Game Recap/Notes: Game #59. Pistons 113 - Pacers 109. (29-30)

Good win over a really hot team. The game was not as close as the final score indicates. The Pistons never managed to really pull away, a credit to the Pacers, but they were largely in control of the game from start to finish.

Box score.

Reggie Jackson:

Not as gaudy a game as we have seen in recent weeks, 14 points on 13 shot equivalents with 5 assists in just 27 minutes, but he handled the ball a lot in this game and did a good job of keeping the offense humming on a night when Blake was not dominating the ball or being overly effective when he tried. The pick and roll with Drummond was once again devestating, and he closed out the game with free throws while other places turned the ball over twice in the last minute or so.

Wayne Ellington:

Wayne put up his best game in a Pistons uniform, 14 points on 11 shot equivalents and all of his shots were from deep, yep. And the key is not just that he had an efficient night from deep, it’s that some of the shots he hit were a HIGH degree of difficulty from deep. Not totally unlike Anthony Tolliver, the sheer balls to take some of these threes puts a huge stress on the defense and makes him an elite spacer. This is the guy we were all excited about when the Pistons snagged him.

Bruce Brown:

Brown did little of note on either end in this game. Scored 3 points on 5 shot equivalents and didn’t exactly lock anyone down on defense, but he (and Ellington) did a really nice job of competing with Bojan Bogdanovic on defense despite being very under-sized. Just one of those games where there isn’t much that stands out but just seemed like he was doing a pretty nice job. He did have a pair of assists so that’s what I’ll hang my hat on here.

Blake Griffin:

There is a great irony here, Griffin put up 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists and the main takeaway was that he seemed off and hasn’t really asserted himself in the three games since the all-star break. That is a great sign for how dominant Griffin has been this season, a 20 point triple double is a disappointment.

That said, he needed 22 shot equivalents to get his 20 points and was very clearly frustrated for a great deal of the game which included some light scuffles and technical fouls. To be honest Griffin was lucky not to be ejected again. Despite it being clearly an off-night, it is a testament to the skill of Griffin that he still found ways to contribute, and his long-distance shooting is so good that on nights like this he can get points without doing the human-battering ram thing. Also a good thing, is that the Pistons have won a lot of games lately without Griffin being absolute top-shelf, which was never happening earlier in the season.

ANDRE MOTHER-FUCKING-DRUMMOND:

Yep. Had to happen. This was not really the best game Andre has had in this stretch, but it’s cumulative. Drummond had 26 points (on 23 equivalents) with 16 rebounds (9 offensive!!!!), 2 steals, 3 blocks, and even though it only got him 1 assist he had several great passes to the corner from a roll. Drummond has been on one lately, its remarkable what happens when you use an elite roll-man as a roll-man instead of a pure post-up brute.

Perhaps the biggest change though is that he has fully found a comfort zone in the defense which I actually think is more him than coaching. Casey asks Drummond to drop and play a very conservative defensive style, the exact opposite of SVG last season, and early on Drummond clearly had trouble finding the right balance of backing up to protect the paint and not giving up wide open mid-range shots and floaters. He’s found a comfort zone and it is absolutely working. He’s on another level.

Since coming back from a knock (12 games) he’s averaging 22 points, 16 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 2.2 blocks, just 1.5 turnover, shooting 65.7% from the field and 67% from the line. A monster. All 3 of his blocks tonight were utterly absurd, people don’t just do things like that. The man is a monster.

Luke Kennard:

Kennard is still firing away and looking like a straight demon. 19 points on 10 shots (5-8 from deep) and a pair of assists. When he is shooting with this sort of confidence it is an absolute blast to see him on the floor. With him, Ellington, and hopefully now Galloway, going through the rotation the Pistons can have at least one high-level shooter on the floor at any and all times. Kennard even made a couple of really nice defensive plays which was fun.

Ish Smith:

Didn’t do a lot, but just like last time around, the overall play of the bench relfects Ish’s play. He only had 2 points on 5 shots but also had 5 assists and the bench mob was effective and Ish had a team-high +13 on the night. So while he didn’t directly do a ton, there are some nights where his ability to get out in transition simply makes things work better.

Langston Galloway:

Possibly making a comeback to save his season. 13 points on 8 shots, including a couple of tough floaters that he hit. it wasn’t a huge game, but a really nice one for Galloway, he comes out and scores efficiently and things look a lot better for this team.

Thon Maker:

Meh. 2 points, 3 rebounds, played hard, didn’t do a lot of note though.

Zaza Pachulia:

Had a single rebound and a pair of assists. Was really not very effective in any way shape or form.

General:

Really good win, and the Pistons are continuing to put distance between themselves and missing the playoffs. They have a few more tough games coming up but they’ve also got a whole lot of winnable ones down the stretch. The only worry at this point is that I'll feel better if Blake Griffin has a big game before too long just to know that he isn’t actually starting to have some issues with fatigue.

PistonsJoseph SinkeComment