The Detroit Pistons survived Monday night’s game against the Utah Jazz by the skin of their teeth. It took some Reggie Jackson late-game heroics to save the Pistons from the Hood-barrage in the fourth quarter. The Pistons let the Jazz hang around, and hang around they did. The lead would balloon to 13 points, then shrink back down to six, this must have happened five or six times in the second half. It appeared that the Jazz were just waiting for the Pistons to take control of this game, and stretch the lead to 20-plus, but that did not happen.
The Jazz reminded me of a pet dog hanging out in the room where the video games were being played (I’m talking the classics here, specifically N64); you knew that if he stayed in the room, he might step over the chords and ruin the whole game, but you let him be, you let him hang around. Then as soon as you’re hitting the final stretch of a Mario Kart race, it happens. He trudges through your controller chords, and effectively ruins all those good feels you had while leading in the first, second and final lap.
Luckily for the Pistons, the combined fourth quarter of Jackson and Anthony Tolliver saved the Pistons from such a tragedy. But who didn’t see that comeback coming? We’ve seen the Pistons allow teams to hang on countless of times this season. At least this time they got the W, winning 95-92 and finishing 2-2 out west.
Drummond vs. Gobert
I was STOKED for this match-up, expecting a true battle for the ages down low, with two monsters waging war in the paint. Blocked shots, dunks, hard fouls, banging on the block, I wanted it all! Unfortunately for me, only one of these two players were prepared for the game.
It’s safe to say that Andre Drummond did not play his best game of the season. In fact, it was easily one of his worst games of the year. Drummond frankly seemed out of it, missing on early conversions that affected his play throughout the rest of the contest. He took it personal when Gobert outrebounded him, or had an easy dunk, but he didn’t take it personal in the Michael Jordan sense. His game faded, he looked distracted and was obviously irritated. I don’t want to say that Drummond was intimidated, because he was also getting physical with Gobert, and barely missed a highlight worthy throwdown right on top of Rudy, but Monday night was not his night.
One of the most telling numbers from last night was zero. Andre Drummond recorded ZERO offensive rebounds, and only managed to snatch six defensive rebounds. He finished with a stat-line of 7 pts, 6 reb, 0 ast, 0 stl, 2 blk, shot 33% FG, 1-10 from the free throw line, in 29 minutes of play.
On the flipside, Rudy Gobert had himself a game. I always knew Gobert was a big guy, but I must have questionable memory (thank you Central Michigan University Beer Die League), because I don’t remember him looking like the absolute monster he was last night when the Pistons played the Jazz in the second game of the season.
Gobert was physically dominant on offense and was an absolute menace on the defensive side of the ball. When Gobert goes to throw down a two-handed jam, everyone should RUUUNNNN! The Frenchman provided plenty of brutal dunks. This round goes to Gobert, which is fine, since a tasty win trumps any single player big game. With that being said, Gobert deserves some props, as he finished with an impressive 17 points, 17 rebounds, while shooting 7-10 from the floor, and 3-4 from the charity stripe.
The Fourth Quarter
This is when the magic happened, both for and against the Pistons. It started with an onslaught of threes from Rodney Hood, who was looking like he was about to firmly take over the game, leading to an eventual Jazz win. He opened up the quarter hitting the first 11 points for the Jazz. Not to be outdone, Anthony Tolliver answered with some threes of his own. Tolliver would finish the game with 12 points, nine of which came from beyond the 3-point line in the fourth quarter.
After Hood-mageddon was over, the Pistons still found themselves with a nine-point lead, so I was feeling good, albeit nervous, that the game would end comfortably. Then it happened, the thing where the other team starts scoring more points than your team. It wasn’t necessarily a huge run (the largest run the Jazz went on was seven points in the fourth), but for every one basket the Pistons made, the Jazz made two, slashing the Pistons lead to one measly point with 2:00 left.
Then it was Reggie Jackson time. After KCP hit a bunny to put the lead to three, Reggie iced the game with a CLUTCH three-pointer, and hammered the nail in the coffin from the free-throw line. Jackson ended last night with 29 points, shooting 63 percent, and 3-4 from deep. The Jazz would miss the game-tying three point attempt, while I sat in a corner, crying, having flashbacks to Grizzly game winners, and the Pistons walked out with the win.
Cheers to you, Reggie… and, cheers to you too, Anthony.