The Detroit Pistons were able to hold off the pesky Brooklyn Nets 115-106 for the teams’ fifth consecutive win since trading for Blake Griffin.
The Pistons were led by an NBA season-high 27 rebounds and 17 points from Andre Drummond, 25 points including some fourth-quarter heroics from Griffin and an all-around great game from Stanley Johnson (19 points).
Detroit needed that trio to shine as the Nets, through hustle, crisp execution and a bevy of 3-point shooters, were able to hang around the game all night until the final minutes.
The Pistons built up several double-digit leads throughout the night but every time they did instead of truly pulling away the Nets would run a great play to find some wide-open looks and bury a 3-pointer.
Nobody was more effective than noted Pistons killer Allen Crabbe who netted 34 points and 6 treys. Nineteen of those points and four of those 3-pointers came in the fourth quarter.
Luckily, the Pistons had someone to turn to in the fourth quarter themselves — Blake Griffin. Maybe you’ve heard of him?
He scored 11 points in the final frame on 5-of-6 shooting and added two assists. After some relatively passive play from Griffin through three quarters, he really exerted his will in the fourth.
He posted up several Nets and was able to use superior positioning and quickness to sink quality looks. He also had an absolutely ridiculous 3-pointer after rocking his defender back and forth with some ball handling that delighted the (sparse) crowd at Little Caesars Arena.
Drummond struggled offensively tonight, except, ironically, at the free-throw line where he was 7-of-10. He towered over the smaller Nets, who eventually turned to Timofey Mozgov in an effort to match up.
Poor Jahlil Okafor was -18 in just 8:47 of game action. Former Michigan star Nik Stauskas also struggled, going 0-for-6 in 11 minutes.
Johnson continued his strong play for the Pistons with increasing confidence in his offensive game and a desire to get into the lane for quality looks at the rim.
With each passing game, Johnson looks more comfortable with the ball in his hand and he’s getting crafty about how to use his size and strength to create the separation needed to hit near the basket.
He’ll never be an explosive dunker or much of a dunker at all. But he’s strong enough and smart enough to make shots with a below-the-rim game.
The Pistons have now won all five games since trading Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley and Boban Marjanovic for Blake Griffin. Their next contest is their first against a truly quality opponent since the trade -- going against Blake’s old team the Clippers on Friday.