The Pistons smelled blood. A rarity for this up-and-down Detroit squad, the Pistons pushed the accelerator and never looked back in a 136-106 trouncing of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Detroit, coming off a disappointing loss to the New Orleans Pelicans where they set an NBA record for futility at the charity stripe decided to instead try setting good kinds of records.
The Pistons had a season-high in points and notched 106 points after the third quarter, the first time that had happened since 1984. The 136 points were the most by Detroit in regulation since 2008. The Pistons had four players score at least 20 points. They shot 56 percent overall, 43 percent from 3 and 85 percent from the free-throw line.
For once, Detroit was playing a clearly inferior team and actually acted like it. There was no playing down to their opponent. They knew they could get anything they wanted and aggressively made it happen.
Aggressiveness was key for the Pistons, who forced Philly into tough shots and plenty of turnovers (19). Detroit was able to use those misses and turnovers and converted them into easy points. The Pistons had 33 fast break points and had 60 points in the paint.
Detroit was led by a scorching-hot Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 26 points on just 11 shots. After speculation he might come off the bench, Reggie Jackson started and had 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting including 3-of-4 from deep. Whether it was an aberration or if the threat of actually losing his starting gig woke Jackson up, the explosion was appreciated.
Smith was no slouch either, with 11 points, 13 assists and zero turnovers. Andre Drummond was bouncy on both ends of the floor. He stayed active and aggressive blocking three shots and goaltending three others. Yeah, you don’t want a goaltend, but, honestly, I’ll take it if it means maximum effort on both ends of the floor. He finished the night with 14 points, 14 rebounds and four steals.
The superlatives don’t stop there. Marcus Morris, a Philadelphia native who said he had about 65 family and friends in the arena, didn’t disappoint. He had a team-high +36 with 22 points and three blocks of his own.
There wasn’t much to cheer about for Philly’s quiet crowd. However, Dario Saric looked every bit the rookie-of-the-year he has been touted as. He was shooting well, cutting hard and finding good looks for teammates. He was on triple-double watch and probably would have gotten there if this one wasn’t a laugher. He finished with 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Not to be outdone, the redemption of Sauce Castillo continues. Michigan man Nik Stauskas had 24 points including four 3-pointers. Spicy.
The Pistons (30-32) have three big Central divsion games coming up. They play the Bulls at the Palace Monday, at Indiana on Wednesday and against the Cavs on Thursday.