Well that was...fun? It certainly was through three quarters and was almost, dare I say it, too easy? I mean, it was even easier than the 129-93 final score made it seem.
Any worries of a lack of energy or focus by the Pistons as they faced the tanktastic Cleveland Cavaliers before a second half of a back-to-back verses the Toronto Raptors Sunday were severely unfounded. After an early 7-7 tie the Pistons opened the floodgates and poured on the points and never looked back as they took a commanding 42-23 lead after the opening quarter.
Led by an early offensive explosion from a resurgent, rejuvenated Reggie Jackson, who finished 9-11 and 4-4 from 3, with 24 points in 21 minutes - the Pistons relentlessly pushed the ball in transition and had the undermanned Cavs on their heels every time down the floor. Granted, the Cavs were without a resting Kevin Love but their starting five was woefully outmatched, with starting power forward Marquese Chriss looking like a player whose days in the NBA are numbered. It seemed like the frontcourt of Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin was destined to have a monster game but it was the guards who shined in this one. First Reggie, then Wayne Ellington, then Ish Smith, and, finally, Luke Kennard (more on him in a minute).
But first let’s talk Reggie Jackson. It may be early still, but the thoughts of trading him that seemed so logical two months ago now seem laughable. This is the best we’ve seen Reggie in, well, a long long time. He was hitting floaters, transition 3s, getting to the paint. Whether it’s health, an acceptance of his role, a bit of both, who can say, but this Reggie is exactly what this team needs.
When Reggie went to the bench Ish stepped right in and continued to push the pace and any letup was non-existent and as Mr Happy Mushroom put it in the comments, even if the Pistons points had been negated in the second quarter they still would’ve been up four going into the half.
Speaking of the comment thread, there was this little gem of a back and forth:
But I digress, we were going to talk Luke Kennard. Luke is coming into his own before our eyes and it is GORGEOUS. It is gorgeous, it is gorgeous. Stay with me here.
Luke scored 26 points in just 21 minutes, shooting 10-of-15 including 6-7 from 3, one of which was from about 30 feet out and was followed by an uncharacteristic and awesome stinkface. Yes Luke made a stinkface.
After his own shot.
The bench scorer this team desperately needed to go with Ish’s roadrunner pacing is here. When there was a danger of letting the Cavs back into the game Luke emphatically made sure that wasn’t happening.
I’m probably missing a lot of details here (this is my first recap, can you tell?). Brandon Knight is still playing in the league, Collin Sexton is, fast? But it was a fun win, the team was on fire from three (20-37) and we even got to see Svi and Khyri (eeeee!!) so what more do you want? Glen Robinson III even sort of got in on it.
Now, now the team can focus on Sunday’s game against Toronto, and it does so with a rested starting five and a hell of a good team win under its belt. More of that please.