Game Recap/Notes: Game #12. Pistons 111 - Hawks 104. (9-3)
Ugly, ugly win. But the Pistons are not in a position to complain about how they get wins, unless you believe that they are actually 100% as good as their record right now (which would mean they will push 60 wins on the season) then every win is going to matter down the road to help them with playoff seeding, or god forbid, staying in the playoffs at all. Every win they rack up now while they are playing so well will help in the long run, even if it is ugly.
I mean, clutch much? Jackson finished with 22 points on 19 equivalents with 6 assists (against 1 turnover) with 3 rebounds and a pair of steals. He scored 8 points in the final two minutes of the game, including three pointers on back to back possessions after the game had been tied at 100. A lot of people are saying that Reggie is all the way back, and I'm not quite sure that I'm ready to be there yet, but he continues to play really well, and he does look like he is perhaps finding some of his touch back a bit. Perhaps more than anything else, he has pretty well shown that he is still the Pistons best guy to just make a play when push comes to shove, and it is great to see him playing so well.
He joined much of the team in having a pretty poor defensive outing, but he wasn't absurdly bad. Just not very good. Even though he made those clutch shots, he still is missing the occasional shot that he really has no right to be missing, but his true shooting percentage is all the way up to 55.4% on the year which would be a career high if it sticks.
A little bit of an odd game for Bradley. He started off very well, but the eye test wasn't all that great for the rest of the game as shots stopped falling and Schroder started to get a bit loose, but looking at the final numbers he still had pretty solid game. He finished the night with 20 points on 20 equivalents, with 4 rebounds, and 1 steal in 35 minutes. Schroder did give the Pistons problems with his almost constant penetration, but that dude is legit so it happens. The main thing is that I'm officially worried about Bradley's habit of blowing layups, because I'm sure that is going to bite the Pistons in a big way at some point. In really nice news, Bradley has reached 20 points in 4 of his last 6 games and really has been good overall this year.
Getting the start again in place of the injured Stanley Johnson, Bullock didn't have a huge impact but played fine in his 29 minutes. He finished with 6 points on 5 shots, with all 5 coming from beyond the arc, which was nice to see him finally have a decent night shooting. He also had a pair of rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. He basically did his thing, with the only one missing was a backdoor cut or two for buckets, other than that he shot threes, spread the floor, and hustled on defense for a solid but not overly remarkable night. I will say that in two games (supposedly likely going to be for at least one more) he has filled in as a starter really effectively, obviously he isn't the defender that Stanley Johnson is, but he's done a nice job.
Tobias Harris is going to cool off from deep at some point right? Like this is getting absurd. He finished the night with 16 points on 11 shots, going 4 of 5 from deep to push his season mark up to 49.3% from deep nearly a month into the season for a career 34% deep shooter. The Pistons have said that it was a point of emphasis for him to be more confident in his jumper and he's often been a good shooter, just not from deep.
Regardless, until he cools off he is absolutely killer, he didn't get a lot of offense run through him as the Pistons offense bogged down but he continues to be hugely efficient and is killing teams with his deep ball. The downside is that he joined most of the team in just not having it on defense and also struggling to get out of several offensive ruts at various times.
I mean, it was a really good night for Andre by any measure. 16 points on 18 equivalents (but like 4 of those shots were all on one sequence where he kept tapping it at the hoop and couldn't get it to fall) with 20 rebounds, (once again, like 3 or 4 of those were in one sequence) 7 assists, (against 6 turnovers of which 2 or 3 were not really his fault) and 2 blocks in 37 minutes of play. HOWEVA, he sealed receiving the honors tonight by going 4 of 6 at the line, including hitting a pair of clutch free throws when the game was tied at 98. I said after the last game that it would be huge for his confidence to come out and hit some free throws in this one, and he did it. Great for him. Plus, I like the sound of back to back 20 rebound games, even if a bunch came in quick succession.
One thing that I think he has improved on this year is smelling blood in the water on the offensive glass. Dedmon missed a lot of the game while being in foul trouble or being a bit banged up, it put the tadpole John Collins against Drummond, and Drummond has his way with him in the paint for most of their time together on the floor. He did the same thing to Karl-Anthony Towns, and the Bucks, and it is good to see. He is getting better at taking Ls on some possessions to just get back on defense, and picking his spots to really go hard for rebounds.
Also worth noting for Drummond, with this game he officially becomes the Pistons leader in minutes played this year (beating out Tobias Harris by 1 minute lol) and is up to 33.2 per game. Considering that the combination of foul trouble, poor play, and free throw shooting had him all the way down to just below 30 per game last year, it is great to see him eating up major minutes.
Ish is going to cool off at some point right? 17 points on 11 equivalents with 5 assists (against 1 turnover) in 19 minutes of play is pretty stinking good. The Pistons offense really struggled to get into a good flow when Ish was on the floor, which is kind of his fault since his whole deal is to get the offense into good flow, and the defense struggled, but in the end he basically said “screw it” and started to attack and it worked out pretty well. He joins Tobias Harris as someone I am cautionsly optimistic about, Smith's true shooting percentage for the year sits at 55%, which is almost 10 points above his career mark of 45.6%. Until he cools off though, it is good that the Pistons are winning to make the most of it, and he continues to look like he is really taking the right kind of shots and fits great with the bench mob.
He continues to struggle with his long ball as he went 0-3 on the night, but still scored 5 points on 7 equivalents with the help of some free throws, he also tacked on 4 rebounds in 17 minutes. Assuming his shot starts to fall at some point he looks like he will continue to fit in as a killer bench piece, and his ability to put it on the floor and discipline defensively continue to surprise.
As a side note, there were two separate times when guys where checking into the game (Tobias and Andre) and they were just laughing while they came on as they talked with Tolly. I'm not saying that Tolly would've fixed the problems last year, because nothing would've, and as the saying goes: Winning cures all ills, but man, everyone just seems to freaking love this guy and it is great to have him back in Detroit.
Getting some real run with Stanley Johnson out, Kennard didn't have a great game. 2 points on 4 shots with a pair of rebounds and 1 assist in 17 minutes. This continues the trend for his limit minutes as an NBA player so far. The eye test looks really good, he doesn't look even remotely out of place defensively, he makes smart passes, can create space for his own shots, and defenses are scared of his shooting on the perimeter, but the numbers continue to be bad. At some point he is going to need to hit shots, but for now I will take the eye test.
Perhaps Galloway's first bad game of the season. He still scored 5 points on 6 equivalents, but he just didn't seem to provide the same sort of spark that he usually does when he comes off the bench and he had a couple bad defensive miscues. Maybe it wasn't really a bad game, but it wasn't all that good.
Moreland only played 10 minutes with Andre rolling, and he did fine. 2 points, 4 rebounds, a block, an assist. He remains kind of wild but mostly in a good way, and he has enough basic skills that the Pistons can plug him into the offense in a smaller, but similar role to what they ask of Drummond and he can do it which has real value. I'm still not sold on him as a full time backup, but he absolutely works as the 3rd big, and pulling a guy who is giving you real minutes, and not bad ones either, off the scrap heap like they did with Moreland is a pretty impressive move for the Pistons.
I will admit that if I was choosing the sort of shots I'd like to see the Pistons get up with the game tied at 100, I would probably not have picked back to back pullup threes from Reggie Jackson, and the fact that he hit them this time doesn't change that. HOWEVA, I would've probably picked something along the lines of “Give Jackson the ball and let him do his thing” and the reality is that at that point you live with the shots he takes. He had plenty of space to get both looks off so they were not bad looks, and I like that they had Tobias Harris involved in the action. I will say though, that I hope they get a little bit more creative with their crunch-time offense. I'm fine with simplifying it down from the motion heavy sets of the rest of the game and just letting your best players get buckets, but I'd just assume have a few less of those possessions end in Reggie Jackson jump shots going forwards.
What do you think? Is Reggie Jackson back? Will Tobias Harris ever cool off?