Game Recap/Notes: Game #4. Pistons 86 - Sixers 97. (2-2)
It sucks but sometimes basketball works like this. It just wasn't the Pistons night as they shot very poorly from the field and the Sixers shot well and sometimes that is just what happens. It just wasn't going to happen tonight.
Another good and encouraging game from Jackson, but also one that shows he is still getting his touch all the way back after not playing much basketball this past Summer. He finished the game with 16 points on 18 equivalents, but you can take two three pointers off because they were chucks at the very end of the game when there wasn't really any other option. So in reality he had 16 points on as many equivalents with 7 assists (against 3 turnovers), 6 rebounds, and played solid defense again. He missed a few very makable shots which was frustrating but he continues to largely take the right shots.
He was a little bit more ball dominant tonight, I'm not sure if it was by design of coaching or by design of Reggie, but either way I am not going to fault the decision to do so too much because the Pistons really got into a rut offensively and in particular Tobias Harris was off. Given that the team was really off it is understandable that Reggie started to look for his own shot more as the game went on. As long as his increase in ball dominance was largely the result of the way the game went then it is still an encouraging game, and the reality is that even if he does start to drift that way a bit more it isn't a big deal.
He wasn't a problem for the Pistons on offense, but he didn't really do anything to help. He scored 15 points on 16 shots while going 1 of 5 from deep with 3 assists in 38 minutes. His defense was good in the end given how small an impact J.J. Redick ended up having on the game, but it felt like he wasn't overly impactful since he was off ball so much. In the end Bradley was fine, but he joins several others on the roster in needing to hit some more threes.
Was tasked with guarding Ben Simmons and got into foul trouble, as a result he only played 18 minutes and recorded no stats other than his 4 fouls. He missed the only shot he took. It seemed that SVG decided to just not put Stanley back in regardless of foul trouble and I wasn't a fan of that, several of the fouls were very tough calls on Stanley and he was the only guy who had a chance to match Simmons on defense. Tolly made a couple decent plays but couldn't really slow him down.
I'm not going to be too hard on Tobias because he has been so consistent as a scorer with the Pistons, but this game is kind of on him. He scored just 11 points on 16 shots and went 1 of 6 from three with 4 rebounds in 33 minutes. And the problem isn't just that he shot poorly, it was that he didn't get to the rim enough and settled for too many jumpers. A big part of that is Robert Covington who is a excellent defender, and when paired with the rim protection of Embiid it meant it would be tough sledding for Tobias no matter what, but he didn't help himself at all. The Sixers also sent double teams at him several times after he screened for Reggie and he never made an effective pass out of it, he let himself be trapped and was forced to do a lobbing pass back to the perimeter which was too slow to really beat the scrambling Sixers. A lot of his bad night is a credit to the Sixers for good defense, but he simply has to be better, especially until Reggie is hitting more of his shots.
You know the rules. Andre went 4 of 6 at the line tonight which is above 50%. That means he gets the honors. HOWEVA, for the first time this year, he would've gotten the honors anyways.
The counting stats for Andre don't show it, but this was his best game of the season and a brilliant all-around effort from Andre. He had 14 points on 12 equivalents with 14 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals, and 1 block. By the end of the game he did get up to 5 fouls but he was out of foul trouble most of the game on his way to 38 minutes. Embiid finished with a monster stat-line, but don't be mistaken, Andre played really great defense on Embiid the entire night save a couple of possessions. Embiid just hit tough shot after tough shot, but the one hole in Embiid's stat-line was his 7 turnovers and Andre was responsible for almost all of them, (off the top of my head I actually think all of them but I'd have to re-watch) and Andre gave him serious trouble on the glass. On top of that, Embiid avoided foul trouble only because of some wizardry from his teammates to somehow convince the refs that fouls were not on Embiid on three separate occasions, and Embiid still finished with 5 fouls.
In the end, it sucks that Embiid hit so many tough shots, but you just tip your hat to him in the end. Andre had a brilliant game and it is a damn shame that it was wasted in a loss.
Tolly came off the bench and provided some decent energy and managed to not foul Ben Simmons as much, but in the end couldn't do much to stop him. He also shot just 1 of 6 from deep to finish with 5 points on 7 shots. I still love Tolly and hope he stays in the rotation, but for him it still pretty much is a question of if he hit his shots or not every night. He didn't hit them tonight.
I'm officially getting a little bit worried about Ish and his chemistry with the bench mob. He finished this game with 4 points on 7 shots with 4 rebounds and just 2 assists against 3 turnovers. His entire career Ish's main saving grace is that he is a brilliant passer and often puts up assist to turnover ratios that are truly elite level. So far this year he has dipped below 1.5 assists per turnover. I am not too worried about it in the long term given that it is hugely unlikely that he forgot how to pass after putting up an absurd 3.73 ratio last year, but (like Reggie getting more shots to fall) I am worried about how long it will take to turn it around. Because with his lack of shooting and ineffient scoring, Ish starts to stray very close to a net negative when he isn't passing the ball well which could cost them games. For instance, for all the complaining about the refs against Washington, the Pistons really lost that game when their bench was outplayed by a the Wizards bench in the 3rd quarter, if Ish is playing up to his best level I don't think there is any way that happens. So in the end I'm not worried about Ish long term, but I am worried about what the Piston record will be when he turns it around.
Getting 17 minutes despite Galloway being healthy means that SVG is giving him a real look to be in the rotation long term. In his 17 minutes he looked fine, scoring 6 points on 8 equivalents as he shot just 2 of 4 from the line, he also had 3 rebounds and an assist. I continue to want him to not be so eager to be run off the three point line and try and get those shots off/step to the side instead of in, but for now he still has a silky smooth jumper, can handle the ball, and is surviving on defense.
I don't hate Leuer nearly as much as a lot of fans seem to, but this was a rough game for him. He did score 6 points, all from the line, with 4 rebounds but he really struggled to defend the glass for a stretch in this game which was a problem. I still like him playing more minutes at center than at the 4 but he needs to put up a bit more fight when it is just Amir Johnson crashing the glass. He also struggled to defend against the more mobile Sixer bigs. (aka the non-Amir-Johnson ones)
Inserted later in the game following Stanley's foul trouble and he was an instant spark as he proved to actually be able to hit a freaking three pointer. He finished with 9 points on 4 shots with 1 rebound and an absurd +17 in just 13 minutes. I hope that Kennard took notice of how valuable it can be to have a good shooter who is willing to gun a bit from deep. Galloway is a nice player.
Once again, this just wasn't the Pistons' night. They played pretty well but got beaten because they missed a few too many open shots and Joel Embiid hit a few too many hard shots. In a way that makes it better but it also kind of makes it worse. I like that SVG used a three guard lineup some more tonight with Galloway and Kennard sharing the floor with a point guard. Regardless, the Pistons cannot dwell on this loss for long as they have a rough next 4 games with the Timberwolves coming to town before a trip to the west coast to play 3 games in 4 nights against the Clippers, Warriors, and Lakers in that order. The Wolves and Clippers are both very tough teams and the Warriors are awesome. The one team who is clearly inferior will be coming at the end of the trip as the 4th game in 3 nights which should even the odds a bit, if the Pistons are not careful they could suddenly find themselves in a bad hole.
What do you think? How about Andre? What is with Ish?