Game Recap/Notes: Game #31. Pistons 93 - Mavericks 110. (17-14)
Lol well that was a freaking disaster.
6 points on 9 shots with 5 assists (against just 1 turnover) in just 21 minutes of play. He ended up having to hoist a few bad shots due to shot clock issues that were not really his fault (one of them was totally his fault) so his efficiency wasn't really that bad. He mostly looked fine. Not much good, but fine.
I'm not there yet, but some doubt definitely is entering the mind. For most of the year I have more or less assumed that the lack of scoring outbursts from Jackson were largely a result of the new offense and him trying hard to fit into it, but with each game that passes that he isn't having them (he has only gone over 25 twice this year) the more I wonder if it is just because he can't do it anymore. He is still have a really nice season, but there is some doubt starting to enter. That said, for tonight his play was far from the top of the list for problems the Pistons had.
Starting at shooting guard as the Mavs were a bit bigger, and Bullock mostly looked fine but the results were not as good as the past few games. He scored 4 points on 6 shots with an assist in 24 minutes and largely did fine defensively although he wasn't ever all that involved on that end regardless. He missed both his threes and got a couple of shots blocked at the rim, whenever you have a guy who is largely a low volume type who gets his looks by having others create them (spot up looks) or by the defense screwing up (back cuts and such) then there will be nights like this, not a worry. Not a good game for Bullock still, but he largely did what he is supposed to do.
Yeah this was a terrible game for Tobias Harris who officially joins Jackson in the “I'm kind of worried about how poorly the Pistons two best offensive creators are playing lately” category. He scored just 10 points on 17 equivalents with 4 rebounds and an assist in 28 minutes. He was always going to regress with his long ball, but that hasn't actually been that stark, (even with an 0-4 night tonight) where he has fallen off a cliff is making good on defenses reactions to the better long ball. He is, for really the first time in his Pistons career, coughing up those terrible sort of runner, sort of jumpers, forced shots with regularity and when he does get into the rim he is struggling to finish over shot blockers and cannot draw a foul to save his life. (which even if some of that blame is with the refs, Harris has never been able to draw fouls at even a decent rate.) I hope that him working a ton on his shooting didn't take away some of his edge as a finisher and scorer inside. Generally when Tobias has games like this I remind people that he has been deadly consistent so he is allowed to have an off night, but he has suddenly found himself being pretty inconsistent for a couple of weeks now.
The thing that really kills with Tobias though, is the same thing that has always killed him. His combination of being a terrible passer with not being able to get to the line means that if shots are not falling he doesn't really help your offense much, and on top of that he is a bad defender. At this point he is officially a bigger problem defensively than Reggie Jackson is, which is not a compliment to Reggie Jackson. Part of that of course is that it is just easier to hide guards defensively than forwards, but still. After setting the pace for a career and bonafide breakout season, Harris has fallen into many of the traps that have plagued him before, and the ones that he had seemed to have cut out this year.
AT LEAST SOMEONE CAME TO PLAY. Tolly scored 18 points on just 9 equivalents as the Pistons wasted a classic “Tolly shoots you to a win” game. I will say that he was disappointing on defense, guarding Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki is obviously not an easy night, but he seemed to do very little to bother anyone on that end.
Rough night for Drummond, who was awesome when he was on the floor and well on his way to a big game, but foul trouble thwarted him. He finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds in just 22 minutes, as SVG didn't bother to put him (or the other starters) back in the game in the 4th quarter. I don't know if the fouls calls were fair or not, they didn't show replays of any I don't think, but either way my guess is that even if they were not good calls there was probably some truth to it because Drummond still puts himself in positions to pick up fouls too easily.
That said, there is something comforting about losing a game so badly and being able to say “yeah well Drummond was in foul trouble” and it isn't actually a total crap excuse. In a game that the Pistons lost by 17, Drummond was +10 in his 22 minutes of play and was the only Pistons player who went positive outside of garbage time. The bad news about that is that lately Drummond has looked awful alone as the guy getting work done on a team that is supposed to be built upon great depth.
One bit of good news from tonight, Stanley Johnson: 6th man, continues to look like it might be a really good thing for him. He finished with 16 points on 10 equivalents in 28 minutes of play and he continues to be super aggressive with the bench mob. On the season Johnson is averaging 1.6 free throw attempts per game. In the three games where he has come off the bench he has shot 6, 6, and 4 free throws. He is forcing the issue inside and it is paying off. He joins Tolly in being disappointing by the lack of effect he had on the defensive end, but at least he has looked more comfortable offensively of late.
Ish got it going scoring the ball for the first time in a while, finishing with 15 points on 10 shots with 4 assists against 3 turnovers. I don't think it is especially fair to put much of the blame on him, but the bench mob got killed again as he went -10 and even if he put up good numbers he definitely gets some of that blame. Unless they start to really shift towards Stanley as a ball handler, the bench mob is still largely Ish Smith's baby. Just as he should get credit when the bench does well even if he doesn't put up great numbers, his numbers rightfully feel hollow when the bench gets killed.
Ouch. 2 points on 5 equivalents, didn't hit a shot from the field in 17 minutes. Rough game for Galloway.
4 points on 4 shots. Looked fine.
Got some real minutes, scored 4 points on 6 equivalents. He honestly looked fine while he was out there, but he does need to hit shots if he is going to get minutes. Even if he is taking the right shots.
When I was in Beijing, there was this bus stop on the outskirts to the west side of the city that I ended up at accidentally by going a couple of stops too far trying to get to a park. At this bus stop there was a small boy sitting at the bus stop, he wasn't waiting for the bus, he was just there eating some food. It was weird because it was far enough out of the city that there was not much traffic and there was no one else at the bus stop, one of the only times while I was there that there was not a constant buzz of city life around me. Anyways here I am standing waiting for this bus and this kid is just sitting there looking at me while I ate a sandwich and he ate some rice. I couldn't really talk to him but decided I'd offer him some food. He took the small bit of my sandwich, looked at it, put it on the ground and proceeded to urinate on it. Right there, middle of the day, out in the open. Thusly I found myself on the outskirts of Beijing, alone, watching some kid urinate in public on my offering of friendship. I'm not sure who Eric Moreland is in this analogy but I still think it illustrates the night he had on his way to going -22 in 11 minutes of play.
Got some garbage time. Hit a shot.
I mean. This is there with a couple other losses this year. On its own it isn't a huge deal. The Mavericks are not good, but they shot crazy good from deep, Drummond had foul trouble, and Tobias Harris was hot garbage and it was in Dallas. The reason it is worrying is that Harris and Jackson haven't looked good for a couple of weeks, and the bench continues to get beaten unless Galloway and/or Tolly go supernova from deep. So yeah, on its own this loss is bad but not anything terrible, what makes it worrying is that some trends that caused this loss have been building up lately.
What do you think? Can Tobias Harris figure out his thing? Do you like Stanley as a 6th man?