A furious fourth-quarter rally wasn't enough and the Pistons suffered a frustrating 99-91 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. The game was ugly all night and could serve as a giant "I told you so" to all the skeptics of the additions of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings during the offseason.
The team still has time to figure things out, this is the fourth game after all, but there were definitely troubling signs. Smith and Jennings combined to shoot 11-of-36 on the night. They also had eight turnovers combined.
Both new additions hoisted an unbelievable number of bad perimeter shots, and the two were the primary culprits of Detroit being blown out 29-14 in the first quarter and 36-22 in the third.
Who stood out:
Paul George, who looked every bit the superstar he was paid to be in the offseason. George finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds and played stellar defense all night.
Also standing out, for all the wrong reasons, was Smith. Not only for his poor shooting but also for his bad individual defense on George.
It wasn't so much that Smith played really poor individual defense on George. When he was engaged, he was able to body him up and bother some shots. It was more that Smith constantly got distracted by trying to help in the paint or drifted too far from his man. And an open George is a dangerous George.
Smith, obviously, has a lot to learn about playing the small forward position on a nightly basis, to put it kindly.
- Roy Hibbert finished with 10 rebounds and seven blocks, while Andre Drummond had a quiet six points and nine rebounds in 34 minutes.
- For a team that's calling card should be ball movement, 13 assists just isn't going to ever get it done.
- The biggest shame of the game was the lack of touches for Greg Monroe, who is the Pistons best offensive option by a mile and the same was true against the Pacers. Monroe finished with just 10 shots and 14 points. Compare that to 16 for Smith and 14 for Jennings.
- The second biggest shame of the game is that for the most part, the Pistons conceded the paint to the Pacers and almost treated 3-point shots and long jumpers as their plan of attack. Needless to say, it didn't go well.
- Detroit is still waiting for a consistent 3-point threat to emerge. It's certainly not Smith, but we don't need to rehash that. The Pistons finished the game 5-for-25 with Datome, Singler, Jennings and Billups going a combined 1-for-19. The Pistons were also 1-for-14 at one point, hitting on 4-of-their-last-11.
- The Pacers, conversely, were a blistering 9-for-21 on the night and made it look easy.
- This team was extremely schizophrenic all night, and might be all season. Unfortunately, most of the lows coincided with the starters being in the game. But in the second quarter when the Pistons were firing on all cylinders, both Smith and Jennings made some beautiful plays.
- Luigi Datome got his first action of the season but struggled with his shot. He missed all four of his 3-point attempts and finished with two points (on a goaltend). They'll go in eventually, my Italian friend.
- As a resident Will Bynum hater, I have to take my hat off to Will, who ignited a major Pistons run in the second quarter thanks to energetic, smart play.
- Kyle Singler did some nice things on the offensive end, but he struggled mightily on defense. I'm about ready to see this Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at small forward experiment being put into action. KCP was part of a fourth-quarter unit that ignited a mini-run that made the final score make the game seem closer than it really was.
- The game was extremely chippy all night, with lots of hard fouls and jaw jacking between players. Lance Stephenson, who is no stranger to chippy play, even got a Flagrant One for a sneaky jab to the face of Kyle Singler in the first half. Something to remember when these two teams meet again.