Game Recap/Notes: Game #20. Pistons 131 - Suns 97. (14-6)
Well this was nice. The Suns were playing a back to back and 3rd in 4 nights and also suck. The Pistons are well rested and don't suck. So the Pistons destroyed them totally and completely. Nothing more to hope for there heading into another tough stretch for the Pistons.
The Suns do not play much defense of any sort, and that was most apparent when Jackson spent a couple of stretches with a layup line that was almost comical how easily he got to the hoop. In 22 minutes he scored 23 points on 15 equivalents with 4 assists. Given his low minutes total he could've probably had a career night had it not been such a blowout, but at the very least I can now certainly confirm that Lonzo Ball scoring 30 points against this team doesn't mean a damn thing.
20 points on 12 shots with an assist in 28 minutes of work for Bradley, who also totally punked Devin Booker on the other end. Other than a couple of post ups where Booker hit tough fade aways (that dude can score lol) Bradley completely dominated him while they shared the floor and it was so total to the point that Booker didn't even get up shots. Booker had 6 turnovers without an assist and almost all of his 22 points came after Bradley had left the game in garbage time.
Also did I mention that the Suns don't play a lot of defense? Because they don't. Bradley had a very easy time scoring.
The only guy who didn't get in on the offensive bonanza was Stanley Johnson, who scored just 4 points on just 4 shots in 22 minutes of play. The thing is though, he was still awesome. The Suns are young and make lots of lazy and dumb passes of all sorts of varieties and while the 3 steals Johnson had don't really jump out hugely (although it is impressive in just 22 minutes) he was a terror on the defensive end with the 3 steals and plenty more deflections. The question all season is going to be whether or not he can get the ball in the hoop enough, but so far this year he continues to keep that balance act just high enough for his defense to shine through without murdering the offense.
Did I mention that the Suns don't really play much defense? In 27 minutes Tobias Harris scored the easiest 20 points he probably ever will on 15 equivalents. He got to the hoop largely at will, and even had an assist off of a alley oop lob to Drummond! He also nearly had another but the Suns fouled Drummond. One thing to note is that if Harris starts to hit that with any regularity (he has gotten ballsier about trying it lately) it would be a huge development. The Pistons have slowly been letting Tobias run more pick and roll with Drummond and also giving him more dribble handoffs, and with his ability to score, if he can become any kind of passing threat it would be huge.
It's honestly too bad it was such a blowout, because this was the night for Andre Drummond to get a triple double. In 28 minutes he had 13 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, a block and a steal as well as going 3 for 3 at the line. There is something ironic to the fact that if he had continued to play he may have ended up short of a triple double due to lack of rebounds lolol. One thing within that which is worth noting though, and I almost said this after the last game actually, but Drummond is remarkably un-selfish with rebounding for a guy who gets so many. There are a lot of guys who are elite rebounders and are very protective of their rebounds, while the Pistons are designed to have Drummond get the vast majority of rebounds of course, I'm not sure I've really ever seen him have any sort of real trouble with teammates as far as him going out of his way to get rebounds that are clearly going to teammates. Regardless, he had an excellent game as those 7 assists came with just 2 turnovers. Did I mention that the Suns don't really play defense?
Getting big garbage time minutes and having a lot of offense run through him, and he actually did pretty well this time. 12 points on 9 equivalents with 6 assists against 2 turnovers is very solid even if it is against the Suns. He even had his best defensive ability (his anticipation) on display tonight on his way to 4 steals! The whole “SVG doesn't play young guys” thing has always been a bit overplayed, but if Kennard remains in the rotation all year that would be hugely impressive because he would not be there if he did not earn it. I said it about Stanley a couple of years ago and it is time to say it about Kennard now. Regardless of a lot of other noise, whether it be not great stats or some bad plays or whatever it may be, if you are able to be a real contributor on a winning team as a rookie it is a good sign especially if you are a young rookie. Simply put, not a lot of 21 year olds can say that they were real contributors to good teams where they had to beat real competition for their rotation spot. Also credit to SVG in a way, we all know he is probably not the most comfortable to play such a small bench lineup where Ish and Galloway are the guards and Kennard is the small forward, but he is doing it.
14 points on 11 equivalents with 6 assists in 21 minutes of play. He simply played an excellent game and positively ran the Suns bench off the floor to begin the route in the 1st quarter. Ish continues to have the best year of his career.
9 points on 8 shots with 4 boards in 19 minutes of work. He keeps doing his work as a guy who comes in, plays hard on defense and jacks threes on offense. It still would not be unfair to suggest that perhaps $7million per year is a bit much for a guy who is doing what he is doing but he certainly has been a very nice addition to the team.
6 points on 5 shots. Tolly keeps doing his thing just like Galloway does. He is out there to play hard defense and jack threes on offense and he did exactly that tonight. His three point percentage has also officially recovered after a slow opening to the season.
I officially know what Eric Moreland is as a comperison. He is basketball version of Delmon Young if you remember him. Young was mostly not very good as a baseball player. He didn't hit for average, he wasn't good on the bases, he wasn't a good fielder, but even though he didn't hit for a lot of power he hit for just enough that it was worth having him in the lineup. Moreland is mostly not very good, he is undersized, wild, and lacking in refinements, but occasionally he has these stretches where he blocks the hell out of people and gets multiple offensive rebounds to energize the team. I'm still ready for Leuer to return, but Moreland continues to mostly make a good showing of himself.
Bullock, Boban, Ellenson:
All played 5 minutes in utter garbage time. Boban got fouled a bunch. Ellenson hit a shots, Bullock should've had an assist. Nothing really to note.
Idk if he will ever get there offensively or not, but Josh Jackson can really defend and looks like a nice fit with Booker. It may be rough right now but I think the Suns may be in solid shape going forwards. This game for the Pistons was exactly what you hope for given the situation and they continue to wear down their reputation as a team that plays down to opponents. It is still going to take more than this to rid themselves of that totally, given how hard they worked to earn that reputation over the last couple of years, but they keep showing great signs of growth. The Pistons now have the Wizards, Sixers, Spurs, and Bucks on the road before coming back home to play the Warriors. That is a BRUTAL stretch and the Pistons are probably not going to get through it unscathed, but by stealing one in OKC, giving a beatdown to the Celtics, and taking care of business here, they have enough wins banked that they can weather this tough stretch if they lose a few games.
What do you think? Should Andre have been more selfish going for the triple double? How did Kennard look having more of the offense run through him?