The Detroit Pistons defeated the Orlando Magic 103-96 behind a stellar performance from Andre Drummond backed up by great bench play. Andre had 23 points, 19 rebounds, three steals, and one... buzzer-beating three pointer?
It was apparently that kind of night in Orlando.
Oh yeah, the bench: Langston Galloway had 12 points (four-of-eight from three, his only shots) in 26 minutes. Stanley Johnson had 13 points (three-of-six from three?!?!), six rebounds, three assists, one steal, and multiple defensive plays that don’t show up in the box score in 22 minutes. Jose Calderon was... present, and +13!
The entire game was the starters starting the first and third quarters slowly, the bench guys clawing back in the same quarters, and then building a lead the starters couldn’t blow in the second and fourth quarters. Seriously - Orlando scored 60 of their 96 points in the first and third quarters, most of that in big runs against the starting lineup.
I am a believer in the long-term viability of a starting lineup that plays Reggie Bullock and Glenn Robinson III on the wings, but Bullock’s current inability to hit anything (oh-for-six in his return from an ankle injury), GRIII’s issues defending on the wing (Evan Fournier: 27 points on 12-19 shooting) and persistent turnover problems (Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, and Andre Drummond combined for 10 of the Pistons’ 19 turnovers) are not the foundation for success. And the Pistons will not find success against teams better than the Orlando Magic if they play this way.
But they WILL find success if the bench continues to attack, move the ball, and find open shooters like so:
Eventually the Pistons will find a balance. For now, I’m just happy they found a win.
Detroit will play the Atlanta Hawks on Friday at 7:30.