Wow, what a game. What a fun, ridiculous game.
It looked like the Pistons were set to coast down the stretch. They owned a 19 point lead early in the fourth quarter, they had the Hornets star Kemba Walker contained. It was good vibes.
But then Kemba took over. He scored 30(!!) second-half points and single handedly pulled his team back into the game.
He brought the Hornets to two points down with just 42 seconds remaining. And that was just the start of the shenanigans.
Reggie Jackson answered with a clutch jumper at the free throw line to put the Pistons lead back to four points with 26 seconds to go. But Walker immediately responded with a layup. The Pistons were able to get the ball past halfcourt despite strong pressure from Charlotte, where the Hornets fouled Jackson with 13 seconds remaining.
The ball might have not lied preemptively for Jackson, as he missed his first free throw. For the 86 percent free throw shooter, that miss would loom large despite the game seeming to be in Hail Mary territory for the Hornets. But Spencer Hawes knocked down the three point shot off a drive by Marco Belinelli to tie the game up with eight seconds remaining.
Which is where that BDL came in for Jackson. Reggie took on Kemba Walker for the game winner, but Walker got called for a foul with under two seconds remaining to put Jackson to the line. Walker’s defense was tough and physical, but it was a stretch of a call from a group of officials who left far too visible of a fingerprint on the game throughout. And it was something of a shame, coming from a guy who really put it all on the court for Charlotte.
Still, we’ll take it.
Jackson knocked both free throws down and a timeout from Charlotte gave them the inbounds from the sidelines. A Reggie Jackson tip on the inbound pass knocked the time from 1.9 seconds remaining for Charlotte down to .5 seconds.
In a game already flirting with DEFCON 5 ridiculousness, Marco Belinelli threatened to throw things over the top. He tossed the ball off Marcus Morris’ back and casually banked home the three point shot. The refs waived off the shot and video replay quickly confirmed.
And we all take a nice long drink.
But hell, let’s get to the important part. While the tight finish was exciting, that’s not what will be memorable about this game. This was The Boban Game.
Boban Marjanovic had his chance to get in the game early thanks to foul trouble for both Andre Drummond and Jon Leuer.
Boban was absolutely dominant from the moment he entered the game, using his 7’3 frame to grab offensive rebounds. It looked like kiddos playing ball with their dad, hanging on his arms and forcing the trips to the line. He made it to the double-double mark before he made it to 10 minutes, flashing how he accumulated such gaudy per minute numbers last season. He had eight free throws in just the first quarter.
He was also part of a crucial 21-6 run that closed out the third quarter, which looked to put the Pistons in control heading into the fourth. Boban finished with 15 points on 3-4 shooting from the field and 8-9 from the line (that’s 85 percent true shooting percentage, in case you were interested), 19 rebounds including nine offensive boards, and a block.
After two straight games coming out flat in the first quarter, the Pistons flipped the script tonight by dropping 37 first quarter points.
It was also one of the best games of the season for Reggie Jackson since his return from injury. He was active defensively and managed to effectively balance his scoring and distribution responsibilities. He finished with 22 points on 7-15 shooting, 11 assists, and just one turnover.
Tobias Harris continues to be amazing off the bench, scoring 25 points on 10-16 from the field.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope left the game in the third quarter after a collision on a screen from Marvin Williams. After heading to the locker room, he was able to start the fourth quarter.
It was a much needed win for Detroit as they head west for an extended road trip. They’ll play five straight games on the road, starting with the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.
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