Game Recap/Notes: Game #69 Pistons 110 - Raptors 107. (36-33)

Dwane Casey has swept his old team and the Pistons looked right again. The Raptors were without Kyle Lowry which does make a real difference, but the Raptors still are a strong side. On top of that, the Pistons really can’t be worried about how wins come.

Box score.

Reggie Jackson:

Jackson remains on his tear and it has been absolutely lovely to see. 20 points on 14 shot equivalents (some of which were end-of-game free throws but those points count just as much and the Pistons did actually need them) along with 4 assists. His ability to get work done in the pick and roll is definitely back and it has been a boon for the Pistons offense. The fact that it lines up with Blake Griffin entering a bad slump has makes me queasy to think what would’ve happened had Jackson not found his footing.

The thing that really stands out is that Jackson is fully back into his cocky to the point of arrogant on the floor, he tosses no-look passes like they’re nothing, throws fakes all over the place, and is pulling up for jumpers with more confidence. Jackson really is getting all the way back into form.

Wayne Ellington:

Was rather a flop for Ellington but when you’ve got a guy who is such a high-volume shooter from deep this is kind of a reality. Ellington still managed 9 points on 10 shots (just 1-6 from deep) so even though it wasn’t good it wasn’t terrible. Also, despite Leonard getting good numbers I was mostly pleased with Ellington’s defense on him. In fact, I’m just pleased in general with the way that Ellington has played defense most of the time. He has been the defacto “big wing stopper” since he arrived and he has fared better in that role than I thought he would.

Bruce Brown:

Pretty much the typical night for Brown I suppose. Only played 14 minutes, did some decent stuff on defense and did nothing really on offense. 2 points on 6 shots with an assist. The starting lineup with him continues to mostly work so I’m not saying they should change it, but if Brown wants to stay there long-term (and survive a playoff series there) he needs to hit more shots. Not even 3s (though that’d be nice) but just hit shots..

Blake Griffin:

Continues to struggle with efficiency but a nice outing for Griffin. 25 points on 23 shot equivalents with 8 rebounds and 3 assists against 5 turnovers in 33 minutes of work. The better news is that a lot of his buckets were tough ones inside, including a couple in crunch time. He’s struggled in the paint in this slump and that wasn’t so much the case here, he could’ve passed it better, but the Raptors really sent a lot at him all night so its understandable that he wasn’t overly efficient.

Andre Drummond:

A beast, the Raptors really don’t have a good answer for him it seems. 15 points on 10 shot equivalents including some clutch free-throws with 17 rebounds. He also had a pair of steals and an assist. One of those steals and the assist were together in a huge play. The Pistons were up by two and Drummond stole a pass intended for Kawhi Leonard and took it the other way. He made a nice pass to Langston Galloway who hit the layup. It wasn’t the nail in the coffin, but it was close. He wasn’t as good on defense as he often has been recently but he was still good, and he continues to be effective on offense. He also had a huge posterization of Eric Moreland (miss u bb) which was extra funny since Moreland had just been talking shit to Ish Smith.

Langston Galloway:

Wasn’t on fire from deep tonight but continues to be strong since the break. 11 points on 8 equivalents is enough to satisfy for a night. Also, we much prefer these to be his off nights instead of some of the terrible games he put in earlier this season.

Luke Kennard:

Really rough night for Luke. Played 28 minutes and only got up 1 shot (which he did hit) and was largely swallowed up by Pascal Siakam. Siakam had the length to keep Luke from being comfortable pulling the trigger on spot-up looks and never flew past to give an open look. So while it certainly isn’t a sin to be eaten up by a defender of Siakam’s caliber, in fact it’s kind of col that Luke is on such a role that the Raptors decided to sick Siakam on him, but he will need to learn to deal with guys like him. He did manage 3 assists, one of which was a incredible alley-oop to Thon Maker.

Ish Smith:

Really solid night for Ish. 8 points on 9 shots isn’t great, but he had 8 assists without a single turnover and tossed in 3 steals on defense. He did what he usually does, push the pace, look for open guys, and general make a nuisance of himself. Good outing.

Thon Maker:

Possibly his best game as a Piston. 7 points on 5 shots with 3 rebounds and a pair of impressive blocks. Those numbers don’t jump out but normally he makes several bone-headed/really poor plays that balance it out. He didn’t really have any of those by my eyes tonight. Plus he was the receiving half of one of the coolest alley-oops you will see.

Zaza Pachulia:

Best game in a while, which isn’t saying much given how he’s played in recent weeks but still. 11 points on 7 equivalents with 3 rebounds. He did a good job of finding open spaces and scoring. Really a nice outing for Zaza.

General:

Has to feel good for Dwane Casey. Also nice to see the Pistons look like a functional NBA team again. The Pistons have a couple of easier games before a tough finish to the season, important to keep up the energy, the Pistons are bordering on locks for the playoffs, but must not relent.