Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons lose on the road to the Toronto Raptors

The Detroit Pistons travelled to Canada to take on the Toronto Raptors looking for their third straight win, only for Toronto to shoot them down.

As the NBA season draws to within a week of beginning, the Detroit Pistons headed to Canada to take on the Toronto Raptors in their fourth preseason game. They came away with a loss 116-94, in a very sluggish game from the Pistons.

Starters:

Detroit: Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond

Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas

It was another case of a spluttering start for the Detroit Pistons as it took them almost two minutes to get their first score of the night,  which would tie the game 2-2, and that would be the closest the game would ever be all night.

Toronto had their offense firing early with Ibaka hitting three three-pointers early in the game; he eventually finished with 14 points. The Pistons just had no answer for a Toronto offense that was making shots. Toronto ended the game shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from the three-point line, whereas the Detroit Pistons could only manage 44 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from the three-point line.

Toronto had good production from their bench mostly thanks to C.J Miles who finished with 19 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists including 5 of 8 from the three-point line. He was among their best players on the night as well as Jonas Valanciunas who battled hard and ended with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block.

The Pistons looked very tired out of the blocks, with a lot of shots clanging off the front of the rim all night. It wasn’t all bad for the Pistons as Reggie Jackson had another decent game after returning from injury. Reggie was able to get to the rim using that step that he seemed to be missing last season. He hustled defensively by getting some good shot contests. While his stats do not jump off the page (6 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, and 1 steal in 20 minutes) he looked a lot like the Reggie we know and love. I only counted one mid-range pull up jumper, with most of his other shots coming at the rim.

The other really encouraging sign for the Detroit Pistons is that it looks like their bench is going to be quite good. In particular Ish Smith and Langston Galloway both look to have developed some chemistry with each other as they found each other for some scores. They were both the Pistons best players in the game with Ish finishing with 22 points and 8 assists, while Galloway finished with 16 points including a couple of important threes to stop a Toronto run.

The Pistons are going to need to bring a lot more energy to their games if they want to have a shot at the playoffs this season.

Other things I noticed:

  • Drummond appeared to take shots from much closer in, and was more willing to involve teammates. Drummond also continued to use his modified free throw technique which appears to be working as he was 6 of 6 on the night.
  • Jon Leuer looked very lethargic, and the Pistons were struggling on the glass with him and Henry Ellenson at the 5 and 4 respectively.
  • Kennard was getting to the right spots, and appeared to not have his legs, with a lot of shots either rattling out or hitting rim. His defense is much better than advertised and he managed to get into good positions defensively.

The Pistons will finish up the preseason on Friday on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks.

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