Game Recap/Notes: Game #24. Pistons 100 - Bucks 104. (14-10)
Bruh where have you been?
Finals and whatnot man. I'm all done now though so we are in the clear. But it was only a couple games so lay off.
So that was rough. Rough stretch on the road where they lose two very close games (and got screwed in each) and now they come home for games against the Warriors and Celtics lolololol. The good news though? Even with this skid, the Pistons are still 14-10 and these losses have been close..If you throw in Denver at the end, this is part of a 10 game stretch that is probably as hard as any team in the entire NBA will play. Lets say they win two of the last 3 and then they went 5-5 over that stretch, win at least 1 and they go 4-6. Once again, that is over the toughest part of their schedule this year, and as tough a 10 game stretch as any team in the NBA will have. After that game against Denver they have a 7 game stretch where they only playoff team they will play is Indiana. Survive this stretch then get back on track by whooping some bad teams.
There are some bright spots of this recent skid for the Pistons. One of them is that Reggie Jackson is starting to really look right. The numbers were not as big tonight as he scored 14 points on 17 equivalents with 5 assists in 32 minutes (with a tidy +10) but he just in general is starting to look better. He is taking a couple of floaters per game and turning them into layups at the rim, and generally is looking like he is really fully finding his stride. By almost any statistical marker he is now playing the best ball of his entire career, and that combines with great eye test stuff. He is passing the ball smarter and more than ever before, and giving consistent defensive effort like he never has before.
As for this game, it wasn't as good statistically, but his impact tonight was a little bit understated by his numbers. The Pistons had a bunch of possessions where they ping-ponged the ball around the Bucks defense and he was integral to it even if he wasn't getting assists. Even though the game was out of reach anyways, it was painful to see him miss that free throw at the end of the game. Not a great game for Reggie, but better than the stats would suggest.
After a few rough games Bradley got back on track with his offense a bit tonight which was nice to see. He finished the night with 20 points on 17 equivalents with a pair of assists in 33 minutes. He struggled to make an impact defensively as the sheer size of the wings that the Bucks put on the floor gives him trouble, but I'm certainly not going to complain about his defense. It stinks that it came in a loss, but it is great to see him get the ball in the hoop and hopefully he can keep it up.
Geez. I like Stanley Johnson a lot, I think he is good, and I think it would be crazy stupid to take him out of the starting (as many seem to be suggesting) but this was a brutal game for him offensively. He went 0-8 from the field with his only 2 points coming at the line, and a lot of them were just bad. You kept waiting for him to hit one and make me go “THAT'S WHY YOU KEEP FIRING STANLEY” and it just never happened. Particularly against the Bucks you still 100% live with Stanley going 0-8 because Giannis is quite possibly the guy for whom Stanley's defensive abilities are most desperately needed, but he needs to find some buckets. In good news, he continues to be clearly much more aggressive going for rebounds as he finished with 8, and he joined in on the passing clinic the Pistons put on for various stretches of the game which is required against this Bucks team on his way to 4 assists. It is a cliché but he really does do all of the little things that help you win games, but he still needs to get the ball in the damn hoop.
Lol this guy isn't going anywhere is he? Idk what point I will fully believe in his deep shot but I'm starting to get on board with “Tobias Harris: Elite stretch 4” 21 points on 14 shots including 4-9 from deep with 4 rebounds and 3 steals in 39 minutes of work. Defensively he really had a decent game tonight as well as he was largely slotted on Bucks players who were off the ball which let him play to his strengths of having long arms and jumpy legs off the ball while avoiding his terrible on ball defense. I think it is a mistake in the stat keeping that he wasn't given any turnovers though, I'm pretty sure he had at leas two. The Bucks did a decent job of fencing him off from the hoop, but Tobias still managed to find enough openings to get some buckets and a nice game.
He actually missed on free throws tonight by going 3-8 at the line, but 27 points on 19 equivalents with 20 rebounds, 6 assists (against just 1 turnover!!) in 37 minutes of play is definitely deserving of the honors in my book. This trend started earlier, but along with Jackson starting to look like himself, another real positive of this stretch is that Andre Drummond is starting to look more and more like he has made the step to being a legit franchise player. Even when he has bad games they are still good by anyone other standards, and even when the team loses he puts up a heroic effort in defeat. This game was the best example of his free throw shooting improvement all season, despite the fact that he only shot 3 of 8 from the line. Because he isn't afraid of getting fouled, he goes to the hoop every time. He didn't take any (I don't think) terrible fading hook shots or any crap like that, he was going to the rim and going up strong. He is either putting it in, getting fouled, or getting it stripped, and it is putting a lot of pressure on defenses. This was a great game for Drummond, and it is a shame that it was all for naught in the end.
Obviously this is less of a ongoing problem for Tolly, but he joins Stanley is that this was kind of a brutal game for him. Tolly at least hit a three, but he still went 1-8 from the field in 20 minutes for just 3 points. Like Stanley, you still love that he does all the little stuff to make you better and especially with Giannis on the other side, Tolly is important as someone who is at least a small speed bump for the greek freak. That said, he needs to get the ball in the hoop more.
6 points on 8 equivalents in 18 minutes of play. One those hits was a killer pull-up 3 which makes you drool. I officially don't give a single crap about the stats Donovan Mitchell is putting up, Luke Kennard can play and I think he may well do the similar things as Mitchell if he was taking on such a comically large workload for a rookie.
Yuck. 4 points on 5 shots without an assist and going -13 in 16 minutes of play. It is a obvious blueprint and it is easier said than done, but if you can make the Pistons bench play in the half court it is a problem. The only real option for the bench mob in the half court is to pray that they just shoot their way out of bad offensive possessions, which FWIW, with Tolly, Kennard, and (normally) Langston Galloway that is something that can (and does) happen on occasion, but it is still a problem. On one hand, it isn't really Ish's fault that other guys couldn't finish some looks, but on the other hand Ish makes it way harder for everyone else because no one guards him.
Moreland has become pretty polarizing recently and I've largely remained firmly in the center about him, but this game was a freaking disaster. 3 points, 5 rebounds, 2 turnovers, and 3 fouls in 11 minutes does not do justice to just how bad he was when he played. That spurt of energy that results in multiple blocked shots and offensive rebounds never came in this one, and he was totally out of control on both ends. I still like Moreland as a 3rd center, and there are some nice things he does, but tonight was an awful night for him.
It sucks to be saying it yet again, but you can't get too down about this one. The Bucks are a good team, and the Pistons lost a close game on the road. Once again I mostly liked the Pistons game plan to attack them, and Andre Drummond played great, the Bucks mostly just hit more shots than the Pistons did. The Pistons also got TOTALLY SCREWED.
The refs? You want to talk about the refs?
Yeah I do. I once again re-iterate: Refs do not decide games, especially in basketball. THAT SAID. This was a freaking joke. Giannis had a tip in that was so painfully obviously basket interference and it was so easy to see on the replay and they never did anything about it. It is literally the reason why you have replay. It would've been a 1 point game with the Bucks having the ball and the Pistons playing for a stop, but instead the Pistons were fouling. The Pistons may well still lose, but I'm super salty about this. Much different stakes of course, but this is as frustrated I've been with refs since Michigan played Louisville in the national championship. When you combine this with the crap loose ball foul called on Tobias Harris at the end of the Spurs game, I think it is time for SVG to go get fined. The Pistons need to get some freaking something from the refs.