This is the beginning of something special.
I’m still so excited and amazed that it’s hard to articulate my thoughts about what we just witnessed.
The Detroit Pistons just won a game that they never should have won.
They beat the Portland Trailblazers by 17 points after trailing in double digits throughout most of the game.
So where do I begin?
With Andre Drummond’s 29 point, 27 rebound game? His third 20/20 game in the past four?
With the Pistons 41-11 final quarter over the Blazers?
With Reggie Jackson scoring 26 points in the 4th quarter… and a career-high 40 on the night?
With the Pistons winning their 5th game of the season in six tries? After starting last season 5-23?
Okay… here’s what we saw tonight: The Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson Show.
Allow me to quote myself from back in October:
"The even shorter version of why the Pistons will be much better than people expect is that Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond are not only better than everyone thinks, but when paired together blow their reputations out of the water. When paired together and surrounded by the right pieces, they could be All-Stars."
It's happening. Right now.
Sunday night's game against the Blazers was the kind we used to turn off at halftime. After all, it was late… the Blazers couldn’t miss… the Pistons looked flat… and they hadn’t won in Portland since the Nixon Administration (or something).
But I, and many of you, stuck it out. And we were rewarded justly.
Make no mistake, Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond are stars. All-Stars. Superstars.
That stretch we saw at the end of last year? The one that saw Reggie put up this line when Greg Monroe was injured?
49.4% FG, 41.7% 3PT, 5.7 REB, 10.8 AST, 20.9 PTS (57.7% TS)
Not a fluke.
Jackson is now averaging 23.2 PTS and 5.7 AST on 45.5% FG and 45.5% 3PT for 54.5% TS through six games (and I'm sure those assist numbers will improve).
That stretch we saw at the end of last year? The one that saw Andre put up 18.9 PTS and 16.5 REB when playing alongside Anthony Tolliver?
Not a fluke.
Andre Drummond is in his own league. He’s a Superstar with a capital "S." He’s averaging 20.3 and 20.3 through six games.
ESPN via Elias: "Andre Drummond has had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in half of the Pistons' first 6 games. The last two players with that many 20-20 games within a team's first 6 games of a season are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain (via Elias)."
Let that sink in. Soak it up.
Back to Reggie Jackson. Wow. Can you recall a quarter as dominant by a Piston since Isiah Thomas put up 30 on a bad ankle in the 1988 NBA Finals?
This is why the Pistons are for real. Because as much as it frustrates die-hard fans to see the turnovers, missed free throws and clunky offense early in the season, Reggie and Andre are a dynamic duo. When they turn it on, even a team that’s shooting 65% through three quarters is no match for them.
The Pistons have now beaten five winning (+.500) teams. Three of them on the road.
In spite of all the Kool-Aid, I’m still shocked by the Pistons' learning curve. They’re learning on the fly. While winning.
At times, it’s ugly. At times, it’s frustrating. But at times, like Sunday night, it’s fascinating.
I just read that the Pistons' 30-point advantage in the 4th quarter is the most in a game since 1980, and is tied for 3rd largest since the 1951-52 season.
Be excited. Be very excited.
The Pistons boast at least one, and possibly two, Superstar players.
After watching the Portland Trailblazers shoot the lights out for three quarters, the Pistons shifted into another gear. When the Pistons were at their best, Portland looked like a JV team.
That 4th quarter was simply jaw-dropping.
Andre Drummond pulled down every rebound. Reggie Jackson scored every time he touched the ball. The Pistons got all the turnovers. They won all the loose balls.
It was incredible. Majestic. Unbelievable. Dominant. (insert superlative here)
Stan Van Gundy was seen smiling and laughing on the sideline in the final minute.
While they may not bring down the Golden State Warriors on the second night of an emotional back-to-back (on the road), they’ve already shown us enough on this Western Conference trip.
This team is special.
The best part? Their very best players haven’t even hit their prime yet.
Keep reminding yourself of that.
Andre Drummond is doing this at the ripe old age of 22. Reggie Jackson is 25. KCP is 22, and improving. The Pistons have no core players over 30. They’re still learning to play with each other. They haven’t even hit their groove yet. The best is yet to come.
And Brandon Jennings is coming back soon...