Well, that was certainly fun. The Pistons entered the fourth quarter down 16 but staged a comeback - mainly through the play of Ish Smith and Tobais Harris - to earn a 102-101 win.
To the tape!
Marcus Morris’ defense on DeMar DeRozan sealed the victory:
DeRozan hit incredibly tough shot after incredibly tough shot all night, but couldn’t hit the game winner. A special mophatt1 thanks to the referee crew for not bailing out DD on the contact; after the DeRozan pump fake, Morris perfectly slid closer to take away additional space. That was textbook.
That’s how it ended, but how did we get there? Everyone had a hand in the comeback. Well, almost everyone.
It was a rough shooting night indeed for KCP, who went 8-22 and 2-12 beyond the arc. I don’t think anyone will remember those numbers, though, as he scored the last five Pistons’ points:
To pull within two points:
And the (eventual) game winner:
Tobias’ game-high 24 points included a trio of fourth quarter jumpers:
This is where it gets awkward.
Smith logged 31 minutes of work and netted 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. More importantly, the Pistons looked like an entirely different team with Smith running the show. Pistons’ starting point guard Reggie Jackson made only one shot in his 16 minutes of work, and both Smith and Harris finished with plus/minus of +26 while Jackson and Jon Leuer were -25.
Jackson was essentially benched midway through the third quarter in favor of Smith, after the starting unit let the Toronto lead balloon up to 17.
Big Dre collected two early first-quarter fouls and had a hard time finding a groove. While Jackson stayed on the bench, Drummond was trusted to go back into the game in the fourth quarter. Dre responded with two buckets, nine highly important rebounds, and a clutch free throw:
Picking up the putback on KCP’s signature transition PU3IT on that last clip can not be looked past; such a big play.
A pair of Johnson three pointers kept the Pistons close:
Stanley is looking more and more comfortable with and without the ball every game.
Morris held his own defensively on the final possession of the game, and hit this very Marcus Morris-y fourth quarter shot:
As a Jackson apologist, he’s making in harder and harder for me to not jump ship:
What a horrible possession.
Not only did Stan Van Gundy turn to Smith to finish the game, but he also did so late in the first half. Smith and Harris (joined later by Baynes) checked in with around three minutes remaining in the second quarter and immediately cut a 12-point Raptors’ lead to six heading into halftime.
Drummond is simply not consistent enough with this shot selection:
The problem, though, is that he makes one out of every five high degree of difficulty shots, which seems to give him confidence to do it more. The skill set is there but it’s far from polished.
Sorry Tim, this extra large jacket paired with your dark maroon pants doesn’t cut it:
I’m always watching.
KCP must do a better job of slowing down Jakob Poeltl:
I have a habit of picking on Drummond’s untimely double teams, but this isn’t on him:
With DeRozan being such a fantastic iso player, Dre (like he was coached to) took away the baseline route to the hoop. Unfortunately, no one (Johnson) properly rotated to cover the Raptors’ high-low.
Quick turnaround, see you in Milwaukee.