It’s weird that Sacramento has our number. I mean, how many other teams do the Kings look forward to playing? The 109-104 loss (at home!) to the s-t-r-u-g-g-l-i-n-g Kings is a “Low” in and of itself, but in our case, simply add it to the list of disappointing losses against bad teams: @ Brooklyn, @ Phoenix, Orlando, Philadelphia, @ Sacramento, Sacramento.
To the tape!
The Kings’ offense runs through DeMarcus Cousins and the Pistons gave him a handful of different looks with a variance of outcomes. By and large, the best way to defend Cousins is straight up with absolutely no cheating. Cousins is comfortable putting the ball on the ground and can use both left to right and right to left crossovers - the minute you reach, you’re toast.
Below, Aron Baynes does a good job of keeping it simple:
Andre Drummond follows suit by keepin Boogie in front of him:
It’s not fancy and it’s not going to end up on a Vine but it’s winning basketball.
In hoops, there is a “good reach” and a “bad reach.”
Here, Dre is able to knock the ball away from Cousins but more importantly, had he failed, he was still in a position to defend. There is a huge difference (foreshadowing).
It’s healthy for the Pistons to put non-Andre Drummond players in a pick and roll with Reggie Jackson. Jon Leuer, Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris all have the ability to make things happen when they catch the rolling pass:
As Anthony Tolliver hedges hard, Leuer receives the pass and draws the attention of Cousins. The end result is an easy dunk for Dre.
This time, Marcus Morris nails the jumper of the rolling pass. As he draws over Kosta Koufas, Drummond is in prime offensive rebounding position.
Offensively, Reggie Jackson played well, which included handing out 11 assists.
Tobias Harris is shooting a top of the key three with all five Kings below the dotted line. Why? Because they’re all focused on the driving Jackson.
No team is going to completely stop Boogie. Mark him down for 20 and 10 (at the very least) - you can put it in the books. The difference is how hard you make him work to get those 20+ points.
As we all know, Andre Drummond is uncomfortable closing out on shooting bigs. Put that skill on the ole offseason to-do list.
First, Drummond does an excellent job of helping to contain Ty Lawson, however, his job isn’t done as the closeout on Cousins is way late. Multiple efforts are required on the defensive end and Drummond (Jackson too) struggles to give that extra bit of giddy-up on a consistent basis.
Next, the closeout is there but technique is cringe-y (at best). That’s a pick-up basketball closeout.
That’s a matzah ball-sized gamble Drummond just made. The risk took Dre completely out of the play.
Half the team tried guarding Cousins (mostly when he shared the floor with Koufas). Here, Morris does his best but Boogie is just too big and passes right over him with no weakside to be found:
Drummond, Baynes, Leuer, Harris and Morris had a hand in checking the Big Man.
Both Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope point out the sprinting Koufas but nobody actually picks him up. The official Low goes to Leuer on this play.
The Kings’ bench really did a number on the Pistons.
Ty Lawson tuns Jackson completely around at the end of the first quarter.
Lawson finished with six assists including:
The second Stanley Johnson takes a breather, Matt Barnes cuts to the hoop.
Drummond had some odd misses but none bothered me more than this one:
Gotta finish against Arron Afflalo.