THAT is a big win for your Detroit Pistons.
Down the top three point guards on the roster, on the second half of a back-to-back, the Pistons gutted out a 113-109 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. Andre Drummond had 25 points, 20 rebounds, six assists, five (!) blocks, and three steals for Detroit - including the game-clinching rebound and free throws. New starting point guard Bruce Brown scored a career-high 22 points, and added seven assists, ZERO turnovers, and some excellent defense.
Let’s not short-change Luke Kennard, either - Luke scored 24 points, including a coast-to-coast righty floater and two clutch free throws late.
The thing that impressed me the most was the way the Pistons defended in the second half. The Nets, coming in, were tops in the league in team three-point percentage at 41.9%. The Pistons held them to 10-32 (32.3%) from three, including 0-6 from Kyrie Irving and 0-3 from Caris LeVert. After only scoring 13 points in the second quarter, the Pistons clamped down, held the Nets to 18 points in the third quarter, and in doing so, grabbed a lead they would never relinquish.
Defense has been an issue for this team - they just gave up 125 points earlier this week to Toronto - and one that’s less easily explained by the absence of Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson. If the defense holds like this every night, chasing shooters off the line, limiting damage in transition, and forcing teams to take tough shots, the scoring will take care of itself.
Feeding that defense was the lack of turnovers by Detroit. I’ve talked about it, y’all have talked about it, the live-ball turnovers lead to demoralizing transition opportunities, easy points the Pistons can’t afford to cede. As mentioned, Bruce Brown, pressed into a starting role, didn’t turn the ball over at ALL. It was literally a running joke earlier this week that Bruce had more turnovers than made field goals this season. For him to step up and take care of the ball like that really stood out to me.
But this game was dominated for 39 minutes by Andre Drummond, who was everywhere:
Andre Drummond goes for 25 points, 20 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks, 3 steals… the FIRST player since 1973-74 to do that— Austin Drake (@austin_drake) November 3, 2019
A seal-off rebound there, a deflection here, clearing the runway for Bruce Brown to attack the basket, dropping off passes on nice backdoor cuts early on, making both of the game-sealing free throws... We are thoroughly experiencing the full splendor that is Contract-Year Dre.
The beat guys are intimating Blake could be back soon. The Pistons are 3-4, staying afloat, without him. Despite the unfortunate Reggie Jackson news we got pregame, this team is doing what it has to do to position itself for Blake’s return.
Gimme them Zebras.