Game Recap/Notes: Game #20. Pistons 111 - Warriors 102. (13-7)

Great win. The Warriors are most definitely still in a funk, but the Pistons have now won 9 of their last 11 and have looked good doing it. And when you now look through the statistics, there is not a ton here that says “fake”

Box score.

Reggie Jackson:

It was fairly quiet, but Jackson put in an excellent outing. 17 points on 13 shot equivalents with 2 rebounds and 5 assists. And while his defense was, as usual, not excellent, he mostly did a nice job holding up on that end. He spent a lot of his night on Klay Thompson and put in the required effort to chase him around the court. His one really bad mis-step was when he got utterly killed by a screen and allowed a wide open 3 for Steph Curry. Jackson continues to find more effective play, the better shooting from deep was always coming but he’s getting more comfortable with his role in the offense other places.

Reggie Bullock:

A night that seemed like it was better than his final numbers ended up. 10 points on 12 shots with 3 assists in 32 minutes. It probably looked better than that because he had several of those misses came in quick succession early in the game. Regardless, he did hit some big shots and make a few nice plays, even if his overall efficiency wasn’t very good.

On defense he was about as you should expect for Bullock. He defended Kevin Durant, and mostly stayed in front of him and made him take more difficult kind of shots, but wasn’t able to bother those shots enough to really be an issue for Durant. Fortunately Durant was not on like the last few nights, and the Pistons could live with just “ok” defense from Bullock.

Glenn Robinson III:

I think Robinson is officially in “honorary starter” role. Only played 15 minutes, didn’t record a stat. The starting lineup does look better with him, although as Stanley Johnson’s shot revival continues to look more and more real, I wonder if that will remain…

Blake Griffin:

Blake Griffin is freaking incredible. 34 minutes, 26 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists. Kevin Durant spent a decent amount of time guarding him and Griffin largely took him to task. This game was also a good reminder that when Griffin is fully engaged he is not a bad defender.

Griffin constantly and repeatedly beat the Warriors defenders into submission with brutalizing post ups. Without Draymond Green, the Warriors simply didn’t have the interior toughness to deal with Griffin or Drummond.

Andre Drummond:

Ho Hum 16 points and 19 rebounds, 8 of which are offensive. Drummond is officially in a funk from the line but he did split a pair at the end when the Warriors fouled him on purpose which was good to see.

On top of the 16 and 19 Drummond also had 3 steals and 2 blocks. Simply a monstrous performance from Drummond. Early in the game he established that the Warriors had absolutely no chance to box him out with one guy, and it forced the Warriors to change their gameplan which opened up the offense for everyone else. It isn’t a coincidence that Drummond started off dominant while Griffin was quiet, then it flipped later in the game. He is an issue for teams like the Warriors, because he’s quick enough to survive all the speed and pressure they put on him defensively but can also punish the lack of size on the other end.

Stanley Johnson:

19 points on 16 shots, also 7 rebounds and 2 assists. We’ve seen Stanley’s effectiveness as a bench player the last two years and it’s continued in a big way this year. He gets the ball more, and most importantly gets to run in transition more. What we haven’t seen is shooting like this. He has visibly improved his shooting motion, and the results have been stellar. Stanley Johnson playing like this could end up bordering on saving this Pistons team. Beyond health, the biggest question on this roster BY FAR was whether they could find any two-way competence on the wing beyond Bullock, Stanley has filled that void lately.

Langston Galloway:

Played 28 minutes, scored 8 points on 7 shot equivalents. His defense struggled at times but he was mostly fine. I hope that Luke Kennard eats into his minutes a bit when he’s ready to play, but I don’t mind Galloway in a major minutes role. He fits into most lineups, and provides decent value on both ends of the floor.

Ish Smith:

11 points on 11 shots with 2 assists in 22 minutes. That doesn’t look like a great stat-line, because it isn’t, but Smith had a short stretch in the 3rd quarter where he scored several buckets to help the Pistons bench stay afloat against the Warriors starters which was absolutely huge. He struggled defensively for a lot of the night, which isn’t surprising given that the Warriors stress every section of defense that Ish struggles with, but he played a really good game.

Bruce Brown:

Scored 2 points on 3 shots. For many of his 15 minutes he was guarding Steph Curry. He did well, he’s still as tenacious as ever and a legitimately great athlete. That said, some break-pumping is perhaps needed for Brown’s current defensive abilities. In his 15 minutes he took 5 fouls, and that is a trend for the whole season. It’s ok, rookies usually foul a bunch, and Brown makes enough good plays to even it out, but before he can be more than a nice option for a few minutes he has to cut those down.

Zaza Pachulia:

Was actually pretty effective. Only played 12 minutes but he did well and the team did well around him. He set his usual effective screens and was able to avoid getting in bad defensive situations.


This game really highlights why the Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin can work and are worthwhile to have, even if they are not the cleanest fit. In a game against the Warriors, the Pisonts had a pair of players play right up to the level of the Warriors stars. Not that Griffin and Drummond are as good as Curry and Durant (although Griffin is closer than most people think) but for one night they certainly can be. Maximize your talent, and work it from there.

What do you think? Is Stanley’s new shot for real? Is this a sign that the Pistons are about to romp through a very difficult December?

Joseph SinkeComment