The Detroit Pistons ended their preseason the way they hope to begin their regular season, with a 28 point beatdown of the Atlanta Hawks, 115-87. Both teams sat key regular season starters. While Detroit sat Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Ersan Ilyasova, the Hawks sat Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Paul Millsap. In essence, this is not the Atlanta Hawks team the Pistons will face Tuesday evening when they kick off their regular season.
However, even though this victory was against the Hawks second and third units, there are still very key points to take away. The Pistons racked up more assists against the Hawks than they had in any of their other preseason games. There was ball movement and it came in the form of Steve Blake.
Spencer Dinwiddie got the start tonight and had his best game of the preseason. In 24 minutes, Dinwiddie racked up six assists and two steals opposite one turnover and put in six points. But the team was moving the ball when he was in the game. But it was the backup, the likely backup of the regular season until Brandon Jennings returns, who really shined. Also getting 24 minutes, Blake was able to rack up 12 assists against his two turnovers and pulled in five rebounds, but that was basically it. He shot 1-for-6, 0-for-4 from distance, and did not get to the line. But the ball was flying when he was on the court.
Speaking of free throws, the Pistons only shot eight. They made seven of them. Andre Drummond took one. He made it. The only person who missed a free throw was Anthony Tolliver. Those eight free throws tie the second lowest free throw attempts this preseason. Let's hope that is not a frequent occurrence.
Drummond had a decent night scoring 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting and pulling in 8 rebounds in 17 plus minutes. Marcus Morris showed us what could be when he's on, shooting 6-for-10, 5-for-6 from deep, for 17 points while pulling down 10 rebounds. Jodie Meeks also showed life by also scoring 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting, 3-for-6 from long-range, while getting four assists, a rebound and a steal with only one turnover.
The real star of the night was young Stanley Johnson. Well, at least second half young Stanley Johnson. Sporting a head band along with Drummond, first half Johnson seemed like the one we had seen the last four games. First half Johnson was 2-for-7, blank in two tries from distance, along with two turnovers. But he did have three steals and two boards with an assist. Second half Johnson was 5-for-7, 1-for-3 from deep, with two rebounds and an assist. One of those buckets was a wonderful drive and jam.
There were still defensive issues, however. They did allow the Hawks to shoot 37 percent from distance and allowed them to get to the line 18 times. But, this game didn't mean anything, so we'll see how the regular season goes starting Monday.
Did you all enjoy the end to the regular season? Ready for the regular season? DETROOOIIIIITTTTT BAAAASKETTTTTBAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!