Category: NBA

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!

 

My Detroit Sports: #MyPistons Weekly #13

The 13th #MyPistons Weekly finds Detroit a season high nine games under .500. At 30-39, they are 6.5 games back of the 8th and final playoff spot with only 13 games left to play. The road woes continued with 3 losses in Utah, Denver, and Portland.

The Pistons made their only trip to Utah to face the Jazz on Tuesday. Reggie Bullock was unavailable due to a back injury suffered in a car accident. The Jazz took advantage with a 42 point 1st quarter and 21 point lead. They shot an incredible 17-21 from the field on their way to a 55% night from the floor. Poor shooting once again doomed the Pistons as they went 30-80 and only 5-25 from behind the 3 point line. The Jazz were able to maintain and build on their lead as the Pistons fell 110-79. Luke Kennard led the Pistons with 18 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin had 13 points a piece, with Drummond adding 11 rebounds.

The Pistons then traveled to Denver to face the Nuggets on Thursday. Due to the high altitude, the Nuggets perennially have an advantage at home. This season is no different as they 26 of their 31 wins coming into this game have come at the Pepsi Center. The Pistons traded single possession leads until the end of the first quarter. That’s when Devin Harris took over. He scored 5 straight points to end the quarter and added 2 more as part of an 11-0 Denver run that turned a 1 point Piston lead into a 10 point deficit. Harris, Will Barton, and Trey Lyles combined for 24 of Denver’s 32 points in the quarter as the the Nuggets took a 14 point lead into the half. The Nuggets lead by as many as 26 before three consecutive 3 point shots, 2 by Blake Griffin, fueled a 14-2 run to trim the lead to 14 points headed into the 4th quarter. The Pistons cut the lead to 5 before Michigan State product Gary Harris’ field goal and 3 point play gave Denver a double digit cushion. The Pistons could get no closer than 6 points the rest of the way as they fell 120-113. Blake Griffin had 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists. Andre Drummond had 21 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Dwight Buycks added 22 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals off the bench. Denver was lead by Nikola Jokic’s triple double. He had 23 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals.

On Saturday night the Pistons played the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers came into this game in 3rd place in the Western Conference and with an 11 game winning streak. In a repeat of Tuesday, the Blazers used a 16-5 run to build a double digit 1st quarter lead they would not relinquish. The Pistons pulled to within 6, but the Blazers responded with a 24-10 run that extended the deficit to 17. The Pistons would not get to within single digits again, falling by a final score of 100-87. Although Detroit shot 40% from beyond the arc, they once again shot under 40% overall from the floor. Andre Drummond led the way with 18 points and 22 rebounds. Blake Griffin had 15 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. The Pistons held All-Star Damian Lillard to 6-19 shooting, but he finished with 24 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks as all 5 Blazers starters scored in double figures. The game was not without controversy, as Stan Van Gundy’s comments about the officiating led to a fine from the league.

With a 9-25 road record, the Pistons desperately need wins against the Kings on Monday and the Suns on Tuesday. The road trip will finish Thursday night against the league leading Houston Rockets. The Pistons then come home to face the Chicago Bulls at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday. With only 13 games remaining, time is running out before they’re officially eliminated from playoff contention.