(5-5) PISTONS 85
(2-8) LAKERS 97
- All good feelings from the 5-1 start have turned into uncertainty. The Lakers are not a good basketball team, but the Pistons made them look like one last night. The Pistons shot 36.5% from the field and only had 16 assists compared to 10 turnovers. Detroit was good enough defensively to win this game with even a sub-par offensive performance. Instead, they notched their worst offensive performance of the season. The end of the west coast trip was so bad that we're left with nothing but questions going forward. Stan Van Gundy has to find ways to make the offensive schemes more creative, because teams are playing Andre Drummond way too tightly in the pick-and-roll. That's been part of Reggie Jackson's struggles, but the PG has to make better decisions. I'm less concerned with his lack of assists, and more concerned with the amount of stupid turnovers he's piling up. The rest of the team needs to find a way to start knocking down open shots.
- Marcus Morris is going to continue to be this team's deciding factor. It's no coincidence that he's played well in their wins and poorly in their losses. He hasn't looked focused over the last few games. I know better than to expect him to take good shots, but he can't make mental mistakes on defense and completely ignore the paint on offense. With Tolliver struggling, Johnson needing more development and Bullock deserving of more playing time, I'd like to see Morris play more minutes at PF. In theory, that should lead to more face-up looks and less fadeaways over smaller defenders.
- Stan Van Gundy picked the wrong game to start toying with the rotation. He had a bunch of weird substitution patterns in this one. He pulled guys for two minutes at a time and then put them back in, and played a few lineups that didn't look comfortable together this season. I think that this had an effect on the offense, as guys didn't have time to get comfortable. I would have rather seen this kind of experimentation in the second half of a blowout. I liked that he injected Bullock and Dinwiddie into the rotation, though.
Click "Read More" for tonight's 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 15 minutes of playing time. Just like in hockey, you want to be the 1st star, so getting 1 point is better than getting, say, 6. 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 - Spencer Dinwiddie: Dinwiddie should have a strangehold on the backup PG job now. He was the only Piston who truly looked ready to play tonight, which is astounding considering this was his second appearance of the year. He played with great energy, got his own shot and created looks for his teammates. The way Dinwiddie played tonight is what we should be able to expect from Reggie Jackson on a nightly basis. He played 24 minutes, and I wish he had played more.
2 - Andre Drummond: It took him 18 FGA to get to 17 points, but he did an effective job against Roy Hibbert, and pulled in 17 rebounds. He was relentless on the offensive glass, collecting several tip-ins where it didn't look like he even had a chance to corral a rebound. However, despite his raw numbers, this wasn't a great game. He didn't seem like he was a force at the rim defensively.
3 - Aron Baynes: I'm bending the rules here, because Baynes only played 7 minutes, but I had to include him here. This was the first effective game he's played all season. He notched 9 points on 4-5 shooting and probably should have eaten some of Ilyasova and Tolliver's PF minutes.
4 - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: At this point, everyone else might as well finish tied for 10th. KCP was 4-15 from the field and wasn't a plus on the defensive end. SVG is starting to pay attention to the minutes he's throwing at his young SG; KCP only played 33 minutes in this one.
5 - Marcus Morris: Morris was 3-12 from the field and didn't look like he was fully engaged in this one. There were numerous occasions on defense where he got caught ball-watching and lost his man for an open shot or layup.
6 - Reggie Bullock: Bullock got some extended run as SVG tried to limit KCP's minutes. He had an ugly attempt at a finish in transition and looks generally uncomfortable any time he has tot dribble the basketball. On the bright side, he drained his only three point attempt and looked really good defending on and off the ball. I'd like to see him get more minutes.
7 - Stanley Johnson: The rookie collected more fouls (5) than points (4) in 16 minutes of play. He was aggressive defensively, which was nice to see, but he didn't play a smart game. He needs to stop taking straightaway threes with time left on the shot clock. He has to know at this point that he's at his best going towards the basket.
8 - Reggie Jackson: Let's hope he's just not playing well because of the heavy minutes and the road trip, because Jackson's play has been alarming during the four game losing streak. He had 5 turnovers in his 24 minutes of play, and things got to the point where SVG opted for Spencer Dinwiddie for the game's final minutes. The offense is stalled, and Jackson's inability to create looks for his teammates is the main culprit.
9 - Ersan Ilyasova: Not much in the way of positive contributions from Ilyasova, aside from drawing several more charges. He even had one with about a minute left that just didn't get called for some reason. He was 2-10 from the field and 1-4 from three.
10 - Anthony Tolliver: Tolliver was one of my favorite players last year after the Pistons acquired him from the Suns. He's been one of my least favorite players this season. He's an effort guy who's supposed to knock down open shots to cancel out his lack of size on defense. Well, the shots aren't falling, and his value is completely gone. He's now shooting 30.8% from the field.