Contributing writer Steven Garcia presents a quick, post-game recap that looks at the good, the bad, and the ugly from the Detroit Pistons’ 108-105 loss in Boston.
Last night’s game featured the Detroit Pistons traveling to Boston, seeking vengeance against Brad Stevens’ Celtics.
The Boston Celtics had just handed the Pistons their first loss of the season a few days prior in a humbling fashion.
On Tuesday, the Pistons were able to muster a more balanced scoring attack, allowing them to stay within punching distance for most of the game. They even survived a late third quarter scoring barrage from Kyrie Irving that gave the Celtics what felt like a nearly insurmountable lead.
Eventually, the scrappy Pistons, trying to prove they belong in the conversation with the Eastern Conference elite, cut the lead down to two with 20 seconds left.
The Good: Bruce Brown
The guard sported his best line of the year with 10 points in 13 minutes, including a steal and a block.
As seen in college, Bruce Brown has an affinity for offense – good ball-handling, a nice first step, and the ability to finish. Despite his promising skill set, most of his points last night were scored on active, off-ball movement and cutting to the basket.
Brown is a player I had high hopes for coming into the season, and with Stanley Johnson appearing to be the exact same player from last year, the Pistons will need wings that can contribute offensively.
The Good: Blake Griffin
Griffin continues to look quick, athletic, and willing to be the leader of the Detroit Pistons.
But most importantly, he looks healthy. Griffin rebounded well, literally and figuratively, as he had much more of an impact than he did on Saturday.
The power forward set up office primarily in the high-post, either bullying his way to the rim or conducting hand-offs. Griffin finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds on 45 percent shooting.
The Good: Reggie Bullock
It’s no secret that Reggie Bullock has struggled with his formerly, lights-out 3-point shooting this year. Last night we saw the Bullock we have come to expect.
A long, solid defender with the ability to switch 1-3 and a potent jump shot. Bullock finished with 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting, but most importantly 3-for-7 from the long line.
The Good: The Pistons
Overall, the Pistons played well.
They were able to hold their own against the Eastern Conference favorites, with every key Celtic active (apologies to Daniel Theis). It’s not realistic to expect this Pistons’ roster to beat Boston on a consistent basis, but they did show that they could compete.
The Bad: Andre Drummond’s first quarter defense on Aron Baynes
Baynes came off the Celtics’ bench like the Pistons had kidnapped his daughter, and the only way to get her back was to score as angrily and quickly as possible. Andre Drummond didn’t seem particularly interested in playing physical or sealing off Baynes.
The Bad: How good the Celtics actually are
I would say, the Detroit Pistons have about three players (Reggie Jackson, Blake Griffin, and Andre Drummond) that can take over and close out a game the way that Kyrie Irving (sort of) did last night.
How many would you say the Celtics have? Irving, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jalen Brown, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris. I listed Marcus Morris at No. 8, and he used to be the Pistons’ best closer!
That wasn’t very long ago. I’m sad!
The Ugly: Stanley Johnson
Six turnovers for the Detroit Pistons’ small forward on Tuesday. It’s not encouraging when a fourth-year player, such as Stanley Johnson, continues to make rookie mistakes.
For every flash of promise that Johnson displays, there’s an equal and opposite sequence of despair. Whether it be a travel, an abhorrently off-target pass, or a rebound tipped out-of-bounds.