The Detroit Pistons survived a scare from a depleted Brooklyn Nets team to secure a 103-100 opening night win at Little Caesars Arena.
The Pistons were led by Blake Griffin with 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Andre Drummond added 24 points, 20 rebounds and was 1-of-3 from the 3-point line. That’s right. Andre Drummond hit an open three at the top of the key with plenty of time on the shot clock. Welcome to the Dwane Casey era.
Detroit walks away with the win but there is plenty to be concerned about. Brooklyn scored 66 points in the paint, mainly from guards who had easy drives to the lane and little resistance from Detroit big men.
Caris LeVert was getting into the lane at will and had a career-high 27 points. Former Piston Spencer Dinwiddie added 23 of his own and was able to abuse Drummond in the second half as Dre was afraid to pick up a fifth and eventually sixth foul.
A lot of bad habits showed up in the first game under Dwane Casey’s stewardship, and I’ll be curious how he reacts. He isn’t one to call the players out in the media but there were only 24 3-point attempts, very little ball movement and plenty of mid-range jumpers.
Casey didn’t help matters with some bizarre lineup choices as he assesses the talents of his roster. With Stanley Johnson and Reggie Bullock out, Casey started second-round pick Bruce Brown (who did not play well) and even found 3:45 for two-way player Zach Lofton.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Reggie Jackson. He played reasonably well through three quarters. Then the fourth quarter happened and all the worst qualities of Reggie came out.
Hero ball. Possessions with zero passes. Dancing around the perimeter pounding the air out of the ball doing absolutely nothing. A number of times he waved away Griffin when he called for the ball instead of setting a screen.
Jackson almost gave the game away with the Pistons up 101-100 with the ball and 52 second to go. Jackson danced around the perimeter until there was almost no time left on the shot clock and then hoisted the most ridiculous step-back jumper I’ve ever seen. it got no rim and it was a shot clock violation.
Luckily, Drummond saved some of his most solid defense for the ensuing possession when he was able to distrupt a Jarrett Allen drive to the rim and force a miss. After another terrible Pistons possession (and shot clock violation), Drummond was able to stay disciplined and cut off a LeVert drive to the rim with a chance to take the lead. When LeVert was forced to pivot, Langston Galloway stole the ball and Detroit sealed the victory.
The other interesting thing to note was after the buzzer sounded and Detroit Basketball rang through LCA, Griffin got into the face of Glenn Robinson III for not executing the game plan.
With the Pistons up 3 the plan was to foul immediately and not give them a chance to tie. Robinson didn’t listen and allowed Joe Harris to put up a contested 3. It didn’t go in but Blake was having none of it.
It was a poor decision and didn’t follow the just-discussed game plan. Leaders lead, and that includes getting in the face of teammates when they screw up.
Detroit is on pace to go 82-0. End recap.