The Pistons showed up and showed out in a solid win over the young and inexperienced 1-7 New York Knicks, moving the Pistons to a 4-5 record. The Pistons were firing on all cylinders—whether it was shooting, passing the ball, defense, they seemed in firm control of the game from tip-off. Tony Snell was literally “perfect” the entire game and Andre Drummond was his usual dominant self that we are beginning to get accustomed to…but let me not ramble, here is the POP: 3 Makes and Misses for their win over the New York Knicks.
1st Make: Tony Snell was absolutely “Perfect”
Ladies and Gentlemen, we finally have a Tony Snell sighting. Tonight, Little Caesars Arena was the site for Tony Snell’s coming-out party as he played his best game to date as a Detroit Piston. He started off the game not missing a single shot in the first half—in the first half alone, he was 6 of 6 shooting, and 3 of 3 from the three-point line.
Snell scored 24 points, shooting 9 for 9 from the field, and 6 of 6 from three.
He helped shoulder some of the scoring load with Drummond to help the Pistons maintain control of their lead against the New York Knicks.
He couldn’t have appeared at a better time. With the Pistons without three of their best scorers (Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, Derrick Rose), the team needed someone to finally step up and help Drummond in the scoring department—a test that Snell passed with flying colors! Hopefully, this hot shooting can continue in future games while the Pistons are waiting on the return of Griffin, Jackson, and Rose.
1st Miss: No Answer for Marcus Morris
The Pistons didn’t seem to have an answer for former Detroit Piston Marcus Morris. At every turn, it seemed as if whenever Morris would get the ball in his hands and raise up to shoot it, that the shot was going through the net. Morris scored 18 points, shooting 7 of 14 from the field and 4 rebounds.
Morris was scoring in a variety of ways—at the hoop, from mid-range and on the perimeter, the Pistons just couldn’t seem to contain him at certain points of the game. It was even more interesting to watch he play because he was having a bit of a sibling rivalry going back and forth with his twin brother and current Piston Markieff Morris. The two brothers went tit-for-tat with each other scoring the ball, and even having the chance to defend each other on a few possessions.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter where Morris started to slow down as the Pistons pulled further away from the Knicks with the lead. I’m not even going to lie though—it was enjoyable watching Morris play a great game at LCA, as he was a beloved Detroit Piston player during his two years in Detroit from 2015-2017.
2nd Make: Piston’s Ball Movement/Assist Total
Detroit started the game playing a classic childhood game of hot potato with the basketball because they were the rock around like it was too hot to touch. At the beginning of the third quarter, the Pistons were recorded with 20 assists on 25 made field-goals—recording 37 assist total.
Everyone was in on the passing frenzy and looked for their respective teammates on cuts to the basketball—kick-outs from inside the paint to the three-point line—and reverse passes to open teammates on the perimeter. Their passing tonight absolutely helped the team established an offensive rhythm, something that I believe the team has grown accustomed to and had a chance to develop since they’ve been forced to play without Griffin, Jackson, and Rose; three of their best playmakers.
Outside of Drummond, Snell, Bruce Brown and Luke Kennard, the Pistons are playing full-length games with role players—even though Snell and Bruce Brown aren’t the most inclined offensive threats, the team is being forced to devise a scheme on how to generate offense without a true traditional point guard or go-to scorer.
Passing the ball and finding open players for good looks at the basket will be key until the rest of their team is back healthy and at full strength.
2nd Miss: Inability to Defend the 3
For the first three-quarters of the game, the Pistons couldn’t seem to defend the three-shooting by the Knicks. On a night were the Pistons played a solid game from start to finish, they gave up 11 out of 24 three-point field goals. There were moments in the game where the momentum was trying to shift in the Pistons direction but then the Knicks would still hang around and keep it relatively close with their three-point shooting (44%).
Even though New York is one of the weaker teams in the league, their ability to knock down the three-ball seems to be a strong suit for them. Shooting 44% in a game from three is nothing to turn your nose at—it would behoove the Pistons to make sure they lessen that percentage for their next game on Friday against the Indiana Pacers.
3rd Make: Another Solid Game from Drummond
With the absence of Griffin, Drummond has continued to perform exceptionally in his new role as the primary scorer for Detroit. He posted another solid night in both the scoring and rebounding category—as he led all players in both points (27) and rebounding (12).
Since the start of the season, we’ve been blessed to see the best version of Drummond in his 8 years with Detroit. He seems to become in control offensively—mainly sticking to his strengths, such as using his huge body to bully opponents in the post for easy hook shots and being more versatile in his post play. Drummond is even starting to bring the ball up the court and help initiate the offense and look for his teammates when cutting to the basket or trying to get free coming off screens for a clear look at the basket when shooting. If Drummond can continue this style of play, even when Blake comes back, there is no reason why he should be left off anyone’s NBA All-Star team.
3rd Miss: The Pistons Still Miss Not Having a True Point Guard
Even if the Pistons aren’t fortunate to have the service of Blake Griffin, the Pistons are still quietly struggling without having a true point guard to command the team. With Rose, Jackson and even Tim Frazier unable to play, the only point guard on the team is rookie Jordan Bone—but he is currently, too inexperienced to lead a team of NBA veterans.
The Pistons should be applauded collectively for their ability to carry the duties of a point guard—but this can only continue for so long if they play on winning games consecutively.
Reggie Jackson was reported to be out of action for another 4 weeks, but hopefully Derrick Rose and Tim Frazier can return soon from their injuries, to help provide relief at the lead-guard position. Even if the team is going to be without the bulk of their point guards for the foreseeable future, it wouldn’t hurt to test out Jordan Bone in some NBA action and see what the rookie has to offer to the team.
We can only pray that one or two of the guards will return soon to help the team in their biggest glaring weakness, currently.
Featured Image: Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports