(7-5) PISTONS 96
(5-8) TIMBERWOLVES 86
- Andre Drummond is due for leaguewide acclaim this season. It didn't look like it was going to be Andre's night as he sunk into foul trouble and had trouble negotiating against Karl-Anthony Towns' athleticism. Then he flipped the switch in the 3rd quarter and scored 15 points as he carried the Pistons to victory. I had the Wolves broadcast for this one and they seemed pretty dejected after Drummond's performance in the second half. That's usually a pretty good sign that the opposition feels like there's no answer for you. He ran into some foul trouble tonight for the first time all year, but even that couldn't keep him from his 12th double-double in 12 games. He'd have to fall off the face of the Earth to not make the All-Star team at this rate, and a 1st team All-NBA selection is a real possibility in the best case scenario. Yes, really.
- Tonight was a horrible argument that basketball can be pretty. The Pistons shot a chilly 6-28 from beyond the arc and the Wolves were 3-13 from deep with as many turnovers as assists. Detroit had more turnovers than assists. Part of Detroit's turnover issues were the refs making a point of calling moving screens as tight as possible, but overall this game lacked aesthetic appeal. The only things keeping this one entertaining were the potential that KAT or Wiggins was going to do something fun and the ever-pending punishment that Andre Drummond has brought this year. I found myself leaning in late just to see if Andre was going to continue his double-double streak.
- The Wolves are going to be scary if they can find some outside shooting. Karl-Anthony Towns is the real deal, and Andrew Wiggins is going to be great as his second banana. I also liked what I saw from Zach LaVine, and he should be nothing worse than a really good 6th man within a few years. That's a nice start to a competitive team, but they absolutely have to add some shooters to the roster. Kevin Martin is the only established jump shooter on the team, and he's far from a long term piece of the puzzle. It's unfortunate that this year's draft is so short on quality wings, because the Wolves figure to pick somewhere between 5 and 10 and they would really benefit from putting a shooter on the wing opposite Wiggins.
- Something has to be done about the lack of depth at SG and PF. Reggie Bullock's inability to knock down open shots has caused SVG to play KCP for heavier-than-optimal minutes since Jodie Meeks' injury. He's only played less than 35 minutes once this season through 12 games, and he topped the 38 minute mark tonight for the fifth time this year. I think that's the main reason KCP has struggled to shoot the ball so far, as his minutes and defensive tasks eat away at his offensive efficiency. Finding a wing who can knock down a shot and play honest defense may be a requirement if Bullock doesn't start producing. The Pistons could also end up in the market for a PF to eat the minutes that are currently going to Anthony Tolliver. He's currently lost in the fog of a miserable shooting slump and hasn't shown any signs of coming out of it. You can't write a guy off 12 games into a season, but it's tempting to do so with how bad Tolliver has looked.
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 - Andre Drummond: This is what legitimate star players do. On a night where it seemed like Drummond was destined for a subpar performance anchored by foul trouble and a tricky matchup, he exploded for a crucial 15 point third quarter. That helped turn a 6-point halftime deficit into a 3-point Piston lead, and Detroit was able to coast from that point on. He was 10-13 from the field and hit a variety of hook shots. You could just flat out tell that Detroit is a different team with him on the floor. He struggled a bit defensively with Towns, especially early; that and his foul problems were the only blemishes on a stellar night.
2 - Reggie Jackson: Finished with a solid night of 18 points (8-15 FGA), 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 0 turnovers. Did a good job in the 4th quarter of taking what the defense was giving him. However, if I recall correctly, he had 0 assists nearly halfway through the 3rd quarter. He committed a few silly fouls in the first few quarters that limited him to 28 minutes on the night. He and Ricky Rubio were generally unable to stay in front of each other.
3 - Marcus Morris: Despite an 0-5 night from beyond the arc, Morris had somewhat of a bounce back performance. He notched 16 points, grabbed 11 boards and was a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. He hit a few tough shots when the Pistons needed a bucket. Sooner or later the outside shots will start to fall for him.
4 - Stanley Johnson: The rookie had an excellent second half, shooting 4-5 from the field. He finished the night with 15 points on 6-10 shooting, including 3-3 on corner threes. He also mixed in a couple of nice takes to the basket, one of which ended in a strong slam. He mixed in some pretty good perimeter defense as well. It was an encouraging night from the 19 year old.
5 - Aron Baynes: We'll get the bad out of the way first: Baynes turned the ball over four times, which equaled his total FGA on the night. He also had a bit of trouble defending Adreian Payne and Gorgui Dieng, two bigs who can step out to 18 feet. On the bright side, he pulled in 11 rebounds, blocked 2 shots, notched 2 steals and was pretty okay while Drummond was out.
6 - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Only scored 8 points on 4-10 shooting in 38 minutes. The loss of Jodie Meeks has caused Stan Van Gundy to lean heavily on the third year SG. It seems like it's wearing on him. If Reggie Bullock can't start providing positive value, SVG may need to address the backup SG spot to take some minutes off of KCP.
7 - Spencer Dinwiddie: Dinwiddie didn't post great numbers (6 pts (2-6 FG), 2 ast, 1 reb, 1 stl), but I thought he played with good energy and poise. He should continue to have a hold on the backup PG job.
8 - Ersan Ilyasova: There are nights where it just seems like Ilyasova didn't even play. Tonight was one of those nights. Ilyasova provided 6 points on 2-5 shooting and added 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. He did add another charge to his league leading total.
9 - Anthony Tolliver: After an 0-7 shooting night where 5 of his misses came from beyond the arc, Tolliver is now hosting a slash line of .250/.256/.429. I get that Tolliver has good career numbers from the field and we're only 10 games into the season, but for how much longer can he continue to get minutes? He actually played more minutes than Ersan Ilyasova tonight.