After trailing by double digits for most of the game, the Pistons made a big comeback against the Trail Blazers. Unlike Sunday against the Celtics, they were able to close this one out.
The Pistons trailed by 11 with two minutes left in the third quarter with the Detroit bench went to work - led by Marcus Morris, the lone representative of the starting unit on the court. They closed the gap to four points by the end of the period, and kept the run going to open the fourth. By the time they slowed down, it was a 17-4 run and the Pistons had the lead.
Defense led the comeback, with the Pistons everywhere forcing turnovers and blocked shots which created transition opportunities. It also helped that Morris couldn’t miss. It looked like they might coast to the win, getting an eight point lead with under five minutes remaining and all of the momentum firmly in their favor.
But the Blazer defense clamped down and Portland followed the Pistons route to create a spurt of their own. Now it was their defense creating good looks the Blazers as they made an 11-1 run in the stretch.
That gave Portland a two point lead inside the final two minutes before another big shot from Morris stopped the bleeding. Another stop created another transition opportunity and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a huge jumper in transition to give the Pistons the lead with a minute left.
Tough defense carried the way down the final minute until KCP gifted the Blazers with a technical foul with 10 seconds remaining. Up two with a two point lead and 10 seconds left, that’s not what you want to see. But I guess the ball didn’t lie, Lillard missed the free throw. But he got to the rim for an easy layup to tie the ballgame with two seconds left.
Morris missed the jumper, overtime again.
But in overtime, Morris didn’t do too much missing. He put the team on his back on the offensive end while the defense allowed just four points in OT.
It was a career high scoring for Morris with 37 points on 13-23 shooting, including 8-9 from the free throw line. He also chipped in eight rebounds and 6 assists, with no turnovers. Not to mention some understated yet terrific defense. That stop I mentioned between Morris’ big jumper to stop the Blazer run and KCP’s transition jumper - it from Marcus Morris challenging the 7’0, 280 pound Jusuf Nurkic at the rim, maintaining great verticality, and drawing the offensive foul.
The team continues to thrive with Ish Smith on the court - not a swipe at Reggie Jackson, who indeed wasn’t great, but Smith has just played excellent in his own right. Namely on the defensive end where he had seven steals and a block, but he also did a great job managing the offense with 12 points and seven assists.
KCP and Andre Drummond each had solid games. Caldwell-Pope had 16 points on 12 shots and three steals while Drummond posted 19 points and 15 rebounds.
With the Pistons fighting to hold off the red hot Miami Heat and looking to work their way up the Eastern Conference standings, it was a big win for Detroit. They’ll tip off in New Orleans tomorrow night where the Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are still looking for their first win as a combo. Hopefully they had too much fun on Fat Tuesday.
|1||The Notorious S.V.G||75|
|28||The Better Morris Twin||4|
|40||KCP for three and it's through||2|
|45||OK from J||1|