My Detroit Sports: #MyPistons Weekly #14 (End of the Season Edition)

In the final #MyPistons Weekly Report, the Pistons were eliminated from the playoffs. They finished 39-43, good for 9th place in the Eastern Conference. In the end, it was injuries that undid the Pistons. As well as Ish Smith played, it was clear that Reggie Jackson was missed. Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin were banged up as well and missed the final few games. Now we will just have to wait and see if the Pistons follow the Knicks and Magic in making drastic offseason changes. Detroit will not have a 1st round pick in the 2018 draft. Good health, continuity, and growth from the young guys like Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard will be key to making it back into the playoff picture.

The Pistons entered their game against the Philadelphia 76’ers on a 5 game winning streak. The Sixers were on an 11 game streak. Philadelphia used a 22-11 run to turn a 3 point deficit in a 8 point 1st quarter lead. The Pistons were down by as many as 19 in the 2nd quarter. Given the stakes of the game, the Pistons did not go down without a fight. A 17 point deficit heading into the 4th was cut to as few as 6, before falling 115-107. Anthony Tolliver led the way with 25 points and 5 rebounds. Andre Drummond had 13 points and 15 rebounds. Stanley Johnson had 19 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Ish Smith added 14 points, 12 assists, and 2 blocks off the bench.

The Pistons stayed at home to face the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Neither team could build a lead larger than 6 in the second half. While Andre Drummond did damage with consecutive shots in the paint to give the Pistons a 3 point lead, Johnathan Motley of the Mavericks responded back, including a 3 pointer with 11 seconds remaining to tie the game at 101. Reggie Jackson missed a layup with time running out to send the game to overtime. A 3 pointer by Langston Gallaway and consecutive baskets by Reggie Jackson turned a 105 tie into a 7 point Pistons lead with under a minute remaining. Both teams went 1-4 at the foul line down the stretch as the Pistons held on to win 113-106. Andre Drummond led the way with 19 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks. Reggie Jackson had 24 points and 7 assists. Langston Galloway had 15 points and 4 rebounds off the bench.

Next up was a weekend road game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies jumped out to an 8 point lead in the 1st quarter. A 14-2 run led by Marshon Brooks put the Pistons down 20 points midway through the 2nd quarter. However, the Pistons responded right back with a 24-8 run to cut the lead to 4. They could get no closer than 3 points the rest of the way. Every Pistons run was countered by the Grizzlies. They maintained a double digit lead throughout the 4th as the Pistons fell 130-117 in Memphis. Stan Van Gundy summarized the game best by finding multiple ways to criticize the Pistons defense after the game. Andre Drummond had 12 points, 18 rebounds, and 2 steals. Anthony Tolliver had 19 points and 4 rebounds. Henry Ellenson was one of 3 players in double figures off the bench, scoring 17 points with 4-6 shooting from behind the 3 point line. Unfortunately, the hot 3 point shooting for the Pistons was undone by 4 Grizzlies scoring over 20 points, including 25 from Marshon Brooks. The Grizzlies shot 57.8% from the field.

The Pistons played their last home game of the season Monday against the Toronto Raptors. Eric Moreland started in place of the injured Andre Drummond. Drummond’s presence was certainly missed, as evidenced by the 48-33 rebounding edge the Raptors held and the 25 points on 11-13 shooting from Jonas Valanciunas. The Pistons did not have the firepower to keep up as they were outscored 51-38 in the second half. The Pistons fell 108-98 in the last game of the first season at Little Caesars Arena. Luke Kennard led the way with 20 points and 7 rebounds. Reggie Jackson had 16 points and 9 assists. Ish Smith added 15 points off the bench.

The season ended Wednesday night in Chicago against the Bulls. Although it was a night to give the young guys extended minutes to see what they can do, Anthony Tolliver got things started with an 8-0 run of his own to give the Pistons an early lead. He hit consecutive 3 pointers and finished with an incredible dunk to force the Bulls to call time out. An Eric Moreland floater, Luke Kennard free throws, and a 3 pointer by Stanley Johnson made it a 15-0 Pistons run. The Pistons led by 14 after the 1st quarter and kept up the assault the rest of the way. The Pistons outscored the Bulls in every quarter and held on to win 119-87. Eric Moreland had 16 points, 17 rebounds, 4 blocks, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Luke Kennard had 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Henry Ellenson had a double double off the bench with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Oakland University graduate Kay Felder’s jumper was his first 2 points as a Piston.

The Pistons ended the season 39-43 overall. Beyond injuries, road woes plagued the Pistons. They were 25-16 at home and 14-27 away from Little Caesars Arena. A glimmer of hope could be found in the final few games with the performances of Luke Kennard, Stanley Johnson, Eric Moreland, and Henry Ellenson. So many games were lost due to poor shooting. All 4 took full advantage of the extended minutes and put on performances that provide some hope for the 18-19 season. A little luck, a little growth, and a little health and next year’s final My Pistons Weekly will be written later than April. Until next season!

 

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