Let's get this out of the way first.
Detroit isn't scared.— Josh Eberley (@JoshEberley) April 17, 2016
This really sums up a majority of the reactions I saw on non-Pistons related Twitter. For us at DBB, it's no surprise. This young team has fought all season long.
The Pistons opened a lot of eyes with their first half performance, shooting 60 percent and nailing three after three. Although the shooting cooled off, the Pistons' effort didn't and at one point, Detroit had a seven point lead early in the fourth quarter. As the game wound down, Detroit's offensive execution stalled out and the well of buckets dried up.
As a Pistons fan, you can spin this one of two ways. It could be a momentum-crushing road defeat, knowing you had a seven point lead in the fourth quarter, and multiple chances to take the game back. It's definitely a tough one to swallow.
But if you spin it the other way, this was the first playoff game for four out of five starters, and the team definitely didn't flinch. The Pistons showed that they can hang with the Cavs, and some of their downfalls (turnovers, late game offense) can be fixed easily.
No matter your outlook, this should be an entertaining series.
Now let's get to the (*Kanye voice*) HIIIIGGGGHHHHH-LLIIIGGGHHTTTTSSS
Marcus Morris's 1st half. It was a thing of beauty, watching Mook put up 19 points in his postseason debut. Morris has been a consistent source of offense all season, but it was a real joy to hear the surprise in Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson's voices watching him play. The offense went cold in the second half though, making it tougher for the Pistons to find offensive sources down the stretch.
Stanley Johnson's entire game. The rookie checked into his first playoff game with the assignment of covering world eater LeBron James. I can only imagine the nerves. Hell, I was nervous. But then this all happened.
Stanley Johnson checking LeBron is marvelous. pic.twitter.com/6CYCPGeCGU— Aaron Johnson (@AJohnsonSports) April 17, 2016
To quote Remember the Titans, Stanley Johnson played TOO STRONG. Holding his own on defense and nearly posting a double-double with eight boards and nine points. Many notable NBA Twitter heads were even calling for Stanley to close out the game after an abysmal Tobias Harris performance (more on that later)
The Pistons' Bench. While the Pistons starters were off to a great start, I jokingly tweeted about a reality check coming in the form of our bench. I obviously should insult the bench more, because they shoved it in my face. The Pistons bench put up 21 points on the night, with especially strong performances from Stanley Johnson and Reggie Bullock. We're going to need a consistently good bench in this series, so I will be sure to keep insulting them.
Now for the lowlights.
Tobias Harris. LeBron must still holds a grudge against Tobias, because he was all up in him on every offensive possession. Harris only put up nine points and turned the ball over three times. He also got destroyed on the defensive end by the post game of Kevin Love, who torched the Pistons the majority of the night. The Pistons' defense on Love will need to get better, and Tobias will need to find his offense by the time Game 2 rolls around.
Reggie Jackson's fourth quarter. Normally the time when Reggie shines the most, it was the opposite today in Cleveland. A foolish tech, a couple of bad possessions of over-dribbling and killing the thing that helped the Pistons the most early in the game: Ball movement. The over-dribbling is the book on Reggie, so I'm not overly concerned with it - but there's a fine line between doing it to Pistons' advantage (getting better looks) and killing momentum.
Andre Drummond's first half. Even though the Pistons were shooting the lights out, it's concerning for our All-Star center to go silent for an entire half. Drummond made up for it with an impressive second half, and finished with 11 boards and 13 points, but the first half looked tough for him. Drummond's size is a difference maker in this series, and if the Pistons can force the Cavs to adjust for it, we'll be in a better position to steal some games.
Now that playoff basketball is back for DBB, what are your thoughts? Discuss!