The Pistons fell to the Magic in Orlando, 87-86, falling just short of completing the comeback in a game in which they trailed by as many as 23 points. That's frustrating, but considering they played this game with only two of their six guards available, I'll take it.
When the news broke about Brandon Jennings' dental nightmare, I posted this on DBB's Facebook page:
That was supposed to be a joke! But nope, Will Bynum was next to go down, sitting out with food poisoning.
With Chauncey Billups also receiving a scheduled night of rest, the Pistons' backcourt was incredibly shorthanded. Rookie Peyton Siva was forced to play 47 minutes, and the result was somewhat predictable in that he missed three of 10 shots and committed nine turnovers.
On the bright side, he went perfect at the free-throw line (and even shot 1-3 from beyond the arc, with his lone make coming with 1:23 left in the game to cut Orlando's lead to 85-84) to finish with 12 points and seven assists. In a one-point loss, he finished with a +4 in the plus/minus column. [NBA.com box score]
Andre Drummond and Mo Cheeks on Siva after the game, courtesy of Pistons.com:
“For a rookie to come in and play 47 minutes and play the way he did is absolutely outstanding. Of course he made mistakes. What do you expect? He’s a rookie. Everybody makes mistakes. I’m still making mistakes and it’s my second year. But the way he played tonight, I’m really proud of him. I told him that as soon as we walked off the court. He didn’t fold, didn’t nuthin’. He just played his heart out.”
“He’s tough and that was tough for him to play against that kind of defense,” Cheeks said. “With those guys swarming him like that and he’s not that big, so it’s going to be a little tougher for him. I knew he could play that way. I thought he was great.”
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also saw significant action, playing 35 minutes while finishing with 11 points, a block, a rebound and a steal. He also shot a respectable 4-9 from the field, including 2-3 from beyond the arc. Given his shooting woes for much of the preseason, that's great to see.
Monitoring the progress of the rookies is the biggest thing I'm concerned about in these games, but it's still good to see the veterans shine: Greg Monroe led all scorers with 19 points in 35 minutes. His last bucket of the night briefly gave the Pistons an 86-85 lead with 56 seconds left in the game before Kyle O'Quinn sealed the win for Orlando with a layup less than 20 seconds later (video courtesy of Orlando Pinstriped Post):
Andre Drummond recorded a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds in 36 minutes. Josh Smith scored 13 to go with eight rebounds, four assists, four steals -- he shot just 4-10 from the field but 2-5 from beyond the arc. I'll take it. With all that box-score stuffing, it's not surprising he led the Pistons with a +12 in the plus/minus column.
As for the bench ... well, the bench barely showed up to play -- you can look those numbers up yourself. Also be sure to check out Orlando Pinstriped Post for a more complete recap.
Now your thoughts.