Game Recap/Notes: Game #41. Pistons 105 - Bulls 107. (22-19)
What a rough game and a rough way for it to end. Very frustrating. Bulls shoot crazy well, Tobias has his first bad games in a while, some uh, questionable reffing decisions, and a two point loss.
12 points on 11 equivalents with 6 assists without a turnover. Despite the numbers I still felt that this was a very mediocre game from Smith, he just never really seemed to hit his stride, I didn't feel like he had that many assists, and Kris Dunn scored 18 points. I don't know, perhaps the numbers should make me reconsider my opinion when the game ended, but I just didn't feel like he had much of an impact. I suppose that he didn't do much bad which is worth something.
I mean, 26 points on 19 shots with 1 assists against 4 turnovers with 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block in 38 minutes of play. On one hand, Bradley was largely getting good shots and hitting them to the point that I'm pretty confident he has found his shooting touch back and 4 turnovers in 38 minutes of work is not too terrible a number (he handled the ball plenty enough) but once again it was the nature of them. Each turnover was bad, I think three of them were trying to slip a pass through two defenders that hit their feet each time, and he had a couple other possessions where he lost the ball out of bounds but the Pistons happened to keep it. Here is an official thing though, somehow, someway, this dude needs to have less ball handling duties. All of the numbers and eye test back up that he remains the same elite off ball shooter and player he was in Boston, but the Pistons attempts to put the ball in his hands more has been really bad, there is enough glaring evidence to support this at this point.
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. 7 points on 9 shots with 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 35 minutes. In a basic sense it was a rough game for Bullock, missing three different layups on backdoor cuts, and also missing the potential game-tying layup on the break at the end of the game when he should've just passed it back to Tobias anyways and was also probably fouled. Regardless, it ends up being a rough night for Bullock.
I don't want to pile on too much. I've mentioned several times how well Harris has played since Jackson went down and I'm going to start off by re-stating that. Tobias Harris has been awesome since Jackson went down, and him having found somewhat of an extra gear has been pretty much the only thing standing between the Pistons and a total offensive abyss.
With that out of the way, this was quite possibly the worst game of the season and Pistons tenure for Tobias Harris. 7 points on 15 equivalents is bad, even if helped a bit by 4 assists against 2 turnovers, but when combined with bad defense where he repeatedly failed to get out to shooters made this a truly awful game. I'd have to go back and re-watch to decide exactly how many of the 8 (Out of 16) threes hit by Chicago power forwards were really his fault, but on first viewing I'd say “many” it was just a bad game on both ends. That said it is important he has a short memory as this loss makes it even more important that they beat the Hornets in a couple of days.
Drummond had a better game than the other starters, 21 points on 16 equivalents with 15 rebounds, 4 assists (against just 1 turnover), 2 steals, and 3 blocks in 34 minutes of play speaks for itself. That said, he was not as good defensively tonight and it was a problem. Others failed in bigger ways further on, but there were several plays where the initial defensive breakdown was Drummond being a step late on his rotation. It isn't the worst thing the world but it is a bit frustrating after he had such a great defensive game against the Nets. All in all though it is hard to complain too much, he had a huge game in the box score and single handedly kept the Pistons in the game for a stretch in the 4th quarter by destroying Bobby Portis on repeated possessions.
Dude continues to be a really effective player. 9 points on 8 shots, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block in 23 minutes of play. He had a couple passes that were a off but that happens with rookies. Luke Kennard can really ball.
Rougher game for Buycks by scoring 10 points on 12 shots with 3 assists and a couple of those shots got utterly swatted by the Bulls defense to expose Buycks' lack of size, but he still kept attacking the paint and playing the right way. Given that the Pistons have converted him to a real contract it is fair to say that he is here to stay, so at this point you want him to keep playing as hard as he is and hope the shots fall.
Had his first really nice offensive game in a few weeks with 10 points on 6 equivalents along with 4 boards, but he joined Tobias Harris in really struggling to close out to shooters.
3 points on 2 shots with 5 boards and 5 assists in 14 minutes of work. The Bulls defense made Moreland have to make plays on a lot of possessions, and while it wasn't always pretty or crisp, Moreland got a chance to show that as far as backup big men who mostly play hard defense go, he has some decent passing abilities and made the right passes with enough regularity to keep the offense on pace which was nice to see. Solid game from Moreland.
The Pistons only had 12 turnovers but they were bad ones. Tobias Harris played terrible, the Bulls hit a bunch of threes, and the Pistons definitely got the short end of the reffing stick. Its frustrating because all that went wrong and the Pistons still nearly won, because the Pistons are a much better basketball team than the Bulls are, but the Pistons just made too many mistakes combined with too many things breaking the Bulls way. One thing, if you are going to criticize SVG for the way things went at the end, at least give him some credit for letting them play defense on that last possession because the end result was a 2 on 1 fast break, as SVG's preference to generally let them play it out paid off in a big way, Bullock just blew it. I don't know, it sucks but it happens. Close games like this combined with harris being so bad for a night is where the Pistons really miss Reggie Jackson. Speaking of which.
Some good news to hopefully perk you up at least a bit.
It is twofold. First off, if you include the game he got hurt in (which I'm going too because I've got a narrative to sell here) the Pistons are 5-5 without Jackson, and as frustrating as a couple of those losses have been, I'd say most of us would not be overly disappointed if the Pistons get Jackson back having played anywhere above .500 in the time he missed. And on that, Jackson is (supposedly) on schedule for the optimistic return table of two months. He is off crutches and in a boot, and coaches and players are officially starting to talk about “When Reggie gets back.” It isn't going to be pretty, it is often going to be no fun at all, but if they can stay afloat it looks like there is actually a good chance Jackson comes back with plenty of time left to regain some ground at the end of the year.
What do you think? Was Bullock fouled? How responsible was Tobias for the threes?