As the clock was winding down on the Detroit Pistons fifth consecutive victory, something was different. Starters Andre Drummond and Reggie Bullock found themselves on the bench, with Luke Kennard and Anthony Tolliver on the floor.
Andre Drummond and Reggie Bullock did not have bad games. Drummond was solid, grabbing another 17 rebounds. Bullock was not stellar, but played his fill-in role for the injured Stanley Johnson appropriately.
The playing of Kennard and Tolliver speak to the depth on this Pistons team. It does not matter who steps into the game, they contribute.
The Tolliver effect does exist, and was missed last season. Anthony Tolliver provides a spark when the team needs one. That spark is not just three-pointers, but is in every aspect of the game. He ends scoring droughts and starts scoring runs. He was built for a Stan Van Gundy’s system, and that is why he was brought back this year.
The gift that keeps on giving. Ish Smith is the back-up to Reggie Jackson and his perfect compliment. Jackson plays a high-octane brand of basketball, that involves him holding the ball most of the time. Smith can play that way, but can play a more pass first style. He adapts to the situation in a game, and delivers what is needed.
The third-year player has impressed given his history. He has barely cracked the court in his young career, averaging just over 6 MPG. He was called upon when Leuer went down, and has delivered. The tenacity is shows on both sides of the ball has helped. The minutes will not be consist for Moreland, but he performs when asked.
The quiet addition this offseason fits in perfectly. Galloway is a shooter, and has been hot and cold all season. Like the rest of the reserves, his tenacity makes a difference.
The silent aspect that has contributed is his ability to bring the ball up the court. Players struggle when they can not outlet to their point guard. Galloway has the calm composure to bring the ball up the court and set up the offense. Small things make the difference in the close games.
The rookie from Duke has been solid. His play time has varied this season, going stretches with no minutes at all. This past Sunday he showed his first-round worth, dropping 14 points in 28 minutes. The sharp-shooter is proving he is more than just that.
Effort All Around
Injuries to John Leuer and Stanley Johnson have not affected the performance on the court. The play has not been perfect, but the record has been. The bench is key to that success. Each one of the players playing significant minutes has brought intensity on the defensive side. Timely defense is the difference between winning and losing the close games.