Game Recap/Notes: Game #64. Pistons 90 - Cavs 112. (29-35)
This whole “get blown out every night” thing is getting kind of old tbh.
Ish played a not too terrible game, especially by the standard that he has put up for himself lately. 6 points on 7 shots with 6 assists and no turnovers is something you probably take. His defensive rotations are comical at this point though, and he has been totally unable to get out in transition which is only partially his fault but still. Ish's game has totally fallen apart as a starter this year, even worse than it did last year. Maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see to have some hope and I'm wrong. But I kind of feel like he is the problem. It's bigger than him, but I feel like he is by far the biggest one.
Reggie Bullock is a lot better playing off the ball than on it. He only finished with 11 points on 10 shots, but they put him more off-ball after giving him a chance with the ball in his hands to mixed results. I'm glad they gave it a shot but the shift was probably needed. That said he didn't have an easy time getting free and he missed a couple of gimmes which was frustrating.
Rough game for Ennis. 3 points on 8 shots and some of them were open. He did make quite a few really good defensive plays so some credit there, and him playing more minutes is making a real difference for Blake Griffin which is good. The only thing that kind of sucks is that the Pistons are now very much long shots for the playoffs and there is a good chance Ennis is gone after this year, a thought that kind of tints his game in a not as positive light.
I say it again. Since Ennis was put into the starting lineup Griffin is starting to show real signs of life attacking the basket. He has been less willing to pull-up for jumpers and more willing to hold on and at least try and get something better. The jumpers he is taking are more within the offense and also he is in a better rhythm which is big for him. In a basic sense, 25 points on 24 equivalents, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists in 29 minutes is a monster stat-line. It took some time, but he is finally starting to look right on offense, and Jackson replacing Smith is going to be an even more drastic improvement in spacing than Ennis over Johnson. If there is one bright spot to take away from the fact that the Pistons realistic playoff hopes were largely killed over the last three games, its that Griffin has started to look right.
Defensively he continues to be kind of an issue. Idk if this game was really his fault but I'm guessing a second look will not be especially kind to him. He did, at times, do a respectable job of covering LeBron so that was nice. And LeBron hitting a bunch of threes is something you literally can't defend against.
15 points on 7 equivalents with 9 rebounds. Disappointing, but I don't know how much of it was his fault, a second viewing will inform me better there. With just one viewing under my belt though, I'm leaning towards Larry Nance's big night being more the fault of everyone else as Drummond had to keep covering for leaks elsewhere which allowed the Cavs to continually find Nance. I also think the Cavs regularly got away with murder in boxing out Drummond for rebounds. That said, there were a few plays where he just got beat for various things and that was dissapointing. I guess in the end this was not a good game, but I'm not sure how much of it was his fault. You like to see guys (which Drummond has done plenty this year FWIW) push through that and still be good, but it doesn't always work out.
9 points on 11 equivalents in 28 minutes of play with an assist. Stanley struggled to make much of a mark on the game despite playing so many minutes. Admittedly a lot of them were in garbage time though I suppose.
Tolly did his job. 8 points on shots in 19 minutes with a couple boards. He got beaten by Larry Nance on multiple occasions which is not good but also kind of expected. Tolliver just doesn't have the muscle or bounce to hold up in that one. Tolly is here to hit shots, and he hit shots.
Still the right call to play him, but for those of you who wondered why on earth SVG went away from Buycks, this is it. Dude is a scorer who is not actually all that efficient and that means you get games like this. 2 points on 7 shots with just 1 assist and a -16 in just 13 minutes of play. I like the way he competes on defense and that's why I felt like he was the right choice all along, because no matter who you picked for the minutes right now you will get hit or miss offense but Buycks brings it defensively I think. The problem on offense is that he doesn't have good enough floor vision to really make things work when defenses adjust to him and it results in him taking bad shots. I will give him some credit for making the right play out of pick and rolls more often than he did when he first got into the rotation.
3 points on 5 shots, 6 rebounds. Made a few defensive plays. Didn't do a whole lot in his 13 minutes.
2 points on 5 shots. Didn't do much.
The reality is that the Pistons lost this game when LeBron went 5-7 from deep. There is literally no defense for that. LeBron is nearly impossible to guard on a normal night, when he is hitting jumpers it is literally impossible. If the Pistons had lost by 6 I would literally be here saying “Yeah this doesn't actually bother me the Pistons would've needed a miracle” The problem is they didn't lose by 6. The defense still doesn't work at all, the bench can't really score, and even though Blake Griffin is coming alive it hasn't translated to the overall offense coming alive. I'm in favor of keeping SVG for next year, but there is a point at which there is no amount of legitimate excuses I can offer up can cover up getting blown out so often.
What do you think? How about Blake coming alive? Do you want Bullock on or off the ball more?