Game Recap/Notes: Game #78. Pistons 89 - Pacers 107. (38-38)

Not good. Nobody had it early in the game, starters got going a bit later on but other than Luke the bench was terrible. It’s also an issue that Dwane Casey has literally just decided that Andre needs to play 40+ minutes because Zaza is so bad. Still, the Pacers are not a pushover team and the game was typically closer than the final score.

Box score.

Reggie Jackson:

He was terrible at the start, much like the Portland game. Also like the Portland game, he got going later on. The issue is he didn’t get going as well or as much. He had a big stretch that included a filthy ankle-breaker on Myles Turner, but he still finished with just 16 points (on 14 equivalents), rebounds, and 4 assists (against 5 turnovers). Especially since Ish has been very poor the last few games, the Pistons can’t really survive offensively without Blake if Jackson is off and even though he did even out, he didn’t do enough. I said this in the last recap, but the Pistons can survive without Blake, the issue is that (against good teams) they just don’t have much margin for error.

Wayne Ellington:

I would not have thought that in the games Blake misses that Wayne Ellington would be the guy who really stepped up the scoring. 24 points on 16 shots, he and Jackson joined together to almost single-handedly bring the Pistons back into the game in the second half. I still maintain that Bullock is a better overall player than Ellington, but Ellington’s totally shamelessness with his gunning is something Bullock has never had. There are times where this dude just gets shots up and I have no idea how he managed it. Also shown some nice little flashes of ball-handling that hasn’t really been there before which is nice to see.

Bruce Brown:

Only played 13 minutes and didn’t do anything of note. I gotta say that he needs to be a little more willing to put the ball up sometimes. There were a couple of times early in this game where he really should’ve just gone up with it and instead held onto it. I get that he isn’t a scorer and his finishing isn’t that great, but especially when Andre is on the floor with you, if you got an open look at the hoop just go for it.

Thon Maker:

After a couple of really nice outings, tonight was very bad. 2 points on 5 shot equivalents (both points came from the free-throw line as he went 0-4 from the field) and other than his 1 block (which was very impressive and cool) he got pretty well torched on defense. Thad Young is a real issue for Maker and should pretty well kill this idea that Maker should be getting minutes at center. He is still too skinny to handle most bigger power forwards, he gets slaughtered by centers and it’s one of the reasons the Bucks gave up on him.

He simply got torched inside, Andre was not able to plug as many holes as normal due to the threat of Myles Turner’s shooting (more on that in a second) and if Maker doesn’t have a chance for a clean block he provides very little resistance. It really highlights something else though, Maker just isn’t cut out to be a starter. Coming off the bench he can play his balls-to-the-walls style in spurts and is far less likely to end up guarding a guy like Thad Young. As a starter it just doesn’t work that well.

Andre Drummond:

I just want to point something out here. Andre Drummond scored 28 points (on 20 shot equivalents), had 19 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and 3 steals. Nobody cared. For most centers that is a career night and after Andre did it nobody hardly even reacted, that’s insane.

He did have some issues though. First off, on defense, he gave too much respect to Myles Turner’s shooting I think. Given that it happened in both games, I do wonder if it was an Andre thing or a coaching thing, but either way it was a mistake. Turner is a good shooter but not a great one, most importantly he (and the rest of the Pacers) does not usually have a quick trigger finger. He especially also got caught in no-mans land a few times where he’s far enough off of Turner that Turner could have an open shot but he didn’t step in to actually contest the paint. Andre was still solid defensively overall, and its possible that the coaches told him to play that way, but it wasn’t ideal.

Offensively, it’s hard to complain much with the end-results from Andre. Blake is hurt, both his point-guards struggled, and he still managed an efficient 28 points. But still, he missed several bunnies, especially early in the game. He evened out of course, but that is one of the few issues he has not gotten rid of over this and last season. He just has games/stretches of games where he just misses bunnies. We can live with night’s where he misses the tougher shots, like the first game against the Pacers, we can’t have these night’s where he just gives away like 3 or 4 buckets.

Still though, the man put up 28, 19, and 3 with 3 blocks and 3 steals. He also played 43 minutes as Dwane Casey has fully admitted that they can’t really afford to have Zaza play many minutes at all. So I’m not complaining, he was still excellent, he just could’ve been a bit better.

Luke Kennard:

Got off to a really nice start, but fell off. Finished with 10 points on 10 equivalents with a pair of assists and a game-worst -22 on the night. I do wonder if he’s feeling all the way right after missing the last game but it is an issue to be missing Blake Griffin and have one of your primary bench-scorers struggle a bit. But then again, Luke didn’t struggle nearly as much as a lot of guys so.

Ish Smith:

Third straight rough outing for Ish. Just 3 points on 8 shot equivalents. He did manage 7 assists. So often when Reggie Jackson comes out and lays a dud in the opening quarter we are used to Ish coming in and providing the change-of-pace to get the team going and figure it out, that didn’t happen in this game. Ish stunk it up to a very similar level. I do kind of wonder if he’s got a knock or something he’s dealing with because it isn’t just as simple as not hitting shots in these three games, he just hasn’t looked right.

Langston Galloway:

Ho baby was this ugly. 6 points on 13 shot equivalents, 1 assist. Just very bad.

Leuer/Pachulia:

Neither did much but at least Leuer did a few decent things. Zaza was terrible and I’m about ready for them to play just about anyone over him.

General:

Holy smoke do the non-Andre Pistons suck on defense. These two games, where Andre isn’t able to cover so many holes, does it stand out just how comically leaky their perimeter defense can often be. Also, I’m not a huge fan of Glenn Robinson, some are wanting him to be starting, but why did they suddenly excise him from the rotation for this game? Thon was getting torched, they went with Luke Kennard at the 4 late in the game for goodness sake. I don’t know, just seemed dumb.