By: Bogart Lipe
This was not a good week. What I mean to say is, it was not a good week for some people. You may have had a good week. You definitely could have had the best week of your life, accomplished many goals, and led a very fulfilling and fruitful life. This is of course very possible. However, I’m going to go ahead and say this week, a week during which the Pistons dropped three straight winnable games after demolishing the Suns, was not good. This week, during which the Pistons were outscored by 20 by the John Wall-less Wizards in the 3rd quarter after leading by 6 at half, was not spectacular. This week, during which the Pistons lost to the Sixers in a This Shouldn’t Matter As Much As It Does game, was not whimsical.
(I would like to take time out here to point out Joel Embiid went 7/21 from the field with 6 turnovers so although his team won, he most certainly did not win the forged rivalry and individual matchup between him and Andre Drummond, who put up 14/11/6 and 5 steals because as the stanza at the top of this page exhibits, he is Steve Nash in a 7 foot 280 pound body. Okay let’s get back on track.)
This week, during which the Pistons lost by three in San Antonio to a Kawhi-less Spurs team, was not dazzling. Although the Pistons were undeniably hosed by the officials at the end of the game (when Tobias Harris was gutlessly called for holding LaMarcus Aldridge as the Spurs’ shot clock expired), they had a chance to tie and missed so they lost. So in conclusion, this week was not good.
So here we are. The upcoming schedule includes a game tonight in Milwaukee, and three straight home games against the Warriors, Celtics, and Nuggets. The game tonight against the Bucks is the most imperative, and not only because it is the next game up. A loss in Milwaukee against a division foe before two games against two of the best three teams in the league (both of whom they’ve already beaten) would not exactly provide a favorable situation. A situation where, if a loss tonight takes place, the Pistons could all of a sudden be thrust into staring 0.500 basketball and mediocrity in the face. Then again, as we concluded last week, the Pistons are still a good team. They will be okay long term regardless of what happens in the next 5 days. There is, however, one relatively interesting thing to keep an eye on as we venture into the last part of this tough three week stanza of games.
Against the Spurs, Stan Van Gundy started Anthony Tolliver. This was allegedly deployed because of prospective matchups with the Spurs’ looming frontcourt of Aldridge and Pau Gasol. Whether it was simply matchups or something more, Tolliver did a tremendous job defending LaMarcus and Stanley arguably had his best game of the season off the bench, putting up 12 points and 10 key rebounds. Stanley played six more minutes than Tolliver, and it will be interesting to see if SVG stays with Stanley coming off the bench to start games and letting him close games like Monday night. Tonight Giannis provides another possible matchup problem, whom the longer-limbed Tolliver may be better suited to defend. The same goes for Kevin Durant the next game. Either way SVG decides to go, the Pistons should be able to compete with any team any night, and for the next four games they must be able to play hard and together for 48 minutes. If they are able to survive the next week without too many battle scars, the future schedule provides many opportunities for the Pistons to once again boost their record and their seeding in the Eastern Conference.