The Pistons came into this game depleted even before news of Brandon Jennings' sore achilles causing him to miss the preseason finale. Therefore, D.J. Augustin grabbed the start with Spencer Dinwiddie clear 2nd choice PG. Greg Monroe also sat this one out, as the team prepares for his two game NBA suspension to start the season as a result of a his DUI. Let's examine the good, the bad, and the ugly.
- Spencer Dinwiddie looked very confident and able in his first minutes in a Pistons uniform. In 15:33 of action, he racked up 8 points to go along with 6 assists and only 2 TO. He also shot 2-3 from downtown.
- Cartier Martin made a strong case as to why he should start opening night at SG. He finished with 17 points on 5-10 shooting (3-4 from 3) and 4-4 FT. He also brought the defense, finishing with 6 steals and a game leading plus-minus of plus-20 (D.J. Augustin was second best with plus-9)
- Kyle Singler found his shot early and was in premier bucket-making form. He shot 7-12 from the field (4-8 from 3) and finished with a game high 19 points to go along with 3 rebounds and 3 steals.
- Josh Smith before the 4th quarter was unstoppable. The closest Piston to a triple double, he finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists on 6-14 shooting (1-2 from 3) and 4-6 from FT. There was also a stretch in the third quarter where he had consecutive great plays, starting with a drive and dunk followed by continuously attacking the basket.
- Caron Butler also brought his A-game tonight, finishing second on the team with 18 points (5-9 FG, 2-6 3PT, 6-7 FT) and 8 rebounds. After being a position of potential weakness, all three leading SF's had great games tonight.
- Shooting percentages. The Pistons had some video game numbers, shooting 35-72 (.486) from the field, 15-28 (.536) from three, and 24-31 (.774) from the free-throw line. Also, the team assisted 28 of the 35 field goals, with D.J Augustin dishing out 11 dimes
- Josh Smith in the late third/fourth quarter. He lost his concentration and began taking some ill-advised jumpshots, a couple which were late in the shot clock. He made a clutch 3 in the fourth, but he became a little trigger-happy, which slightly dampened an otherwise promising performance
- Andre Drummond looked disinterested. Aside from a great dunk on an assist from Dinwiddie, he was continually beaten to loose rebounds by Nerlens Noel and Henry Sims, and finished with a quiet game by his standards of 10 points and 11 rebounds, but with 5 TO. He was also dragged (benched) by Van Gundy in the fourth after poor efforts defensively.
- D.J. Augustin's ability to run an offense. Looking past the admittedly good 11 assists and 1 TO, the fact is that a lot of the time there was a lot of dribbling from Augustin and stagnant movement from the others. There were numerous times where Josh Smith amongst others, had his hands held out as if to say, "what play are we running?" This game, in my mind, proved Augustin is better served as a bench scorer, despite his 11 assists. A lot of his passes were late in the shot clock, trying to conserve his percentages. Also, he had a poor FT shooting night, going 5-8.
- A near fourth quarter collapse. The Pistons led by 10 at one point and found themselves on the wrong end of a Sixers run. As Rick Mahorn said, the Sixers were scrappy and deserved the credit, as the Pistons looked lax, before a Smith three restled some momentum back. Luckily, we should see Brandon Jennings and Kentavious Caldwell- Pope return for the season opener in six days in Denver.
What do you think, DBB?