(7-6) PISTONS 95
- They took their foot off the gas pedal. The Pistons took an 11 point lead on an Ersan Ilyasova three with 6:37 left in the third. It had been a back-and-forth game to that point, fulfilling the cliche that basketball is a game of runs. However, it truly felt like the Pistons had seized control and were ready to put this one in the win column over the last 18 minutes. Then the Wizards brought in a large chunk of their bench and spurred a 17-4 run. It took the air out of the building and the Pistons only took the lead back briefly midway through the 4th. Blame it on the fourth back-to-back of the year or Andre Drummond's upper respiratory infection, but the Pistons seemed content to go into cruise control after taking the lead in the 3rd. It ended up costing them a win on a night where the Wizards got nothing from their star backcourt duo.
- THIS BENCH IS TRASH. Seems like it's been a few games since it was quite this bad, but the bench was outscored 51-15 on the night. Nene, with his 18 points, outscored the Pistons reserves all on his own. Ramon Sessions made more free throws than the Pistons' bench did field goals. None of the reserves were particularly good, but Anthony Tolliver continues to stand out as the glaring weakness. He was 0-1 from the field, and is now 2-18 over the Pistons' last four games. Stan Van Gundy may have to address the backup PF spot with a roster move soon. He can only give Ersan Ilyasova so many more minutes, and Marcus Morris is maxed out. It's time to get creative with Stanley Johnson at the 4 in a small ball lineup, try and fit Baynes in at PF or make a trade. It would be great right now to have Quincy Miller instead of Steve Blake.
- Andre Drummond just didn't have it tonight. The Pistons' star big man looked like he wasn't engaged tonight. It came out after Friday night's win that Drummond was dealing with an upper respiratory infection, which could very well be to blame for his lethargic play the last two nights. He finished with zero offensive rebounds and ended up with only 8 points. It was the first time in 13 games this year that he didn't record a double-double. If he comes out on Monday night and dominates Greg Monroe, I'll be willing to chalk this up to illness.
- I'd rather bring this up after a win, but it still bears discussing. John Wall picked a bad night to not put forth a very good effort. Has he already forgotten that over the summer he chose to take issue with the fact that he and Reggie Jackson are making the same money? Jackson, while less than perfect, thoroughly outplayed Wall, who looked like he couldn't be bothered to care in this one. Wall finished with 8 points (4-11 fg), 7 assists and 2 rebounds in 27 minutes, ceding 20 points, 9 assists and 3 boards to Reggie. Taking a look at the season numbers, Wall hasn't been better than Jackson to this point in the year. Wall may want to focus more on his game and less on what his peers' bank accounts look like. Washington won despite him tonight, not because he's a superior PG to Reggie Jackson.
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 - Marcus Morris: Morris finished with 18 poins on 6-14 shooting, but he was actually more efficient than his shooting numbers suggest. His teammates tasked him with a few late shot clock heaves, as well as the potential game-winning attempt as time expired. He added 9 rebounds and 4 assists with only 1 turnover. The Pistons need this version of Morris more often.
2 - Ersan Ilyasova: Ilyasova was constantly in the right place at the right time, and it wasn't by accident. He did a good job positioning himself for opportune offensive rebounds. He only took 2 of his 10 FGs from deep, connecting on one. It was a good, efficient, low usage night for Ilyasova, as he finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. The Pistons need this version of Ilyasova more often.
3 - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: KCP came out shooting hot, knocking down several triples in rhythm early. He finished with 16 points on 4-7 shooting from deep and 6-11 overall. He didn't do much else that shows up in the stat sheet, but Detroit isn't asking him to rebound or create. The only thing other than shooting that they ask him for, defense, was also present tonight. Bradley Beal needed 8 FGAs to muster 7 points in 28 minutes. Beal was coming back from a few games out with a shoulder injury, but KCP didn't give him an opportunity to get hot.
4 - Reggie Jackson: He had the best night in the box score, but I was somewhat disappointed with Jackson by the end of the night. Sure, he outplayed John Wall, but that only counts for so much. I thought his decision making was poor late in the game, highlighted by not finding Andre Drummond wide open under the bucket with the game on the line. It took him 18 FGA to score 20 points, and he turned the ball over 6 times. He had a good night, and would have ranked above KCP if defense weren't considered. Good wasn't good enough tonight though, and I think Jackson hindered the Pistons late.
5 - Andre Drummond: We can talk about the reasons why it might have been the case, but Andre Drummond wasn't very good tonight. He's apparently playing with an upper respiratory infection, so that may have been why he looked lethargic for the second night in a row. He just didn't seem like he had much energy, as he finished the night without an offensive rebound. He also got manhandled by Marcin Gortat and Nene regularly. The two big men combined for 32 points and 15 rebounds on 16-21 shooting. Andre did pull in 13 defensive rebounds, but thanks to a lack of touches and no pubacks, Dre only finished with 8 points. It was the first time this year he didn't finish with a double-double. He'll need to bounce back for Monday night's game against the Bucks so he can show up Greg Monroe.
6 - Spencer Dinwiddie: Dinwiddie struggled on defense, as he lost Ramon Sessions frequently. He wasn't anything special on offense either outside of a strong take to the rim in the 2nd quarter that he finished with a jam. I'll take it though, because I guarantee you it's better than what we would have seen from Steve Blake.
7 - Stanley Johnson: The rookie was a little too aggressive offensively tonight, taking a handful of ill-advised shots. That contributed to an 0-3 shooting performance from beyond the arc and 4 points on 6 FGA. On top of that, he turned the ball over twice against zero assists. Tonight was a reminder that Johnson is the age of most college freshmen.
8 - Anthony Tolliver: I'm running out of things to say here. Tolliver once again failed to make a field goal, going 0-1 in 15 minutes played. It's the fifth time in 12 games played this season that Tolliver has failed to make a bucket. He's a collective 0-16 in those five games. Tolliver has a good career track record, but you can only let him flail for so long. The backup PF minutes are getting to be as big of, or a bigger issue, than the backup PG minutes.