Game Recap/Notes: Game #22. Pistons 84 - Hornets 104. 12-10.
Basketball is weird. Back to back nights, first night the scrubs play because you win by so much, second night the scrubs play because you lose by so much.
Reggie-WTF-Jackson: Ok, so there are a lot of things that happened tonight that are of the "welp, just not our night" variety. From just shooting really poorly against a good defense, second night of back to back, all the calls going the other teams way, etc. HOWEVA having the second best player on the team, who has clearly shown that he is fully capable of owning the court, score 4 points, and have 1 assist with 4 turnovers? There is no excuse for that. Andre had a bad night in the typical way that I can understand (more on him later obviously) but Jackson really had no excuse. His assist total was not helped by his teammates missing shots/just not taking shots, but that does not really matter much in the end. Jackson cannot play like this, plain and simple. It does not matter what the reason is, if he somehow tweaked his leg again to a bad extent to cause this perfomance (no evidence of this just an example) then he should not be playing. The most bizzare thing is that he just (very deservedly) won player of the week, and then turns around with this freaking dud. I preach patience all the time, and have especially done so with Reggie this year. And I will continue to do that, but there is no excuse for this. All the criticisms he recieves after this game are totally warranted, horrible performance. And just to be clear Reggie, everyone will be on your ass because we all know that you are capable of so much more, and guess what else? You asked for this, you wanted to be THE MAN. But guess what, when you're THE MAN, you don't get nights off. SVG will probably tear him a new one though so I would guess a strong bounce back is coming.
KCP: Despite his 3 point shot still being totally broken, he had another decent night scoring. Putting in 16 points on 15 shots. He made a few really nice defensive plays, but Batum's size did in fact give him some real trouble, and even forced KCP to the bench with foul trouble early in the game. KCP did a decent job on his pull up midrange jumpers, as well as at the hoop. But one thing KCP, stop pulling up for 3s in transition, you are not Stephen Curry. All in all a pretty decent night for KCP though, it was not his fault the Pistons got fried. Oh another thing, he sat out the last 4(ish) minutes (along with all the starters but Ersan) and still played 38 minutes. What the heck SVG.
Greater Morris: Similar to KCP, had a decent night scoring with 11 points on 11 shots. Made several very good defensive plays, and got a few good buckets in the midrange. It is not his fault that the Pistons got clobbered, but he also did not do a ton to help the cause. He did only play 30 minutes so that is good at least. Morris also ended up guarding Batum for most of the game after KCP struggled with him at the start and did a much better job. (although FWIW by that time the Hornets were up by quite a bit so Batum may have been cruising a bit.) Just fine outing for Morris, nothing spectacular by any stretch, but did just fine.
Ersan Ilyasova: Actually played a pretty good game, scoring 15 points on 14 shots, and added 13 boards. He was very aggressive in the game and it paid some amount of dividends. He tried to get to the hoop several times with some success, and also took a couple good looking step backs. Like the last 2 guys, nothing spectacular here, but he was fine.
Andre Drummond: Got himself into some early (and a wee bit questionable) foul trouble, and ended up putting up 9 points and 9 rebounds in just 24 minutes. He was not that good while on the floor but he was ok, and was freaking locked in on defense with 3 steals. But these games will happen from time to time with Drummond, get a few ticky tack fouls early, and it causes him to play low minutes, and be very conservative when he is in. Rough night for Andre, and the Pistons cannot survive when he plays like this, but it is the sort of night that will happen. Life will go on.
Aron Baynes: Ended up with a pretty decent game. 8 points and 3 boards. With 4(!) steals in just 21 minutes. He did miss a couple of absolute bunnies at the hoop though which was frustrating. But in the end 4/8 from the field is just fine for a backup center. His hands have a tendency to turn to stone and become totally incapable of catching the ball, but once again, he is a backup for a reason. Like many others, he was perfectly fine, nothing spectacular but fine.
Stanley Johnson: Another kind of quiet night for Johnson, just 4 points on 6 shots. He did make a couple of very nice plays going to the hoop though which continues to be nice to see from him. He should really just stop shooting 3s if he is not in the corner though, he can't hit them.
Tolly: Once again, a very Tolly type of game. 20 minutes, 6 points on 8 shots, 4 boards. Hustles everywhere. He should hit a couple more shots but this is a fine output for him. (This is becoming a pattern tonight) Another guy who was not that good, but certainly not bad.
Steve Blake: Probably his best game so far this year. 9 points and 7 assists. He still could probably not guard me, but he did some good things on offense. His 3 point shot is pretty clearly back as well which is good, because that was a hugely glaring hole in his game to start the year. Steve Blake is not a good NBA player, but he did enough on offense to come out as just sort of mediocre tonight so that is a win for him I suppose.
Bullock, Hilliard, Dinwiddie, Anthony: All only played in garbage time. Bullock did literally nothing of note, he passed the ball a few times. Hilliard clearly has the green light to fire away when he gets onto the floor, and has shot absolutely horribly while firing away. Dinwiddie threw a nice pass but did nothing else of note. screams internally and Anthony also did nothing of note. One thing here though. When KCP got into foul trouble early in the game, SVG scrapped the rotation he has been using (Morris comes out early, and then joins the bench mob) and put Morris back in so as to not have to use Bullock or Hilliard. And this ended up with KCP playing 39 minutes in a game that was a blowout by halftime. Hilliard is a rookie so he is ok, but as much as I wish Bullock would get a real chance, he is not a rookie. If he is that horrible, then he has no reason to be on the team. That situation is literally the reason you have those guys on the very end of the bench, to spot the normal rotation a couple of minutes when things get screwed up. Fans around here were not a fan of my Nick Young idea, but a new SG has to come from somewhere, plain and simple. KCP can't keep doing this.
General: This game is perfectly indicative of the Pistons biggest hole for 2 reasons. 1. When Jackson/Drummond have an off night, there is no one else who has any hope of creating offense. 2. The Hornets without Jefferson are almost like the Bucks last year, tons of long armed monsters who play really hard and are well coached. As such, when they collapsed hard on the Jackson/Drummond PnR (once again to an almost comical amount) they were able to use their excellent length and athleticism to keep the holes being made from being huge, and none of the supporting cast is good enough to force the issue from there. Some nights Morris is good enough to take advantage of them, but that is really the only hope. Although props to Ersan for at least trying to do stuff. The Pistons desperately need another guy who can hit a defense, because Reggie and Drummond are crazy good, but 2 on 4 is not going to work very often.
Think I'm stupid? What do you think? Let me know! We all get smarter!