The Detroit Pistons came from 21 points down to a 112-104 comeback win over the Chicago Bulls in one of the most fascinating games of the season. It’s the kind of game in which a struggling Pistons team typically folds. Tonight, the team dug deep and found a way to win.
It’s a different kind of Pistons team, who have now won
10 11 of their past 12 13 games.
It looked like a blowout early, with the Bulls hitting every shot and shooting 65 percent in a first half that saw the Pistons down as many as 21 points and a 17-point halftime deficit.
Blake Griffin played maybe the worst half of basketball of his season — sloppy passes, settling for jumpers and bad defense. Andre Drummond was struggling on offense because everyone on the floor was just standing around stagnant. Back were the poor post moves that Dre has mostly mothballed for the past month.
The only player who could do much of anything was Reggie Jackson, who had 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. But the Pistons were struggling to guard the paint and had no answer for the lengthy and sharpshooting Otto Porter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen, who had 16 and 14 points at the half, respectively.
Then Dwane Casey delivered what he called an X-rated speech at halftime. Whatever he said, his players listened.
The Bulls were struggling to hit shots thanks to some dialed-in Pistons defense, but the Pistons offense still was struggling to find any rhythm. Then Ish Smith entered the ballgame.
Smith played the final 15 minutes of the game, joined by Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway on the perimeter. Smith was able to push the pace and inject some life into a stagnant Detroit offense. Smith’s drives, and Kennard and Galloway’s ability to stretch the floor, created space for everyone to work. Galloway had 12 points in the second half; Kennard had nine.
Then there was Drummond. Fourteen points, 18 rebounds, two steals and one block... in the second half alone. He was an absolute monster on both ends of the floor to power the Pistons comeback.
Griffin, who went back the locker room briefly after tweaking his calf, came back and saw his teammates had cut the lead into single digits. Griffin was like a shark who smelled blood in the water.
The player who seemed beaten down and not focused in the first half locked in and put all the final nails in the coffin. Blake scored 16 points in the fourth quarter and had 27 points on the night. He hit perimeter shots, drove to the basket and hit an iso step-back jumper, sorta like Michael Jordan used to do in the United Center back in the day.
It was an amazing comeback victory for the Pistons. Detroit held the Bulls to 38 second-half points while scoring 63 of their own — including 43 in the final frame.
The Pistons are now two games above .500, trusting in each other and just playing some really good basketball. Detroit will next play Chicago again, this time at Little Caesars Arena, on Sunday.