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Luke Kennard and Reggie Bullock provide needed spark in win over Spurs

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The Pistons are 20-15 going into 2018.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons were without Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley and Stanley Johnson at LCA against Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs Saturday evening, yet they came away with an impressive win, 93-79. The Pistons record improves to a respectable 20-15 going into the New Year.

Now let’s get right to some thoughts on each Detroit Piston performance against the Spurs.

Andre Drummond

11 rebounds (one offensive), eight points and four assists in the first half in a team-high 20 minutes. The Spurs did a fine job of boxing out, keeping him off the offensive glass. Dre, though, got them back in the second half. Drummond finished with 21 rebounds (four offensive), 14 points, six assists and three steals in 38 big time minutes. And zero turnovers. None. Nada.

Dre also had a few emphatic dunks in the game (a few being about five), no doubt about it. Yet just below is my favorite moment of Dre’s night: a solid, controlled and confident shot by the big fella. There’s some folks out there in DBB-land who think Andre isn’t capable of much more than what’s he’s doing on offense right now. Well, I just have to laugh and roll my eyes so hard they feel like they might spin out. As I and some others have said in the past - and this season too - Andre isn’t even close to reaching his offensive potential. He’s slowly but surely taking on more responsibility in creating his own offense within the greater scheme of the team.

Tobias Harris

Started slow, though he picked it up in the second a little. Seemed to have tweaked his ankle/foot early in the third, but it didn’t seem to affect him. Not a sexy game with just 12 points on 13 shots, yet he did other things like his five assists and solid team defense. Didn’t over shoot and didn’t really need to with the other guys feeling it tonight. Smart team effort from Tobias.

Reggie Bullock

Scored 10 points before the halfway mark of the first. Finished with 12 by halftime on just seven shots. Fared quite well on defense against Kawhi Leonard (2-for-6 in first half, eight points). It was more of the same in the second half as Reggie just did his thing: harass and defend and drain buckets. It’s nice to have an efficient shot-maker on the wing besides Tobias.

Anyway, we have to come up with a nickname for Bullock, do we not?

Ish Smith

Ishmael had his change of direction and change of speed flow going most of the night. Controlled the game nicely in his 30 minutes. Didn’t have the most beautiful shooting line at 6-for-15, but compared to the Spurs point guards his performance was, actually, pretty good looking. What a way to make the lackadaisical Spurs defense pay — Ish with the dish:

Anthony Tolliver

Quiet offensive game for the vet (second consecutive game with no field goals), though his defense was superb (what’s new?) most of the game. Two steals and seven boards.

BENCH

Boban Marjanovic

Four minutes of first half playing time. Got an easy dunk against his former team.

Dwight Buycks

Shaky at first, but seemed to settle in and was more aggressive as the game went on. Played 18 minutes with three assists, three turnovers and a couple of buckets (his first as a Piston). Probably still too early to tell how much confidence (or how little) Stan Van Gundy has in the journeyman point guard already on his third team in his brief NBA career.

Langston Galloway

Didn’t do much in 16 minutes on the offensive end. He’s sure not making the most of his added opportunity the team’s injury situation has afforded him.

Luke Kennard

Was a bit of a spark in the first half. But in the second half we saw Luke break out, if you will. He connected on five field goals in the half and had two of his three steals as well. As I mentioned in the recap, it was night and day from his performance against the Magic just days ago. Silky’s smooth highlight package right here for ya:

This little nugget too:

Eric Moreland

He got the second half backup center minutes (4). Pau Gasol scored two straight hoops over Eric right away, however, Eric did help move the ball well and finished with a couple of assists in his limited time. But really, hope Jon Leuer can finally return within a week or two.