Had a really nice night on offense, but a largely bad one on defense. (although he had one super dope block) But then again, a rookie going against James Harden is not exactly surprising that he would suddenly commit a bunch of dumb fouls.
Aron Baynes: Wow. I kid you not, earlier today, I was thinking of starting to make a case for the Pistons to try and trade Bayes. Because he is better than the playing time he has gotten so far this year, and if the Pistons could swing him for a young(ish) shooting guard + a not as good, but still competent, backup center it would be a good move. But tonight we all saw exactly why SVG has him around and why he is paid like he is. After Andre picked up 2 REALLY DUMB FOULS HOW CAN YOU DO THAT CRAP ANDRE Baynes came on and was awesome. He is obviously not as good as Drummond, but he still does all sorts of good things on the floor. He pushes hard on the glass, can provide a dash of rim protection, and has really nice offensive touch. His combination of size and skill is truly a unique one, and he is a capable center. Maybe SVG should purposely have Baynes play a couple more games like this to convince some team that he is really the starting center that will turn the team around. Regardless though, he got a real chance to show what he could do tonight, and came through big time.
Steve Blake: Made a couple decent offensive plays, but he still can't guard anyone. I think Dinwiddie is healthy and SVG just is playing Blake over him again. Now I'm getting angry again.
Tolly: Due to Johnson playing a lot of minutes tonight Tolly only played 12. He did not really do anything of note. He missed a 3, hit a 2. Did some Tolly type things. Nothing really to take from this game for him, he did nothing.
General: Good win, it is not as concerning that the Rockets came back to make it a game as it would be with most teams. The Rockets do that sort of thing a lot. And once the starters got back onto the floor the game swung back the Pistons way immediately. This horse is going to be dead and then some by the end of the season, but this team goes as far as Jackson/Drummond take them. Both where on tonight, so they got a convincing win. HOWEVA, Stan, no. Steve Blake is not better than Dinwiddie and should literally never play. And it is not ok to play a guy 44 minutes. Stop. All in all though a good win. Back to .500 and the schedule is in fact a wee bit easier for the next couple of weeks. If Jackson was healthy I would say with some confidence that the Pistons would go on a bit of a run.
What do you think? Think I'm stupid? Let me know! We all get smarter!