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Pistons played smart and played as a team in win over tired Trail Blazers

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It was a fine showing, but Detroit was supposed to win this game anyway.

Portland Trail Blazers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

Another nice victory for the good guys known as the Pistons, but I’d be careless if I didn’t remind you that the talented Portland Trail Blazers were playing their third game in four days. This wasn’t a normal Trail Blazers effort. They were tired and it was obvious by the way Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum struggled most of the night.

Having said that, the Pistons didn’t mess around. They were unselfish, made the extra pass and took people off the dribble when they should have. On defense, they were locked in and didn’t make anything easy inside or on the perimeter for the weary Trail Blazers.

Simply, this was supposed to be a win for the Pistons, and they didn’t disappoint. But let’s be a little cautious — because while a twenty-point win against an over-.500 team is nothing to scoff at, this team will face stiffer tests to come and must keep the pedal to the metal if they hope to finish the season close to where they began the season.

On to some player analysis from the game:

Ish Smith

After not scoring (or even looking for his own shot much) in the first half, Ish came out of half time a little more aggressive, scoring all three of his buckets in the third. More importantly, Ish got his teammates the rock in their sweet spots all night long and it turned into a total team effort.

Reggie Bullock

Reggie almost never takes a bad shot, plays sound defense and plays smart team ball overall. Monday’s game was no different. One of these days I’d like to get on Reggie for taking bad shots (translation: I want him to shoot the rock much more and not worry about whether it’s not a good shot).

Stanley Johnson

Mixed first half – he came out aggressive but not necessarily controlled or patient. Passed the ball well at times and played good defense on C.J. McCollum. Also had a man-sized chase down block on Jusuf Nurkic early in the game.

Blake Griffin

Scored 10 in the first quarter with two triples — and scored 21 for the night with nine boards and six assists. Blake makes hard things look easy:

Whether Blake sets the tone for the game or whether just having a player of Blake’s magnitude on the roster makes Andre want to impress even more (and thus set the tone) — whatever it is — there seems to be an energy to the entire club that wasn’t there before. If a team’s best two players are giving full effort then I’m going to guess the coach will rarely have to say something about his team’s effort.

Andre Drummond

Four turnovers soured an otherwise excellent performance of 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks (and at least a few other challenges at the rim) in the first half. Strong, efficient game - just needs to not force passes into traffic. Finished with 17 and 17 and five dimes. Andre rolled his right ankle in the fourth quarter. DBB will have updates when available. It didn’t look too rough, though.

Luke Kennard

The rookie was a bit more involved and assertive than in recent games during his 13 first half minutes Monday night, dishing four assists and hitting two jump shots. Finished 5-of-7 in 24 minutes. Pistons fans will take it, won’t they?

Langston Galloway

Langston also dished four assists in the first half to add to his 3-of-4 shooting. He finished 5-of-8 from the field with six assists – it’s probably safe to say he’ll be in the rotation going forward based on two consecutive quality outings. However, it’ll likely only take two consecutive bad outings for him to land right back on the bench. Pistons need his scoring ability in there.

Anthony Tolliver

15 points (a couple nifty finishes at the cup) and seven rebounds in 27 minutes. In his last 30 attempts from three-point range, he’s knocked in 16 of them. And he’ll continue to get solid looks as Griffin gets more acclimated to the offense, but make no mistake, freelance Blake is also a warranted option for finding open shooters, too.

Reggie Hearn

The two-way contract shooting guard out of Northwestern (did I mention he walked-on and had no DI offers out of high school) has shot it fairly well from deep during his four-year G League career, and when he entered the game for his first seconds of his NBA career he was not bashful in the least, taking a pass from Bullock and knocking down a three. Not a bad debut, I’ll say!

Awesome moment for Reggie:

Kay Felder

The Oakland University alum, on his third NBA team, also made his Pistons debut late in the fourth.