Game Recap/Notes: Game #62. Pistons 112 - Raptors 107. (31-31)

Big time win, even without Kawhi the Raptors are very good. To get this win is great on multiple levels. First off, it puts Detroit in sole possession of the 6th seed for the moment, it also gets the Pistons back to .500, and is a win over a team with a pulse which has been an issue. Also has to feel good for coach Casey.

Box score.

Reggie Jackson:

Another good outing for Jackson, 19 points on 14 shots with 4 assists on the night. Down the stretch the Pistons ran a ton of 1-5 pick and roll and it was largely very effective. Jackson sliced into the lane, and would’ve had more assists if not for several fouls on Andre Drummond rolling to the hoop. One play in particular saw him split a double team and go down the lane, fake a pass to the corner before a finger roll off the wrong foot. He also had another pass to Drummond between the legs. Reggie is back.

Wayne Ellington:

Once again, he has really settled in nicely. 11 points on 7 shot equivalents and 3 assists is a nice outing, also had 3 steals somehow. I will say that I am not sure how I feel about him putting the ball on the floor as much as he has at times. On one hand, being able to at least show that as a threat to defenses helps a lot in ways that don’t show up in the box score, on the other hand, he’s often been very bad at it. If he was a guy who was under contract, or even likely to return next season I’d be more in favor of it but given that he’s almost certainly a rental I’d like him to do a little less driving I think.

Bruce Brown:

Tough night for the rookie. Only played 18 minutes and scored 2 points. He was pretty ineffective against Lowry as well, although so was everyone else. Not a good night for Bruce.

Blake Griffin:

Still can’t shake the feeling that Griffin is a little bit off and the numbers continue to be not quite as dominant as earlier in the season. His 27 points required 26 shot equivalents and he had just 1 assist against 5 turnovers. However, even with that said, he still clearly fills a void of grind it out bucket getting that the Pistons don’t really have other places. The team as a whole is also making much better use of Blake’s threat as a shooter these days.

I’d still feel a lot better if he could have a totally monster game soon.

Andre Drummond:

This dude is a different kind of animal. After having tons of foul trouble, some of which was not at all his fault really (you know its bad when Blaha and Special K are bitching about it) but the game was starting to slip away and he came back into the game in the late 3rd quarter. Andre played a huge amount of minutes with 4 and then 5 fouls and he did it perfectly. He didn’t play scared, he just played with a bit more control than he often does. He didn’t go swiping for steals but he kept his hands out, he didn’t go leaping for huge blocks but he still got into position at the rim. Andre had a +27 on the night in his 28 minutes, the next highest starter was Jackson at +1 and Luke Kennard was second on the team at +8.

Andre finished the night with 15 points on 14 shot equivalents along with 17 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. And he did a ton of that with foul trouble on his mind. His one block was a game-sealing one on Marc Gasol, and as stated above, the 1-5 pick and roll was heavily featured at the end of the game and Drummond shined. Great game from Drummond. The Pistons are at their best when Drummond is their best player.

Luke Kennard:

Another great game from Kennard. In 35 minutes Kennard had 19 points on 11 shot equivalents and 5 assists. He remains the thing keeping the bench offense afloat and is now regularly slotting in with the starters next to Wayne Ellington for important moments to provide great spacing. Kennard is really finding a groove and it’s been so much fun to watch.

Ish Smith:

Not a gaudy night but he really played well. In 20 minutes he had 9 points on 8 shots and 8 assists, but most importantly he hit several key shots and made plays in the 3rd quarter that got the Pistons back into the game just as it looked like the Raptors might pull away. Him and Kennard are making the bench mob work.

Thon Maker:

6 points on 7 shot equivalents, was just not up to the task of filling in for Andre and also picked up 5 fouls in just 20 minutes of work. Thon is still fine as a backup 4, but anyone who still had it in their head that he was somehow capable of starting or made Andre expendable should be rid of those delusions by now. He just doesn’t have the hands or strength or skill or smarts to do it. Thon can be and often is effective in short bursts where he can just let his sheer energy take the load, when asked to do it for longer stretches against better players, it’s bad.

Langston Galloway:

fart noise

Zaza Pachulia:

Joined Thon in having a terrible game and has really not been good lately. Also got ejected which was dumb.

Glenn Robinson:

Only played 5 minutes after being forced into action at power forward with Thon in foul trouble and Blake still needing a rest and he actually did alright. He didn’t do a lot, he totally blew the possession at the end of the 3rd quarter, but he was passable which was big. Hopefully he is able to do this sort of thing down the stretch because there will be more moments where they need him.

General:

This was fun, and to be honest this remains the reason why I thought it would be bad to tank. it’s more fun to go try and win, this game was incredibly fun and this stretch has been as well. Basketball is fun sometimes.