Game Recap/Notes: Game #13. Pistons 112 - Heat 103. (10-3)
Very solid win and a good way to bounce back after an ugly game against the Hawks. The Heat are not pushovers by any stretch and the Pistons had to battle the entire way, great way to close out a great home stand and the Pistons are off to their best start in years.
A very solid if somewhat unremarkable game for Reggie Jackson. He scored 17 points on 16 equivalents, only 4 assists against 5 turnovers with 4 rebounds in 29 minutes. One note on the turnovers, it wasn't actually as bad as it looks, two of those were travel calls which I was a bit unsure of (but couldn't tell for sure) and another was a long lob to Drummond that should've probably been converted. Regardless, he played fine on both ends but didn't do anything overly remarkable. In good news, after a rough opening to the year with his shooting percentages he has evened out, currently sitting pretty at 44.2% from the field, 36.5% from deep, and a true shooting percentage of 55.3%.
I am not so sure about him leading the team in shot attempts, but this was still a very good game for Bradley. 24 points on 21 equivalents with 1 assist, 6 rebounds, and a pair of steals in 30 minutes of play. He had his jumper going tonight and also converted in transition a few different times, along with his usual excellent defensive effort. It continues to be fairly striking just how much of a difference it makes to have a guy who is consistently good at shooting guard at this point.
Bullock only played 21 minutes as Stan Van Gundy rolled with the hot hands in the second half and he did very little. 3 rebounds and 2 assists with a single missed shot were the only numbers he logged. HOWEVA, I would like to point out how nice it is to have a guy like Bullock to fill in for Stanley Johnson for a few games. Bullock obviously doesn't defend like Johnson does, but there is really something to be said for being able to have a fairly complete two way player to fill in. He doesn't do as much as Johnson, but he does enough. And it also certainly helps that even though he hasn't shot well, opposing defenses are still largely treating him as a threat from deep so he provides spacing.
Harris continues to be flaming brimstone from deep as he went 5 of 8 from three and his season percentage is now over 50%. He scored 25 points on 17 equivalents with 7 rebounds and an assist. One thing that was well on display on several possessions in this game was his great shooting finding some real benefits. There were several plays where Heat defenders closed out too quickly on Harris and he went right by them to the hoop. I am not sure how well he will end up shooting by the end of the year, but the good news is that the Pistons have not wasted his hot streak if that is what this is.
Nearly gave him the honors, but it is only required if he is over 50% or shoots more than 4 from the line so I'll hold off for this one. Drummond still had a solid game if not overly remarkable. 8 points on 10 equivalents (some of those were tips tho) with 17 rebounds, 4 assists, and a block in 36 minutes of play. The Heat defense mostly made it so that Drummond was not getting the ball a lot in the paint, and there were several times that the Heat simply fouled him rather than allow him to receive alley oop passes which is not a shooting foul. Hassan Whiteside ended up having a solid game but Drummond didn't do terribly on him. This wasn't a great game for Andre, but he did fine.
With by far his biggest game of the year, Kennard got the hot hand and played 28 minutes including nearly 17 straight in the second half with the game in the balance, and he played very well. Kennard finished with 14 points on 11 shots with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He also finally got a couple of threes to fall going 2 of 5 from deep, and even made a few good defensive plays. I'm not sure that this game means all that much, the biggest difference between this game and other ones he has played in is that a few more of the shots fell. HOWEVA, it is worth something that he played major minutes in a real game against a competitive game and didn't look out of place and was even good.
Tolly has possibly found his long ball back. 9 points on 4 shots (3 for 3 from deep) with 3 rebounds and a pair of assists. He continues to do the excellent job defensively that he largely has all year and continues to be much improved as a passer and dribbler on offense that if his three point shot is actually returning he is only going to be better. He also played a little bit of center tonight to counter the Heat going small.
11 points on 7 shots with 7 assists without a turnover and Ish Smith continues to make his claim as one of the (if not just the) best backup point guards in basketball. He flew around the court, hit shots, and hit open teammates in his 19 minutes and him and the bench mob gave the Pistons some space in the early 4th quarter that the Pistons would never relinquish. Excellent game from Ish.
Galloway didn't have a huge impact, he had 4 points on 5 equivalents with 4 rebounds. His length makes him a defensive pest but I have not seen a whole lot of great defense from him so far this year which has been a bit disappointing, but his length is a big part of making the three guard lineups that the Pistons played a lot of in this game possible.
Not a good game for Moreland. He played just 5 minutes and had 3 fouls. A lot of people are not, but I actually am looking forward to the return of Jon Leuer.
Credit to SVG for actually following through this time with promises of lineup flexibility. Kennard shared the floor with another shooting guard nearly the entire second half and he even went small with Tolly at center at the very end. I actually would prefer not to take out Andre in those situations but whatever. This is another very good win and the Pistons have a lot in the bank. I have no idea how good this team will eventually be, but this stretch is likely to end up being important for playoff positioning at the end of the season.
What do you think? Will Tobias keep raining death? Is Avery Bradley going to be an all star?