Sluggish first half sinks Pistons in New Orleans


99. 64. 115. 69. Final

Brandon Jennings said in his post game interview that one of the Pistons’ biggest issues is that they do not have a leader in the locker room. With how inconsistent the Pistons’ effort can be from game to game, you have to think Jennings is right.

The Pistons’ defense was non-existent in the first half. They allowed the Pelicans to score 72 points in the first 24 minutes, and the vast majority of those points came from easy looks in the paint. Despite a much better effort in the second half, including a run at the end of the third and early fourth quarter to cut the lead to single digits, the Pistons dug themselves far too big of a hole to climb out of.

Here are the grades:

D. Reggie was simply ineffective tonight. His shot wasn’t falling, and he wasn’t able to create much of anything for anyone else on the offensive end. He finished with eight points on 4-11 shooting with 5 assists and 4 turnovers in 28 minutes.. PG. Pistons. REGGIE JACKSON

Pistons. ANDRE DRUMMOND. B. Andre’s numbers looked great as he scored 19 points, pulled down 22 rebounds and had four steals. He even made 3-5 from the free throw line.  The problem was that the Pelicans were getting way too many easy baskets around the hoop. On a night where no one on the Pistons played any defense for an entire half, Andre can’t be expected to protect the rim on his own, but he needs to be stronger as the last line of defense.. C

KCP scored well tonight, finishing with 23 points on 9-17 shooting, but he joined his teammates in a lackluster defensive effort in the first half. Tyreke Evans got going on him early and ended up with 22 points and ten assists.. SG. Pistons. KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE. B-

STANLEY JOHNSON. C+. The box score doesn’t necessarily show it, but Stanley gave the Pistons some good minutes tonight. He looked more under control, and aside from one possession in the first half where he forced a contested jump shot, he played within himself and made some hustle plays. He finished with six points on 3-6 shooting with two rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes, and was the only Piston with a positive +/- at +1.. SF. Pistons

Pistons. MARCUS MORRIS. D-. Morris was not good tonight. He was invisible on the offensive end, scoring just four points on 2-11 shooting in 35 minutes, and he absolutely refused to block anyone out on the defensive boards. He finished a team worst -21.. SF

B+. Jennings once again came off the bench to provide a spark when the Pistons needed it most. He helped lead the Pistons back within single digits in the second half, and he said after the game that tonight was the best his achilles has felt since before the injury. He was by far the most effective point guard for the Pistons tonight. Jennings finished with a season high 20 points on 6-11 shooting with five assists in just 20 minutes.. PG. Pistons. BRANDON JENNINGS

B. Stan Van Gundy said in his post game interview that Aron Baynes was the only Piston who defended in the first half. Baynes was solid tonight, and it’s nice to know that at the very least, Baynes is going to give maximum effort night in and night out. He finished with six points and five rebounds in 12 minutes.. C. Pistons. ARON BAYNES

PF. Pistons. ANTHONY TOLLIVER. D. Effort is never an issue for Tolliver. He was simply overmatched tonight, as are most players when they are matched up against Anthony Davis. Unfortunately, is wasn’t just Davis who was giving Tolliver trouble. Ryan Anderson was having success against him as well. Tolliver scored just three points in 11 minutes.

PF. Pistons. ERSAN ILYASOVA. D. You can pretty much apply Tolliver’s game summary to Ilyasova, and then add the fact that Ilyasova’s shot was off tonight. He played 37 minutes, yet scored just 10 points on 3-10 shooting including 0-4 from three.

Pistons. STAN VAN GUNDY. C-. Coach Van Gundy was not pleased after this game, and understandably so. You have to put <em>some </em>of the blame on him for the awful first half, but I find it hard to believe that he didn’t stress the importance of playing with effort and intensity for 48 minutes before this game, and every game for that matter. He clearly got through to his players at halftime, but unfortunately it was too little too late. I thought he could have gone to Jennings and Johnson a little earlier and more often as Jackson and Morris were simply not getting it done. . Head Coach