Thursday, October 22, 2015

Game Review: PS #7 - Charlotte Hornets

Box Score

Standings [N/A]

GAME RECAP

The game got off to a slow, sloppy start as the Pistons and Hornets combined for 11 turnovers in the first quarter.  The opening stanza had the makings of a slugfest, as Al Jefferson and Andre Drummond traded blows in the post and both offenses struggled to get out of their own way.  The Pistons got a bit of a scare in the first when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came up limping after a fast break dunk.  He would leave the game after only 10 minutes played, but the overall news wasn't horrible; x-rays came back negative, and KCP was diagnosed with a sore foot.

Detroit gained good separation early in the second quarter, with improved shot selection and some more help from lax play by the Hornets.  Stanley Johnson put his stamp on the quarter with a couple of nice plays in Charlotte's passing lanes, which he turned into transition buckets.  The offense would get easier looks in the halfcourt too, highlighted by a slick pass from Jodie Meeks to Andre Drummond for a wide-open slam.  The Pistons took a 43-33 lead with four minutes to play in the half.  That lead wouldn't last though, as poor shot selection bogged down the Pistons offense and the Hornets closed the gap.  The Pistons would end up taking only a 49-48 lead into the locker room, led by 9 points (3-7 fg, 3-4 ft), 3 rebounds and 3 steals from Marcus Morris.

The Pistons regained their footing in the third quarter, as Reggie Bullock made his first appearance of the game.  Bullock got the nod at SG with KCP out of commission, and notched seven points in the period.  He got two easy buckets at the rim off of good cuts and a wide-open three on a beautiful pass out of the post by Andre Drummond.  The Hornets also played a cleaner style of basketball, reducing their turnovers and getting better offensive output.  Still, the Pistons got the better of the Hornets and took a 76-70 lead into the fourth.

Detroit remained in good shape late, holding a 90-83 lead with only 3:58 left to play.  Detroit got a big fourth quarter from Andre Drummond, who notched 8 points and 7 rebounds in the last 12 minutes of the game.  It wasn't enough though, as the Pistons let Charlotte whittle away the Detroit lead with the clock stopped.  The Hornets scored 9 of their final 16 points from the free throw line, which proved to be too much to overcome.  With the Pistons down 96-94 late, Jodie Meeks missed a floater that would have tied it up.  Detroit got a stop on Charlotte's return possession, but Meeks couldn't knock down a quality look from three.  A split at the line by Jeremy Lin would keep the door open for Reggie Jackson, but his stepback three with two seconds left was off the mark.  A pair of Al Jefferson free throws was all Charlotte needed to put this one in the books, sending the Pistons to 2-5 in the preseason.  Overall, it was an ugly, inconsistent effort from every Piston not named Andre Drummond.  Detroit only shot 17% from three, led by an 0-8 effort from Reggie Jackson, and a mere 38% from the field.  As mentioned above, Andre Drummond kept the Pistons in this one, producing 21 points (10-14 fg), 15 rebounds and 2 blocks.  The Pistons will wrap up preseason play at The Palace on Friday night against in Atlanta.

PLAYER SCORES

What is this?  Similar to how the NHL hands out three stars after a game, I'll be handing out points to any Piston who saw at least 20 minutes of playing time.  Just like in hockey, you want to be the 1st star, so getting 1 point is better than getting, say, 8.  I do my best to watch all 82 games, but it's not always possible.  I will make it known if I did not watch the game being graded.  This takes as much into consideration as possible: stats, eye test, intangibles, etc.  It's just how I saw things shake out.  I'll keep a running set of standings updated at the bottom of every game recap; remember, the lower average the better. 

1 - Andre Drummond: Drummond was the only Piston to truly play a good game on Wednesday night.  His progress as a scorer with his back to the basket continues to be encouraging.

2 - Marcus Morris: Finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals after a strong first quarter.  Didn't feel like much of a factor in the second half, but gets the 2nd spot by default.

3 - Anthony Tolliver: You could put any of the guys listed from 3 through 6 in this spot, because none of them had strong nights.  I went with Tolliver because he had the fewest negatives.  Normally, I would like the higher spots to go to positive performers.  There were few in this game.

4 - Stanley Johnson: Had a nice stretch in the 2nd quarter with aggression at both ends of the floor.  Five fouls in 23 minutes.

5 - Ersan Ilyasova: Ilyasova was only 1-4 from three and turned the ball over four times.  His 8 rebounds were encouraging.

6 - Reggie Jackson: Jackson was a part of the Pistons' success when the offense was running hot, and an equal part when it got bogged down.  11 assists are good, his mediocre defense and 8 missed three point attempts are bad.  He has to know by now that he isn't a good enough shooter to take that many threes.

7 - Jodie Meeks: Penalized extra for the late misses, but his overall performance just wasn't there anyways.  Only 2-11 from the field, including 0-4 from three.  Did have a nice feed to Drummond in the 2nd quarter.

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