The Detroit Pistons fall to 3-5 on the season after a complete beat down by the Washington Wizards in our nation’s capital, 115-99. The Wizards improve to 2-4 on the young season.
Over the final five and a half minutes of the first half, Detroit outscored Washington by 15 to draw within two. Let’s all do the math — that means Detroit was down 17 points prior to that. We could point to turnovers, lackadaisical perimeter and interior defense, and more turnovers, as reasons for Detroit’s first half troubles. We could also mention that all three point guards on Detroit’s roster are injured and that’s not a recipe for winning.
If it wasn’t for the offense of Andre Drummond, Christian Wood, and Luke Kennard, all of which led the charge and helped Detroit not let Washington run away in the first half, then this recap would have been a lot shorter.
Down only two at the break, it felt the Pistons were back in business and capable to winning this game after sleepwalking a good portion of it.
The third quarter was borderline abominable if you’re a Piston. The Wizards have some young pieces to work with in Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown, and they certainly had their moments in the quarter as the Wizards built another comfortable lead. However, the cause for concern was the Wizards energy compared to that of the Pistons. It was as if the Pistons only could muster six or eight minutes of passionate, smart basketball for the night. And it wasn’t like Detroit played a game the night before either.
In the third, when Detroit forgot to cover one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA in Davis Bertans — a guy who is in the league for one thing only: Shooting treys — you got the feeling this wasn’t a game Detroit was dialed in for. Not in the least.
Didn’t score his first point until 8:07 left in the second quarter. He finished with nine points in the half along with 11 rebounds and four assists. We saw wild play, but also some coast-to-coast finishes and dare I say competent point-center action. Sometimes it can go haywire, though sometimes it throws the defense off and works in Detroit’s favor, especially with Kennard or Snell rubbing off Andre for dribble hand offs or back door dishes. Andre would like to forget about this game, shooting 6-of-20 from the floor with four turnovers. Thomas Bryant gave Andre trouble, as did vaunted defensive specialist (said no one ever) Moe Wagner. It was just not a good night for Andre. He needs more help.
Six Wizards scored in double figures, led by Bradley Beal’s 22. Good buddy of the program Ish Smith came off the bench for the first time this season (Isaiah Thomas started) and pushed the tempo and made plays. In fact, the whole Wizards bench was effective tonight.
If you follow on Twitter one of our veteran writers, Justin Lambregtse, then you’ll know he’s not much of a Markieff fan, especially not tonight. Markieff flat out stinks right now. He’s not playing smart basketball. Anyway, if you don’t do the Twitter thing, just know that Justin does not want Markieff on his favorite basketball team. I’ll just say that Justin is far from being alone in that thinking.
Tony didn’t defend very well nor did he shoot it well either (even though nearly all of his shots are uncontested). And in his 34 minutes tonight, he grabbed one more rebound than you and I did.
Luke may have scored 25 points on just 12 shots — but you have to look at the defense he isn’t playing. His defense isn’t close to being worth 34 minutes of action. This is a problem. You have to play Luke because of his offensive skill set, so it’s just a must that you have to deal with his lack of lateral movement and length on the defensive side.
Bruce and Andre were the only Pistons starters to have a positive plus-minus in the first half. Bruce swatted a couple shots in the first and overall filled up the stat sheet. Bruce often times makes the right and simple pass and gets rewarded for it. He has good instinct for when to attack and for when to hold back. The kid just has to keep working. He can be a big time role player in this league — though it remains to be seen at what position.
It wasn’t all peaches and cream for Wood in the first half despite scoring 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. There were defensive miscues, not to mention giving away a free point on a technical for showing off (or yelling, take your pick) too much after a forceful dunk. Christian, man, act like you’ve dunked before.
Played a quietly decent game, and also ran the point as well.
Svi also played the point for a handful of possessions and looked like he wanted to defend. The results were mixed. He may not be turning any heads but he’s certainly not playing himself right back on the bench either (that is, until other guys are healthy again).
Detroit hosts the 1-6 New York Knicks on Wednesday.