The Detroit Pistons came out flat and paid the price in doing so losing to the Sacramento Kings 101-92. Heading into the game, the Kings were overloaded with well publicized team and franchise drama which should've had the Pistons licking their chops. Instead the Pistons, although trending upwards, reminded everyone they are a young team with collectively little to no experience smelling blood and reacting accordingly. The win for the Kings ended an ugly six game losing streak and cemented the fact that the Pistons still have a lot to learn.
Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins was at the center of the controversy but ended up with his most productive game of the season finishing with 33 points, nine rebounds and connecting on 4 of 5 three-point attempts.
Cousins, who has a history of maturity issues, seemed to be fueled by the emotion of the day's events while his Piston counterpart Andre Drummond on the other hand played disinterested. The Kings jumped out to an early lead thanks in large part to the play of Cousins who had 23 points in the first half. Drummond totaled two first half points and was basically a non factor.
Everyone has been singing the praises of Andre Drummond's early season play and rightfully so. He's been a monster at both ends of the floor and has been the prime reason why Detroit is off to such a fantastic start to the season.
However, as the leader of this team, if your going to accept credit for the good stuff, the heat is going to come your way in defeat. That is a completely new scenario for Drummond to deal with and how he handles it will be telling.
Drummond finished with 14 points and 17 rebounds. On paper, that's a hell of a game. How many players in the league this year will have a 17 rebound game this year? A handful at most. Unfortunately, the game isn't played on paper. Maybe it's because he usually makes it look so easy but his entire production and stat line seemed empty. While Cousins stamp is all over this game, Drummond failed to make an impact.
How many times during the season will other franchise players net zero impact on an entire game? A handful at most.
At the end of the day, he's 22 and slack needs to be cut. This game and season is a learning experience and should be treated and viewed as such.
Sacramento owned a 19-point lead but for as lifeless as the Pistons played, they cut the lead to five with just under four minutes to play. That's as close as they would get as the Kings finished with big plays from Cousins and a heady Rajon Rondo.
Rondo is looking to redeem himself this year. Following a handful of injuries and an ugly divorce from the Dallas Mavericks, he was deemed a high risk, high reward free agent signing for the Kings.
You can put this game in the high reward category as Rondo finished with his 2nd triple double of the season totaling 14 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists playing the entire 48 minutes.
Look, the Pistons are a young team. We knew this and these types of games happen to young teams. It's easy to get up emotionally to play against the Golden State Warriors but that same mindset must be applied to the Sacramento Kings of the world. Good teams consistently beat bad teams, that's a lesson the Pistons are learning the hard way. Drummond faces another tough challenge Saturday against DeAndre Jordan and the rest of the Los Angeles Clippers, a team widely viewed as a contender.
How will he and the team respond?