The Blake Griffin-less Pistons (he was out with a right ankle contusion), looking to win for their fifth time in their last six, welcomed in the John Wall-less Washington Wizards Thursday evening. The Wizards, currently sixth in the Eastern Conference and just one win away from securing a playoff spot, were coming off a home victory against the Spurs on Tuesday.
The first half came and went and the score was 49-49. Both teams were just going through the motions, waiting for the crunch time half, if you will. Well, weren’t we all.
Early in the third quarter, Otto Porter sprained his right ankle and was out the rest of the game, and the Pistons went on to outscore the Wizards by 15 in the quarter. Although the Wizards made some decent runs late in the fourth quarter to come close, the Pistons held them off without too much heavy sweating, 103-92.
Bradley Beal (15 points) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (14 points) paced Washington.
The Wizards shot 6-of-33 from the three-point line. That’s 18.8 percent. The Pistons weren’t a whole lot better at 28.6 percent.
Let’s get to the individual recaps.
Pretty active start to the game and had good action with Reggie Jackson. He scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in the third quarter alone. Made a quick move heading downhill (as opposed to heading more east to west when making his move and falling away when he’s at the hoop) and finished with a nifty lefty flip off the glass at the end of the third. “Marcin Gortat should retire soon” was the message I and many other viewers got from this game. Andre finished with 24 points and 23 rebounds to go along with four assists. He shot 10-of-16 from the floor and four of seven from the charity stripe (two for four after Washington Bang-a-Drumm’ed late).
A little bit of everything from Reggie in 28 minutes. There was lots of over-dribbling, but at times that over-dribbling is just a part of lulling the defender into a sleepy trance so he can decide on how to best attack them. Sure, it can backfire and suck the life out of any type of team-oriented offense, though let’s be frank, when Reggie is out there with, say, Ellenson, Moreland and Stanley as he was in the second quarter, what else is there really to do? At any rate, I’m not sure he’s full strength yet. Looking not too bad mostly, however he did come up gimpy with his ankle in the closing minutes. Finished with eight assists, four turnovers and 13 points on 16 shots.
Fairly quiet game in 29 minutes (or maybe I just didn’t pay as much attention to him as I tend to do?). He was competent on defense, challenging shots and staying true to the scheme. And as usual, Bullock made love to the ball and basket (six for nine from the floor, two of four from three).
Picked up a technical debating a call on whether he shoulder-blasted Bradley Beal in the first half as Stanley was posting up. Made a couple careless turnovers and some over-dribbles as well, but the job he did on Otto Porter in the opening half was superb. Really bodied him up when necessary and moved his feet in space. The four steals and five boards stand out over the 4-of-11 shooting line (as they often do with Stanley).
Couple of dribble drive buckets for Tolly in the first half, both against the slow-footed (by comparison) Marcin Gortat. Just a nice fill-in game for the veteran — 14 points on only six shots in 32 minutes.
Sloppy first shift, needed to calm down and let the game come to him more. Overall, this wasn’t his strongest game, but did push the pace when necessary and kept the team flowing when he was in there. Didn’t like that pull-up three pointer with 20 seconds left on the shot clock...oh my. Sometimes Ish forgets what he’s out there to do.
Bailed out Henry Ellenson’s lack of shot clock awareness by drilling a three with time expiring in the second quarter. Also made Tomas Satoransky look very slow and awkward a few instances, but on one of his drives against Tomas he short armed a jumper in the lane that would have sealed the deal. Aggressive and decisive is what we like to see from Luke. His shot making will come. In 19 minutes was two of five from the field and three of four from the line.
Missed a couple bunnies during his first shift, and his defense wasn’t much to write home about, either. However, he had a few decent sequences on that side of the ball. He does just enough to stay intriguing, though, it’s apparent he’s never going to be athletic enough to be a big time player in this league. Here, Henry did a fine job of running the floor and finishing off the pass from Stanley.
Can Henry still carve out a role and help a squad? Perhaps he can, but I’m not confident about it. Maybe some of you out there see it differently?
James Ennis III
Seems effective on the break and likes to finish with his left. Sometimes I think he’s just not very confident in taking open or even slightly contested jump shots. Other times he has no hesitation to let it fly. Besides a couple finishes with his left, he had two turnovers and no boards in 11 minutes.
Pretty typical Moreland performance in 10 minutes of action. Not sure I’ve seen much improvement out of Eric throughout the season, although I can certainly understand why the staff sees potential in him as an energy piece that could perhaps be a legitimate backup option in time.