The Detroit Pistons opened their preseason with a 115-112 loss to the Indiana Pacers, but wins and losses aren't important in the preseason. While the Pistons clearly looked like a team that has some searching to do for an identity on defense, there were glimpses of brilliance, particularly from its potential stars -- Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and, yes, rookie Stanley Johnson. Those three combined for 64 points on 22-of-36 shooting, and they did it without their $80 million point guard Reggie Jackson, who sat out with a sore achilles.
The Pacers' proven all-star shined brightest, though.
A night after saying he doesn't know if he's cut out for power forward, Paul 'stretch-four' George came out ablaze and put up 20 points in the first quarter, knocking down four triples along the way. The Pistons threw four different looks at him throughout the quarter, but it didn't matter; George kept getting buckets. He finished with 32 points in 24 minutes.
Most Improvious Caldwell-Pope did his best to keep up with George in the first with 11 points, which included back-to-back threes in response to a pair of George treys late in the frame. KC3 continued his hot shooting into the third quarter, finishing the game with 22 points on nine shots (6-7 from three).
The Pistons played an extremely sloppy second quarter, turning the ball over eight times, but kept pace (pun intended!) thanks to a strong overall showing from their rookie Stanimal Johnson. After hitting his first bucket in a Pistons uni, a three-pointer, late in the first quarter, Johnson scored eight in the second to go with a couple steals and a pair of rebounds. He also manned the point guard spot some throughout the game to spell the struggling Spencer Dinwiddie .
It was Johnson's own back-to-back threes in the third quarter that put the Pistons up 76-72, a lead they would keep until almost the mid-way point in the fourth quarter.
While it looked like the Pistons may have pulled away with their starters, Caldwell-Pope and Drummond did not see the floor for the final 16 minutes, leaving it up to a mix of Johnson, Jodie Meeks, Ersan Ilyasova, Anthony Tolliver, Reggie Bullock, Joel Anthony and Dinwiddie to close it out. This group did not do well against the Pacers' lesser bench players, and they were outscored 18-10 in the final six minutes of the game.
Dinwiddie looked awful in what was a great opportunity for him to show his worth being the lone healthy point guard. He fouled out in the final seconds with only four points on 1-for-6 shooting, four assists and three turnovers. Dinwiddie's showing might be the saddest part of the loss full of other silver linings.
* Drummond finished with 16 points on 7-10 shooting, nine rebounds, three assists and a block in 29 minutes.
* Jodie Meeks looked like the spark plug he could be with 15 points on 50-percent shooting.
* Ersan Ilyasova and Marcus Morris had some good spots, but didn't look good overall.
* Stanley highlights: