Pistons bench is on day-to-day basis
Philadelphia — Even after getting Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver back on Friday night for the first time in almost three weeks, the Pistons’ bench situation is still in flux.
Tolliver missed a pair of 3-pointers and Johnson had just three points in the loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Coach Stan Van Gundy said before the game that he wasn’t sure whether both would play Friday but would let the game situations dictate how they were used.
Before Saturday’s game at the 76ers, Van Gundy said that he used Johnson in the first half only because of foul trouble with Marcus Morris, instead going to Reggie Bullock as the sixth man off the bench.
“I knew Reggie Bullock was going to be the first guy last night and Stanley Johnson was going to play if we had foul trouble and we did,” Van Gundy said.
Against the Sixers, Johnson was first off the bench, but he played only 14 minutes and was scoreless. Tolliver played just 42 seconds. Bullock, though, had eight points, on 4-of-7 shooting. It’s a slow process to get Johnson and Tolliver back toward 100 percent, but the first two games since their return didn’t yield stellar results.
“(Bullock) was a better matchup. I was trying to get Stanley some minutes and he rebounded the ball well but I don’t think he looked really good and he doesn’t look comfortable shooting the ball right now,” Van Gundy said. “The way (the Sixers) were pulling in, we had people open on the perimeter.
“I just wanted to get a little more shooting plus he did a good job chasing guards around. They were so small that it was more a game for guards.”
With a spate of injuries, the matchups dictated that the Sixers played a smaller lineup, which meant that the Pistons had to go smaller and Tolliver didn’t get as much time.
Jodie Meeks, who has been working his way back from a toe fracture, dressed for Saturday’s game and was available to play, though he didn’t see any game time.
Meeks warmed up before the game and looked like he was closer to being in game shape, but still will have to work his way into the playing rotation. With the long layoff — he hasn’t played since the second game of the season — he’s way down on the depth chart.
Van Gundy agreed that it would be difficult for Meeks to supplant Reggie Bullock and Darrun Hilliard at this point of the season.
A rash of injuries for the Sixers, with Robert Covington and Jerami Grant out because of concussion protocol, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor inactive and Richaun Holmes (right Achilles strain) out, they only dressed 10 players.
That mean that 37-year-old Elton Brand would be pressed into action. Brand played in just his fourth game of the season, but contributed 10 points and three rebounds in 15 minutes, shooting 5-of-9 from the field.
Covington, who suffered a freakish injury on Friday night, was released from a hospital and will be fine.