The Detroit Pistons’ bench, lead by Stanley Johnson, Aaron Baynes, and Anthony Tolliver, got a big lead vs the Brooklyn Nets and never looked back.
The Detroit Pistons’ bench played so well in the second half that the starters–with the exception of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope– never had to come back in the game. What was a close game, was opened up thanks to the playmaking of Stanley Johnson, the shooting of Anthony Tolliver, and the finishing around the rim of Aaron Baynes.
Here are the grades:
Reggie did most of his damage in the first half—12 points and three assists–as he paced the Pistons to a narrow lead. He didn’t do a whole lot in the second half finishing the game with 14 points and four assists, but that’s because he didn’t get many minutes after the break due to the bench playing so well.
Caldwell-Pope came back down to earth tonight after averaging 23 points over the last five games. Part of the reason is that he didn’t need to shoot as much as he was making plays for his teammates. Caldwell-Pope finished with 11 points on 5 of 11 shooting, but he tied his career high in assists with eight.
Morris shot a 50% from the floor on only eight shots to finish with nine points. He also had a solid defensive night. Morris did most of his damage in the second quarter with the second unit.
Harris game out of the gate aggressive which was exactly what I have been wanting to see from him. He needs to be shooting the ball more. Harris had a few nice put back dunks in the first half and hit a barrage of driving layups. He’d finish the night with 13 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes. As solid of a night as it was for him on the offensive end, he was torn up by Thaddeus Young in the third quarter on the defensive end, before getting taken out for a breather.
Drummond wasn’t as good on the defensive end as he was against the Kings last night, but he had a solid game. He had a few unbelievable offensive rebounds and some nice dunks that were set up by great passes from Stanley Johnson and Marcus Morris.
Pistons’ broadcaster George Blaha said that this was Stanley Johnson’s best game as a Piston and I tend to agree with him. He may have only scored 10 points (on 3 of 6 shooting), but he impacted the game at a high level in every area. Johnson finished the night seven rebounds, six assists, and four steals to go along with his 10 points.
As good as Stanley Johnson was, Baynes can make a case as the Pistons’ best player tonight (as could Anthony Tolliver, though more on that later). Baynes had a career-high 21 points—17 of which were in the fourth quarter alone. Baynes patience was on full display tonight as he constantly coaxed defenders to jump in the air, which usually resulted in an easy layup or an and-one opportunity.
Blake’s play wasn’t the reason for keeping Jackson on the bench for much of the second half—in fact—the game Blake had was pretty terrible. The real reason Jackson got to take some much needed rest was because the team as a whole was playing so well.
Bullock’s impact was felt primarily on the defensive end. Overall this was an average game for him.
Saving the best for last, Anthony Tolliver’s shooting (along with Johnson’s playmaking) is what really opened the game up for the Pistons. Tolliver had a stretch where he was a perfect 4/4 from the three-point line. His shots really energized the team.
STAN VAN GUNDY
I love that Van Gundy let his bench finish what they started. Not only did Van Gundy ride the hot hand of Stanley Johnson, but he also let his starters get some much needed rest—particularly Reggie Jackson who has been suffering from an illness.