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Everything except the win!

Post  Oracle Today at 1:24 am

This was a great game, but we couldn't close it.

The Pistons played very well, but made mistakes down the stretch of the last 2 minutes when they had a 6 point lead.

These are the kind of losses I can live with, they played a top 4 team in the west down to the wire on the road, and it speaks to their continuing development as a team.

IMO, if they can plug a few holes in the off season, this team could really rock next year.
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Re: FORUM

Post  cool breeze on Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:38 pm

Oracle wrote:At halftime my thoughts were that the Suns are a very bad team, but that they were leading us by 2. I was in amazement that we allow these lotto teams to shoot so well against us.

That's not to say the Suns aren't talented, they are, and they'll be a very good team in the future, but today, they're inexperienced and prone to a lot of errors.

Then we finally turned up the defense and that, my friends, was the ball game! 

Ellington is looking like an elite 3 point shooter, and it's rubbing off on Kennard and Galloway, but Ellington is shooting like a star!

The big 3 looked like the big duds.
Drummond: His good outweighed the bad, but there was plenty bad, he just looked terrible at times, but he got his stuff together when we needed him in the 4th.

Reggie: He was alright, but his turnovers were costly. Shockingly he's played in EVERY game this year, and got the entire 4th quarter off for some needed rest.

Griffin: Looks more tired and low energy than ever. He was totally out of sync and the best thing he did was assist. He couldn't hit his shots or his FT's, so he also got the entire 4th quarter off.

Suns: We all know what Booger can do, but this kid Ayton is going to be a good one once he grows up and puts on some weight. At 7'1 with a 7'6 wingspan, he'll be dangerous. His lack of weight allowed Drummond to totally dominate him and anybody else on the Suns on both the offensive and defensive boards. Without that domination we wouldn't have been able to stay in the game.

The Suns Video Board is the smallest and oldest in the league. I'm shocked they're so far behind the times because they used to be one of the more advanced.


Suns New Coach: Their new coach looks like it may be the soon to be fired Luke Walton, and they'll be lucky to get him, he's a really good coach for a young team. IMO, the Lakers would have been in the playoffs with their young core if they hadn't got LeBron. They also weren't the same after LeBron went down, IMO, LeBron's off court activities took over when he was off and he never got back to game mentality.

On to the Blazers, this is going to be a tough matchup, they're guards are deadly, defense will be the key!

Oracle you might be right about Luke Walton taking on this young Suns team. And he should be a good fit with the young players Phoenix has managed to draft.

I thought that Andre Drummond came into training camp a bit lighter last fall and he looked in pretty good shape. Lately I have seen him return to his old tricks of taking off an entire quarter while seldom offering any resistance on defense. Earlier on he would come to life a bit on defense in the 4th quarter if other teammates were playing hard on the defensive end. Andre is playing with fire with all that extra body weight he seems to add instead of subtract as the long season wears on. His Mom needs to get her son on a diet. There is no telling how good AD could be as a defensive weapon for the Pistons if he could suck it up and put in some hard work with conditioning. His career for sure is going to be shortened big time if he doesn't lose about 25 to 35 pounds. Pick up a 25 pound weight and carry it around moving slowly for 2.5 hours. Imagine playing in an NBA game carrying excess fat around. AD is still very agile for a man his size. I imagine the physical trainers work with Andre and encourage him to make a big change in lifestyle. While AD's defense sucks at times he still has been the difference maker in several games when he plays with full attention. Some of his teammates are not over weight but have no hope of ever becoming a monster defender. Will AD not reach his God given potential as we witness his career unfold? He is certainly a much better all around basketball player this season. I hope AD surprises everyone and transforms into a guy who is always ready to play with great effort. Good luck AD. Watch what you put into your body and then kick ass and take names.

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Final Four: Has Tom Izzo lost it?

Post  Oracle on Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:44 pm

This video, IMO, is pretty ugly. (corrected video link)


I don't have an issue with tough love and strong coaching, but this is ridiculous because it's a real example of a total failure to communicate. Any time your own players have to put their hands on the coach to restrain him from attacking a teammate, something is horribly wrong.

However, he does have plenty of high profile defenders.
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Blazers

Post  lemonpen on Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:29 am

CJ is out due to knee injury. Will miss this game and probably the one at our place.
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Suns Game...

Post  Oracle on Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:29 am

At halftime my thoughts were that the Suns are a very bad team, but that they were leading us by 2. I was in amazement that we allow these lotto teams to shoot so well against us.

That's not to say the Suns aren't talented, they are, and they'll be a very good team in the future, but today, they're inexperienced and prone to a lot of errors.

Then we finally turned up the defense and that, my friends, was the ball game! 

Ellington is looking like an elite 3 point shooter, and it's rubbing off on Kennard and Galloway, but Ellington is shooting like a star!

The big 3 looked like the big duds.
Drummond: His good outweighed the bad, but there was plenty bad, he just looked terrible at times, but he got his stuff together when we needed him in the 4th.

Reggie: He was alright, but his turnovers were costly. Shockingly he's played in EVERY game this year, and got the entire 4th quarter off for some needed rest.

Griffin: Looks more tired and low energy than ever. He was totally out of sync and the best thing he did was assist. He couldn't hit his shots or his FT's, so he also got the entire 4th quarter off.

Suns: We all know what Booger can do, but this kid Ayton is going to be a good one once he grows up and puts on some weight. At 7'1 with a 7'6 wingspan, he'll be dangerous. His lack of weight allowed Drummond to totally dominate him and anybody else on the Suns on both the offensive and defensive boards. Without that domination we wouldn't have been able to stay in the game.

The Suns Video Board is the smallest and oldest in the league. I'm shocked they're so far behind the times because they used to be one of the more advanced.


Suns New Coach: Their new coach looks like it may be the soon to be fired Luke Walton, and they'll be lucky to get him, he's a really good coach for a young team. IMO, the Lakers would have been in the playoffs with their young core if they hadn't got LeBron. They also weren't the same after LeBron went down, IMO, LeBron's off court activities took over when he was off and he never got back to game mentality.

On to the Blazers, this is going to be a tough matchup, they're guards are deadly, defense will be the key!
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Re: FORUM

Post  cool breeze on Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:18 pm

Murph wrote:So I just looked it up.  Chuma Okeke just led Auburn to a surprise upset win of the SEC Tournament, which earned Auburn a #5 seed is the Midwest bracket.  Auburn is currently playing New Mexico State in the big dance.  Auburn is leading 32-29 at halftime.

Okeke is a 6'8, 230 lb, 20 year, old sophomore.  He was born and raised in Atlanta.

For the season, he leads Auburn in rebounds and steals, he's 2nd in blocks and assists, and he's 3rd in scoring.  For the year, he shot 58% from the field and 38% from the 3 pt line.  

He's our guy.

What is not to like regarding Chuma? I really like him. I also have watched Oregon's senior point guard who has managed to make his team into a winner that looked horrible at the beginning of the season. He stole the show at the PAC12 tournament and also played in the NCAA finals last year. People say he is intense and natural born leader who mimics John Stockton's game. As the Pistons will be drafting later in the first round, it will be interesting what hole management will want to fill. Will they draft a point guard? Will they draft the best defender regardless of position who might be available? At least smarter people will be making the decision.

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Chuma Okeke

Post  Murph on Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:44 pm

So I just looked it up.  Chuma Okeke just led Auburn to a surprise upset win of the SEC Tournament, which earned Auburn a #5 seed is the Midwest bracket.  Auburn is currently playing New Mexico State in the big dance.  Auburn is leading 32-29 at halftime.

Okeke is a 6'8, 230 lb, 20 year, old sophomore.  He was born and raised in Atlanta.

For the season, he leads Auburn in rebounds and steals, he's 2nd in blocks and assists, and he's 3rd in scoring.  For the year, he shot 58% from the field and 38% from the 3 pt line.  

He's our guy.
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Bullock

Post  Murph on Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:16 am

Oracle wrote:
Don wrote:The news to the right relating to the Pistons entertaining thoughts of possibly signing Bullock next summer scares me. Did Piston management watch Bullock when the Lakers played in Detroit? If so how could they like what they saw? Signing Bullock offers another gunner for sure. He will pull the trigger whenever possible and offer the same type of defense as Jackson, Smith, Galloway etc. I am personally happy that Bullock is no longer on the team.
Don, I see all of the Laker games, and I can't imagine why they would want Bullock back, other than his size, and that's not nearly enough IMO. That ship has sailed, much like KCP, there's no reason to go back, we need to be moving forward, getting better players.

I agree.  I liked Bullock when he was here.  And he really turned around his career with the Pistons.  But I don't see what he adds besides shooting.  And we already have a couple of young shooters, Kennard and Mykhailiuk, that we should develop, before he tie up minutes and money on a one dimensional vet like Bullock.

The same is true of re-signiing Ellington.

What we really need are young, tall, athletic, perimeter defenders.  Right now, only Brown fills that description, but he is offensively challenged, and maybe Thomas. 

We need a 6'5 defensive minded PG, and a 6'8  defensive minded SF.  Unfortunately, Coby White and D'Andre Hunter have moved so for up in the draft, that they will not be available to us at around the 14th pick.

Sekou Doumbouva?  Jordan Nwora?  Chuma Okeke?  Can Kevin Porter Jr play PG?
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As I said... Watch out for Miami...

Post  Oracle on Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:54 pm

After beating OKC, they waltz into San Antonio and take out the Spurs!

We better be on our game, the east is getting TIGHT!!!
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Looks like Murph's reasoning is closer to the truth...

Post  Oracle on Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:31 pm

With their best player, Antetokounmpo, out, the Bucks fall to the Cavs.

It appears that Murph may be closer to the truth, along with my thought that missing a key piece throws teams off a bit.

However, I don't want to take anything away from the young Cavs, they played two good games in a row!!!

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Murph/Don

Post  Oracle on Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:34 pm

Don wrote:Murph I am glad that you brought up Cleveland. I thought that the loss to Cleveland exposed all of the players who played in that game for who they really are as NBA players. Without Griffin the Pistons would for sure be a lottery team with a good chance of scoring big in the next draft.
Murph, I don't see anybody in panic mode, but somewhere between what you say and what Don says may be a happy medium.

Murph says that Cleveland shot very well and that stuff happens in the NBA, which is true. Don says that without Griffin, we're exposed as total crap. I don't profess to know the correct answer, either of you could be totally right.

However, I've seen plenty of teams that once a key piece, not even the best piece goes out of the lineup, they initially falter. I thought the Pistons offense was actually very good, especially for a road game, it was on defense where they struggled, and that makes me think that part of what Murph said could be right.

They didn't look tired to me, but the first thing to show fatigue is the defense because it's an effort task, They played good defense in spurts, but slacked off way too much and likely gave the Cavs confidence, and we know the problems that causes, especially on the road.

We don't have to wait long to see how they'll respond. The Nets and Miami are moving forward, we will have to step up our game to pull this one off, and we have no excuse, our fate is 100% in our hands... win or go home!
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Bullock

Post  Oracle on Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:33 pm

Don wrote:The news to the right relating to the Pistons entertaining thoughts of possibly signing Bullock next summer scares me. Did Piston management watch Bullock when the Lakers played in Detroit? If so how could they like what they saw? Signing Bullock offers another gunner for sure. He will pull the trigger whenever possible and offer the same type of defense as Jackson, Smith, Galloway etc. I am personally happy that Bullock is no longer on the team.
Don, I see all of the Laker games, and I can't imagine why they would want Bullock back, other than his size, and that's not nearly enough IMO. That ship has sailed, much like KCP, there's no reason to go back, we need to be moving forward, getting better players.

I was surprised that you thought Kennard did well defensively, he looked horrible to me, and offensively, he's regressing so much that GR3 is getting minutes. 

I'm hoping that it's just a bad stretch, but in the previous game he only took one shot! He gets the opportunities, but he's scared to shoot.
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Re: FORUM

Post  cool breeze on Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:55 am

Murph wrote:I'm sure Blake Griffin is exhausted and probably hobbled by some minor injuries.  But, now is not the time to rest him...unless we are angling for the 7th seed, in order to play Toronto, who we seem to be able to beat for some reason.

Even the Cavs are an NBA team, and they somehow shot a freakishly good 58% from the floor including 50% from the 3 point line.  And we were playing the 2nd night of a back-to-back on the road, without our All Star.


We had better make more of an effort tonight against the Suns.

Really interesting posts Oracle and Ballin. Murph I am glad that you brought up Cleveland. I thought that the loss to Cleveland exposed all of the players who played in that game for who they really are as NBA players. Without Griffin the Pistons would for sure be a lottery team with a good chance of scoring big in the next draft. A dead giveaway is the fact that Brown is the starting 2 guard. I think that Brown has done a good job as a rookie but he is not starting material and that showed big time in the Cavs game. Brown offers almost zero threat as an offensive player at this time. But what surprised me in that game was his inability to successfully guard any Cleveland player he matched up with. Jackson, Smith and Galloway were equally inept on the defensive end and those Cav guards knew it and that gave them the confidence they needed to make shots in about any way they desired. I think that the best guard who now plays relating to defense in Luke. I was surprised that the coach did not call on Thomas to provide some resistance on D. All night long Cleveland players were breaking down the Pistons easily often without the help of a screen.

The other obvious thing that stood out was how inept the Piston offense is when Reggie Jackson assumes his old role as play maker. What exactly is the difference between Smith and Jackson? Both rely on the dribble to create something on the offensive end. When Kennard brought the ball up court he easily passed the ball directly into the post to a wide open Andre Drummond. But with Smith and Jackson nothing gets accomplished without a circus act of dribbling with the point having really no idea in mind when they come up the court to start the half court offense. When Blake is in the game, Reggie is effective playing off the ball. He is not dancing as much eating up the shot clock. Smith is a wild man who possesses great speed but simply studying game film by the opposing coach would reveal where Smith likes to pass the ball after he gets too deep in the paint.

The news to the right relating to the Pistons entertaining thoughts of possibly signing Bullock next summer scares me. Did Piston management watch Bullock when the Lakers played in Detroit? If so how could they like what they saw? Signing Bullock offers another gunner for sure. He will pull the trigger whenever possible and offer the same type of defense as Jackson, Smith, Galloway etc. I am personally happy that Bullock is no longer on the team. So the Pistons sign Bullock then what? How will the Piston guards match up with bottom dweller Cleveland when they play against Sexton and Knight? Both of those players have high basketball IQs. They see the court and do not try to show off but rather enjoy being play makers as well as shot makers. they also play solid defense.

The Cleveland game proved that Piston guards are nothing without Blake Griffin. They do not have the ability to play with a high basketball IQ and are only specialist at dribbling and jacking up long range shots. People say well that is the way it is in the current NBA. That is true for teams that are inconsistent relating to playing with a high basketball IQ every night and giving max effort on defense especially in the 4th quarter. Winning teams have players who do have the ability to make defensive stops. If the Pistons manage to get into the playoffs and that is still a big if to me, then it should be easy to beat them in a 7 game series. Playing soft defense in the playoffs will get you eliminated very quickly and even Blake will not be able to save the Pistons from many embarrassing moments. In the closing minutes of the Cleveland game, the Pistons had no plan on offense. There was very little movement off the ball and a lot of settling for launching contested long range jump shots instead of running a play to get off a shot closer to the basket. And again what coach can tolerate players who get beat the same way time after time on one high screen. Casey is a coach who must believe that he can win by out shooting the opposition. I wonder if he enjoyed the shot selection in that game.

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Don't Panic

Post  Murph on Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:29 am

I'm sure Blake Griffin is exhausted and probably hobbled by some minor injuries. But, now is not the time to rest him...unless we are angling for the 7th seed, in order to play Toronto, who we seem to be able to beat for some reason.

Even the Cavs are an NBA team, and they somehow shot a freakishly good 58% from the floor including 50% from the 3 point line. And we were playing the 2nd night of a back-to-back on the road, without our All Star.


We had better make more of an effort tonight against the Suns.
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Rude Awakening

Post  BallinD on Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:55 pm

One step forward and one back appears to be the pattern of this team right about now.

On a positive note it still looks like they will play more than 82 games. OTOH, they could easily fall out of the race if Cleveland and the two blowouts are counted as a barometer.

Three issues: Talent, Maturity, and Heart.
1. Talent: maybe three on this team could make the rotation of the 16 playoff teams.
2. Maturity: 1 step forward and one step back. Also inextricably linked to the elusive BBIQ.
3. Heart. 1 step forward and one back.

Wild card: Hot n cold shooting. On defense, they are warm and cool. Not confident they can win more than 2 playoff games regardless of 1st round opposition; it would be a pleasant surprise if they do.

Sigh. Once again, it appears next year holds whatever promise there is.
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Selected Roster Comments...

Post  Oracle on Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:01 pm

Kennard: WTF is going on with him?

He's so scared to shoot now and I don't understand why. He'll get the ball above the arc and now he WAITS for the defender to close on him so he has to pass the ball, but he was wide open for a few seconds scared to shoot.

I know they're closing on him faster these days, that's what happens when you start to hurt teams, but he needs to make an adjustment. He has a quick release, so I don't know what the issue is.

Another disturbing thing is that his defense has gone totally south. He can't keep anybody in front of him, and they're licking their chops when he defends.

Ellington: One of the highlights of the Cavs game was the stellar shooting of Ellington. If they ever learn how to play defense, his shooting could really help us out.

Drummond: A total BEAST! I have almost no complaints about Drummond. Defends the rim, check. Makes FT's, check. Scores within himself and the offense, check. BBallIQ, mind boggling better, check. He's doing all of the big and little things we always wanted him to do and he's doing them at a high level. Props to both Casey and his staff and to Blake. Young bigs need a vet big to help calm them and show them the right path.

Reggie: He's back! Not at the level he used to be, but the level we need him to be at. I'd resign him if the money was right, but I also would be grooming or seeking his replacement at the same time, as Reggie moves to a 6th man role.

Galloway: Playing MUCH better, and the biggest surprise is that when his deep stuff isn't falling, he's now smart enough to get to the rim or pull up for jumpers.

Maker: A mixed bag, but mostly good. He's a project and looks like a player that may always come off the bench, but if used right he can impact games. Again, resign him if the numbers work out.

Ish: Critical to the bench and highly underrated. People keep looking for him to be something he isn't, instead of looking at what he's actually good at, and what he does he's one of the best at... driving defenses crazy and dishing for wide open shots, with the added ability to finish at the rim or drop floaters.

GR3: Waking up a bit, but if Kennard stays a deer in the headlights, his minutes should rise.
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Re: FORUM

Post  Oracle on Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:38 pm

WTF wrote:
I have a few but you won't like them  facepalm  I don't enjoy being the Debbie Downer(yeah you do) but this loss shows how little will this team has to win games and close out a season the way good teams are expected to.  Even without Blake this game should have been a "W" period.

This team could very well find itself dropping right out of the playoff.  Mark my words they're going to lose to the Suns, and that final game against the Knicks in the same manner they loss to the Cavs.  I think they'll lose both Indy games and the 2 Portland games also Warriors and OKC games. 

That's 8 games, 8 losses  facepalm
Wise, nobody should like this, but nobody should shy away from the truth! Lemonpen also smells the same thing you're smelling... we aren't as real as we pretend to be.

They have a chance to prove that they're for real, but I have to confess, those three disturbing losses Lemon speaks about, makes me feel like they just ran into a bunch of cream puffs and a lot of home games with a favorable matchup sprinkled in for good measure.

Look out for Miami, they may snatch that 6th seed because they finally getting healthy with Dragic & Waiters coming back. They knocked off OKC in OKC last night in impressive fashion.

I agree that this last game should have been a massacre! Cleveland management did everything they possibly could, they rested their vets and sent out the JV Squad. They bent over and begged us to please just use some grease, and what did we do? We're the ones that got screwed! That was a disgusting loss, even worse than the two blowout losses, IMO.

I also can't disagree that Phoenix will kick their arses, they are playing decent, but very well at home, and the Knicks are also unpredictable at home. The Warriors is for sure a loss, going 1-1 with Portland is possible, but I see a massive arse whooping in OKC,

I pray that I'm wrong and they surprise us and start playing like they belong in the playoffs, but my confidence at this point is rather low.
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Here's Some Words

Post  WTF on Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:52 am

Oracle wrote:Have the words!!!

I have a few but you won't like them  facepalm  I don't enjoy being the Debbie Downer but this loss shows how little will this team has to win games and close out a season the way good teams are expected to.  Even without Blake this game should have been a "W" period.

This team could very well find itself dropping right out of the playoff.  Mark my words they're going to lose to the Suns, and that final game against the Knicks in the same manner they loss to the Cavs.  I think they'll lose both Indy games and the 2 Portland games also Warriors and OKC games. 

That's 8 games, 8 losses  facepalm
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3 Disturbing Losses

Post  lemonpen on Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:24 am

This smells like we are on our way to backing into the playoffs.
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I just don't...

Post  Oracle on Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:14 pm

Have the words!!!
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Re: FORUM

Post  Oracle on Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:31 pm

lemonpen wrote:I don't find myself missing Stanley at all.  His story became old, and it seemed like we were getting all that we might ever get from him.  Thon may never improve one iota, but his different skill set offers new hope.

Bring on the 76'ers.  GULP.  Maybe they become our Celtic's of old,  a source of many lessons which eventually propel us to great heights.   It's been a while but maybe Dre & RJax have had a fire burning inside since their last go at the playoffs.

I'm anxious to see what this coaching staff can offer with time to prepare for an opponent.
Interesting thought Lemon! Upon further reflection, I do agree with you.

The best lessons I ever learned on the court came from being on the business end a an a$$ whooping!

One thing our great teams of the past have learned is that DEFENSE cools down teams with a lot of fire power, and if you can keep the score down, you have a chance to win.

Having said that, another lesson I learned is that matchups can offset skill differences. We're not a better team than the Raptors, but because we matchup up so well with them it's hard for them to beat us. I said that to say that it would be an uphill battle against Philly, but a coaching staff that can figure out how to offset the mismatch could change the outcome dramatically.
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Murph

Post  lemonpen on Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:08 pm

Murph wrote:"Well, now who’s getting swept? (Probably the Pistons if they see the Sixers in the playoffs. That’s an awful match-up.) - I agree, I don't want to see the Sixers in the playoffs."


It is an awful matchup.  But let's be real, at this point, the 6ers are an awful matchup for just about any team, because they have so many weapons.

First, let me say, this is where we're really going to miss Stanley Johnson.  Yes, he drove me insane with his dumbass 3 point shooting and his missed lay-ups, but he gave full effort on defense.  He would sure come in handy defending either Ben Simmons or Jimmy Butler. That's why I would advocate for resigning SJ in the off season.

Second, I would play Drummond head to head against Embiid as little as possible, until the 4th quarter.  Drummond isn't going to stop Embiid, he's only going to get into foul trouble, and get Embiid stoked into an offensive frenzy.

Instead, I would start Drummond, and then pull him really early for Thon Maker.  Then I would play Drummond with the 2nd unit through 3 quarters, in order to keep him out of foul trouble.  I would put Maker on Embiid through the first 3 quarters, and have him use up his 6 fouls. Maker just might be big enough and mobile enough to contain Embiid, at least a little.  Then in the 4th quarter, I'd bring a relatively rested and clear headed Drummond back in to guard Embiid and hope for the best.


BTW, great game last night.  Kudos to Dwayne Casey.  clap

I don't find myself missing Stanley at all. His story became old, and it seemed like we were getting all that we might ever get from him. Thon may never improve one iota, but his different skill set offers new hope.

Bring on the 76'ers. GULP. Maybe they become our Celtic's of old, a source of many lessons which eventually propel us to great heights. It's been a while but maybe Dre & RJax have had a fire burning inside since their last go at the playoffs.

I'm anxious to see what this coaching staff can offer with time to prepare for an opponent.
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76ers Nighmare

Post  Murph on Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:38 am

"Well, now who’s getting swept? (Probably the Pistons if they see the Sixers in the playoffs. That’s an awful match-up.) - I agree, I don't want to see the Sixers in the playoffs."


It is an awful matchup.  But let's be real, at this point, the 6ers are an awful matchup for just about any team, because they have so many weapons.

First, let me say, this is where we're really going to miss Stanley Johnson.  Yes, he drove me insane with his dumbass 3 point shooting and his missed lay-ups, but he gave full effort on defense.  He would sure come in handy defending either Ben Simmons or Jimmy Butler. That's why I would advocate for resigning SJ in the off season.

Second, I would play Drummond head to head against Embiid as little as possible, until the 4th quarter.  Drummond isn't going to stop Embiid, he's only going to get into foul trouble, and get Embiid stoked into an offensive frenzy.

Instead, I would start Drummond, and then pull him really early for Thon Maker.  Then I would play Drummond with the 2nd unit through 3 quarters, in order to keep him out of foul trouble.  I would put Maker on Embiid through the first 3 quarters, and have him use up his 6 fouls. Maker just might be big enough and mobile enough to contain Embiid, at least a little.  Then in the 4th quarter, I'd bring a relatively rested and clear headed Drummond back in to guard Embiid and hope for the best.


BTW, great game last night.  Kudos to Dwayne Casey.  clap
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From a Raptors podcast site, but interesting to Piston fans.

Post  Oracle on Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:21 am

Here’s 10 takeaways from the Raptors’ 110-107 loss to the Pistons.

One – Bitter: First things first, congratulations to Dwane Casey on his second NBA championship. Truly, this has to be an amazing feeling for Casey, who has orchestrated three fourth-quarter comebacks against his former club. And for it to happen in the regular season truly vindicates his expertise in this area. Casey will play it off just enough to come across as charming, before taking one more stab at the team who fired him for getting swept in three out of the last four years. Well, now who’s getting swept? (Probably the Pistons if they see the Sixers in the playoffs. That’s an awful match-up.) - I agree, I don't want to see the Sixers in the playoffs

Two But seriously: All jokes aside, Casey is a deserving Coach of the Year and he’s showing it again with the Pistons. Put aside the X’s and O’s and just look at how his team competes. Blake Griffin has completely bought into Casey’s program and is having the best year of his career. The same can be said for Andre Drummond, who just nailed another pair of clutch free throws. Even Reggie Jackson is having a moment, while Casey has coaxed just enough out of Ish Smith, Thon Maker and Zaza Pachulia to make it work. Most of coaching in the regular season is motivation and execution, and Casey’s teams always check both boxes. I tip my dad hat to Casey for a job well done, and I hope he gives the Sixers hell in the 3-6 battle. (But seriously, Joel Embiid sons Drummond more than Jonas Valanciunas and James Johnson combined.)

Three – Return: Fred VanVleet is finally back after missing four weeks with a left thumb injury, and not a moment too soon because even I’m out on Jeremy Lin (more on him below). VanVleet was initially slated to play on a minutes restriction, but as always, VanVleet proved irresistible and wormed his way into the starting lineup by halftime. He was money from deep, worked well with the starters, and did his best Kyle Lowry impersonation with 17 points in 31 minutes.

Four – Rotation: Lin still got some burn off the bench in the second half, but it’s clear that Nick Nurse has lost confidence in him. Lin just isn’t effective unless he’s working a pick-and-roll into a midrange shot or a contested layup, and in this current funk, Lin is a drag on the team regardless of the teammates around him. He did give effort defensively, but that hardly matters when you’re the point guard. Lin will hold the fort against the Knicks tomorrow, but Kyle Lowry and VanVleet will cover the non-garbage time minutes at point guard once they’re both healthy.

Five – Chemistry: Lin’s other recourse for minutes was at backup shooting guard, but (a) you have to actually make shots, and (b) Norman Powell is a better fit. It took some reps, but Powell and Marc Gasol have a nice understanding of how to attack the defense, and they’re starting to create efficient shots for the second unit. Gasol sets a wide screen to Powell can get a head of steam into the lane, and Gasol also trusts Powell to hit the open shots when he swings it. Add VanVleet to the mix and that might actually give the bench enough playmaking to function as its own separate entity.

Six – Unwatchable: However, until Lowry and Serge Ibaka return to the lineup, the bench in its current iteration will continue to stink up the joint. Nurse ran with an all-bench unit to start the second quarter, and the Pistons promptly took a double-digit lead after the Raptors mustered just 1-6 shooting with two turnovers. (That one make, by the way, was a beat-the-buzzer panic three by Eric Moreland.) I would ordinarily knock Nurse for this mistake, but the Raptors are on a back-to-back, so I can see the logic in trying to buy some spare minutes for his starters.

Seven – Needs improvement: I’m not going to knock Moreland since he’s literally on a 10-day deal, but he was a mess defensively. Zaza Pachulia, a man with the Rock of Gibraltar for a head and two horse hoofs for hands, somehow scored 11 points in 13 minutes off the bench. Moreland was consistently out of position (again, understandable since he’s just here for a cup of coffee) and the Pistons feasted at the rim. He also got the nasty end of the Drummond-Johnson dunk.

Eight Thorn: Let’s take a moment to appreciate Ish Smith, who has to be first-team All-Raptor Killer at this point. LeBron James is the captain/GM/coach/agent, but Smith is basically Kyrie Irving when it comes to the Raptors. Nobody has the quickness to contain Smith and he just constantly creates chaos by getting into the lane and putting the Raptors out of position. Smith turned this game around in the second half when the Raptors were just about to run away with it.

Nine – Another issue: Outside of Smith, the other issue with a potential match-up with the Pistons is how Blake Griffin can take Pascal Siakam out of the game. Siakam can get a few buckets back, but Griffin scores on him whenever he wants and often gets him in foul trouble. The Raptors came out with a plan to trap and double Griffin, but he just picked them apart with his passing. OG Anunoby has actually fared better against Griffin than Siakam has, but it’s hard to get Anunoby to match Griffin’s minutes without benching Siakam to some degree.

Ten – Last call: This is my last post at Raptors Republic for the foreseeable future. I’ll announce the next move tomorrow, but in the meantime, I wanted to use this space to thank everyone at RR for the opportunities this place has given me. Zarar and Sam are the best parents you could ever ask for, every aspiring sports writer should be trying to emulate Blake, and RR is a shining example of how to build a strong business. You have to give people chances, and that’s what this place did for me. My first piece for this site was a 3,000-word clusterfuck on the Drummond-Valanciunas debate (Masai Ujiri was much more eloquent on Open Gym) and five years later, I turned those reps into a dream job. I owe everything to this site and I will love it forever. I was circumventing the Great Chinese Firewall in in grimy internet cafes to read roll calls back in 2008, so nothing will ever stop me from coming back to this place. Thank you.
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The Win

Post  BallinD on Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:14 am

Great victory despite the Blake missed FTs, and so we got the W.

Casey can motivate the team to beat the Raptors, now he really really needs to put lightning in a bottle.
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