(19-14) PACERS 94
- Another opportunity down the drain. The Pistons had a golden opportunity to make some moves in the standings tonight. Boston suffered an embarrassing loss to the Nets earlier in the day, the Pacers came into this one a half game up on Detroit, and both Charlotte and Orlando got clobbered. Instead of gaining ground on four teams at once, the Pistons put up one of their worst offensive showings of the year. They still sit only a half game out of 8th place, but the next seven games are a minefield. If there's ever been a more pressing time for SVG to pull the trigger on a deal to improve the roster, it's now.
- Why an upgrade is needed, and where it should come. Andre Drummond may be averaging about 18 PPG, but let's not kid ourselves: the Pistons have one truly reliable offensive player, and that's Reggie Jackson. Marcus Morris, KCP and Ersan Ilyasova are all okay complementary guys. On nights where Reggie Jackson doesn't have it, you almost have to have all three of those guys at the top of their games. Get another truly complementary piece, cross your fingers that Brandon Jennings finds himself and you've got better odds at surviving a night when Reggie isn't at his best. The Pistons were one competent offensive performance away from pulling this game out. The upgrade this team needs should come at PF, where Anthony Tolliver continues to be ineffective and Ersan Ilyasova could easily slide to the bench. Markieff Morris continues to ride the bench in Phoenix, where the Suns' season has spiraled out of control. A deal would make sense for both sides, and hopefully we see some kind of movement soon.
- The scuffle at the end of the game. The whole deal could have been avoided, and it only happened because Andre Drummond continued to play defense after the game was decided. That being said, Paul George must have a death wish if he thinks it's a good idea to step to Marcus Morris. Unsurprisingly, Morris didn't take kindly to George's aggressive play as the Pistons ran the clock out, and some pushing and shoving broke out, with both benches clearing. Things were controlled well by both coaching staffs, and suspensions should be avoided on both sides. Just another chapter in a division rivalry between two organizations who don't care much for the other.
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: Drummond didn't exactly play a great game, finishing with 11 points (5-12 fg, 1-8 ft), 18 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal. He continues to struggle with protecting the paint, and the only buckets he got came on putback attempts and alley-oops.
Six Championship Drive Amazon Store
2 - Aron Baynes: I think it's fair to say that Baynes is the only Piston who played a good game by their own personal standards. The Baynger finished with 10 points and 3 rebounds in just 12 minutes of action. He hit a couple of nice shots around the basket and played good defense on and off the ball.
3 - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Set a career high with 10 rebounds, and kept the Pistons in the game late in the fourth quarter with a couple of nice mid-range jumpers off of curl-screen action. Other than that, not a whole lot of good things to say about him. Went 1-7 from beyond the arc.
4 - Ersan Ilyasova: Continued doing the infuriating thing where he pump fakes out of an open look to get a worse look on a stepback jumper. Ilyasova's an okay rotation player, but he would look much better coming off of the Pistons bench.
5 - Stanley Johnson: Had a nice assist to Baynes for a dunk in the second quarter. On the bright side, he took four of his six shots in the paint. On the downside, he missed the two jumpers he took and only finished 2-6 from the field.
6 - Brandon Jennings: Jennings didn't play well; he just wasn't as bad as Morris, Jackson and Tolliver.
7 - Marcus Morris: Did a good job on Paul George most of the night. Unfortunately, the fourth quarter outburst he ceded to George was horrific. Match that up with another poor shooting night and you've got an overall low quality night from Mook. Also loses points for not knocking Paul George into next week in the post-game scuffle. I'll buy a Marcus Morris jersey the second he pops Paul George in the mouth.
8 - Reggie Jackson: Added injury to insult by rolling his ankle in the fourth quarter of a pretty rough performance. Finished 5-19 from the field for 12 points and struggled to stay with George Hill all night. Hill finished with 18 points on 11 FGA. As bad as the rest of the Pistons were, Jackson was the only one decidedly losing his personal battle before Paul George caught fire late.
9 - Anthony Tolliver: If you know why he's still getting an opportunity to play every night, you let me know in the comments.