Limited with foul trouble for much of the game, Andre Drummond made his way back in at the start of the fourth quarter with four fouls and the Pistons trailing by 9 points. He lasted only a minute and a half before picking up his fifth and heading to the bench.
The foul put the Pistons down by 12, and all eyes turned to the Final Four matchup between Wisconsin and Kentucky.
The bench had struggled all night with Drummond off the court, offering flashbacks to the Michael Curry days of Tayshaun Prince small ball and the Pistons overwhelmed in the paint. Any hope for a comeback pretty much went to rest with Drummond stuck on the bench.
Except Reggie Jackson. Jeez, Reggie Jackson.
The team treaded water until Drummond returned to the floor, but it was with 5 minutes to go and down by 15 points that Jackson completely took over. The Pistons finished on a furious 21-5 run, 17 of which were created by Jackson with either the bucket or assist.
Jackson even hit the game winner with 5 seconds to go, grabbing up a loose ball and finishing with a tough layup. Dwyane Wade missed his three point, and the Pistons matched their highest season win total since 2009.
By the time the dust cleared for Jackson, he finished with 29 points, 11 assists, and 3 rebounds. 15 of his points and 2 assists came in his dominant fourth quarter.
While the Pistons playoff chances are virtually nonexistent at this point, the loss was a tremendous blow for Miami. Marcus Smart hit a layup at the buzzer to put the Boston past Toronto in overtime, which moved the Celtics ahead of the Heat for the 8 spot in the East.
In the first quarter, it looked like Detroit was poised to get a little redemption against the Miami Heat from their win last Sunday. Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson looked like they had the Miami defense on a string, pulling a first quarter lead up to 8 points.
But like the first time around, after the Pistons took a bit of a lead Wade went to work. After just three first quarter points, Wade scored 13 in the second. Between Wade's dominance and Drummond running into foul trouble, Miami took control of the game.
It looked like the Heat's new big three of Wade, Hassan Whiteside, and Goran Dragic would let them coast to a win. Especially with the Detroit bench struggling and Drummond's foul trouble. And it would have, if not for Jackson's tremendous finish.
But Drummond's foul trouble was particularly unfortunate, because he spent most of the game as the team's most effective player while he was on the court. Drummond finished with 11 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks - and five fouls. Dre entered the game leading the league in personal fouls by a sizable margin, and will extend that lead with his performance tonight.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also deserves credit for bouncing back from a tough start to finish with 19 points and 3 steals. Anthony Tolliver also contributed 5 three pointers, and Caron Butler turned in 9 points on just three shots.
Pistons are down to just five games remaining in the season. We could be preparing for the return of the Moose, as Stan Van Gundy has mentioned the final five games as a possible time to get Greg Monroe back on the court as the Pistons get a few days off and a chance to practice.
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