Game Recap/Notes. Game #3. Pistons 98 - Bulls 94. OT 3-0
Reggie Jackson: Classic believe the eyes and not the box score game. His stats say that he was inefficient as both a scorer and a distributer. I was actually pretty surprised looking at his box score, because before the game was over I was thinking of what I was going to write in the recap, and one thing I was thinking was that Jackson played a great game. He got into the paint and was a huge problem once he got there. For the second night in a row, the opposing bigs shaded towards Drummond to protect against the lob down the stretch of the game, and Jackson made the Bulls pay with a flurry of impressive finishes inside. He also played really good defense almost all night, with Rose scoring zero points before the 4th quarter. However it should be noted that in the 4th, when Rose really put his mind to getting to the hoop, he got there and scored several crucial buckets down the stretch. Also should be noted, he drew 2 charges. (IIRC) The other thing about his inefficiencies is that this game was a trash tornado with excellent D played by both teams. Unless you are Marcus Morris, you will struggle in those games. Although that does not give Jackson a total pass for having too many turnovers and not converting on enough shots. But I still think he played a really nice game.
KCP: Had the dreaded "can't throw the ball in the ocean with his ankles in the shallows" game. And yet still, he was ok. Once again, he was pretty stellar defensively. He is not some all around destroyer like say Paul George is. But he can guard his size. He was great on whoever he went against, including stonewall defense at the end of the game for the second night in a row. (Although FWIW that was a tutorial in what not to do at the end of the game by Rose.) Also even though he looked fine, hopefully he is not hurt to any extent following a really hard fall. Even though he shot really poorly, he was really good in every other area.
MARCUS-MUTHER FUCKING-MORRIS: Give a standing ovation. For how good some other people were tonight, there is no way around that Morris is the reason the Pistons won this game. He was on fire all night and the Bulls literally could not stop him. It was truly shocking to watch the Bulls continue to allow a switch of E'tuan Moore and Tony Snell onto Morris. Because Morris shredded them all night. And the thing is that it was not just that Morris was hitting the shots. They were good shots. There were a couple of heat check shots, but he absolutely should tear up Snell and Moore. It is like shooting over a chair for him. He also made a brilliant pass in overtime that led to a huge Drummond Dunk. He also made another nice quick extra pass for a Tolliver 3. He also played good defense for most of the game, getting the majority of guarding Jimmy Butler. I personally do not like the "poor man's Sheed" because that way undersells Sheed as a player. But it is easy to see why the comparison is made. Morris thrives on shooting over people smaller than him. And has the tools to generally be a good defender but occasionally has mental lapses. So lets call Morris a homeless man's Sheed. I can go with that. Regardless, brilliant game. He is a awesome complimentary piece to Jackson/Drummond.
Ersan Ilyasova: Did not play a ton and did not do a lot while he did play. Tolliver got a lot of minutes tonight including all the closing minutes. Which would give reason to believe that Ersan's wrist might be an actual issue. Fortunately the team does not play again until tuesday so hopefully he is back to 100% by then. Other than that, he missed his shots, and did some Ersan things like run around a lot and try hard.
ANDRE-MUTHER FUCKING-DRUMMOND: 20 points, 20 rebounds. And even that does not do justice to how dominant he was tonight. There were several different instances where even though he did not end up getting the board, he should get credit because he fought off an opposing big, or causing it to go out of bounds off the Bulls. It is early in the season, but right now it is safe to assume that Andre Drummond has arrived. It is time to stop talking about how freaking good he could be, and start talking about how freaking good he is. He just so much bigger, stronger, and more athletic than anyone else. That he terrorizes and owns the paint on both ends of the floor. Gasol got a few buckets because Pau is really good, but Drummond mostly took it to him on both ends of the floor. And while his free throw shooting regressed to 4/10. For whatever reason, it just seems better. Maybe I am being stupid, but there just is not the sense of impending doom given off every time he steps to the line. Regardless, even though Morris was the difference in that he could not be stopped in any way. Drummond was still the best two way player on the floor for the 3rd night in a row. And that was reflected by his game high +12. Andre might be on the verge of taking the NBA by storm this year. Stay tuned.
Anthony Tolliver: Was the primary recipient of Ersan's limited time, and played really well in his place. He hit his shots, and played his butt off everywhere else. Which is pretty much the expectation with him. It is a little off topic but I think Tolliver is the best example of why SVG is so good. Tolliver was cut by the Suns last year, and SVG immediately picked him up. And a year later he is still a real contributor. Even if this team is a piece (or maybe 2) away from being a legit contender, SVG absolutely has an eye for guys who he can pull off the scap heap and make use of. And that is a sign of the consistently great teams in any sport. (The Spurs and Patriots are the two most obvious examples, also, we have freaking robbed the Suns holy crap.)
Steve Blake: #freedinwiddie. This is not to say Blake has been terrible. I like Blake and I am glad he is on the team, and his D has looked less terrible in the last two games which pretty much confirms that the Hawks were just a horrible matchup for him. However, he is still not a good defender at this point in his career, and his shot is clearly totally broken. I don't think that Dinwiddie should just be outright given the backup job, because for all his faults, Blake can still do the most important Point Guard job of running the offense and setting up teamates. However, Dinwiddie can guard people, and literally cannot shoot worse than Blake has. So I'd say give Dinwiddie a little run and see if he can be better. However once again, Blake does still run the offense and he is crafty as hell.
Reggie Bullock: First game in his chance to get actual playing time. And it was pretty "meh." He did nothing that was bad, and he made one really nice extra pass. But he missed his only shot. We will have to wait and see with him. The big concern of whether or not he can guard anyone is a little eased though. He has a bad tendency of getting killed by screens it seems, but he goes hard and can stick with his dudes most of the time. So it will really come down to if he can shoot well and still get those great backdoor cuts.
Aaron Baynes: Got a little extra playing time early in the game as Drummond got into some foul trouble. I'm still not totally sure how good he is, but I am warming up to him a bit. He is legitimately huge, and he is not afraid to use his size. He sets a mean pick, and never gets out of the way on defense. The only question is if he can actually score at all. They have run some plays for him to post up/get an open jumper. And he is so big that he can get into a good spot in the post, and he looks good on his jumper (and has some history of being a decent shooter) but as of now he has not converted on a very high percentage on them. Even with is current shooting, he is a pretty good backup center. But if some of those shots can start to fall a little more regularly, he could earn his salary and absolutely be a super backup. But we will see if he can do it. Regardless, he played a decent game, and you cannot question the dudes motor. Plus he's an Aussie so that's pretty cool.
Stanley Johnson: Oddly played the fewest minutes on the team tonight. He looked fine when he was out there so I don't know what the deal was with that. Even if I don't really agree with it I can understand if SVG pulls him because he is a rookie and playing like crap. But I certainly saw nothing to say he was. It may just be that SVG liked the lineup he had at the end of the game and stuck with it. (the Jackson, KCP, Morris, Tolliver, Drummond lineup played almost all of crunch time.)
General: Two things should come away from this game, (and also the first 3 games.) 1. Andre Drummond is a freaking monster who dominates the floor whenever he is on it. 2. SVG is a great coach. #1 is easy to understand so I will just look at SVG. All night the Pistons attacked mismatches. The Bulls are a good defensive team and the Pistons lack a truly elite breakdown scorer. So when going against a good defense they need to get creative to scratch out points. And they decided that Tony Snell and E'twaun Moore were the weakness. And they attacked it a ton. And it is remarkable how good this team has been on D. The team is lacking in a truly dominant defender beyond Drummond, and yet all the perimeter guys are on point with their rotations and they play their tails off. SVG is doing a hell of a coaching job. Lastly, What a great game. That was so fun.
What did you think? Think I'm stupid? Let me know! We all get smarter!