It may not have been a Magic City Monday, but the Pistons had Philips Arena going up like church on Sunday. That's right, your 2015-16 Detroit Pistons kicked off their regular season in Atlanta with a 106-94 win against the Hawks.
At one point, the Pistons led by as many as 19, but a Hawks comeback in the 4th made this game a close one till the end. I really can't tell you how many flashbacks I had during the 4th. I was a few seconds away from curling up in a ball on my couch and murmuring "John Kuester" over and over. But we held on! We didn't collapse. We didn't collapse!
This game had all of the positive signs you'd want to see as a Pistons fan. The new additions Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova got involved early. Reggie's ball movement and dribble penetration kept the offense flowing. Andre Drummond was pulling down boards and slamming world ending dunks on Hawks players. But let's talk about the night Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had.
The Atlanta native looked right at home, hitting four threes and totaling 21 points in the season opener. His perimeter defense was also key as he was effective in keeping Kyle Korver off of the three point line. Caldwell-Pope's defensive efforts resulted in one of the best three point shooters in the league managing to only connect once from deep.
But man his threes. These were floating water balloons of goodness, splashing the net for the good guys. I hope Korver has a good optometrist because that third quarter three in his eye might have damaged his vision for good.
As mentioned, Morris was also a standout, contributing a double-double with 18 points, four assists, and 10 rebounds. His early outside shooting helped the Pistons jump out to an early lead, and he was also crucial in helping Andre Drummond and the Pistons clean the glass
What's that? You want to talk about the Piston's bench in the second quarter? Do I have to?
Yes, when Reggie Jackson and Drummond sat, the Hawks went on a 14-0 run. Yes, Steve Blake threw some ill-advised passes for three turnovers. Yes, Stanley Johnson looked like he had a case of the jitters in his first regular season NBA game. It was pretty bad. Stanimal calmed down though, hitting a contested corner three for his first points in the NBA, and finishing the night with a seven points on three of ten shooting.
The Hawks hung around for most of the night, but not with their usual three-point shooting. Instead, the Hawks were able to stick around because they were getting a ton of easy buckets, including 42 points in the paint.
Up next, the Pistons return to Detroit for their home opener against the Utah Jazz tomorrow night. Now, who's tailgate has room for one more?