The Pistons overcame a 39-point triple double from Nikola Jokic, a Derrick Rose injury and Andre Drummond fouling out in a thrilling 129-123 overtime win against the Denver Nuggets. They were able to break their five-game losing streak by getting contributions from, well, just about everyone.
In a microcosm of the entire night, Detroit sealed the victory on a Tony Snell lob to Thon Maker to put the Pistons up five with 16.5 seconds remaining. It was Snell’s sixth assist and Maker’s fourth point, all in overtime. Maker was only on the floor because Andre Drummond had fouled out after a dominating fourth quarter.
Drummond had 12 points, seven rebounds and a block on 5-of-6 shooting in the fourth quarter and 21 points and 17 rebounds for the game.
With Drummond leaving the floor, it seemed like Detroit, already depleted wouldn’t have the size or the firepower to keep Jokic and the Nuggets at bay.
Dwane Casey decided to go with Thon Maker instead of Christian Wood in place of Dre, even though Wood had a delivered a solid 11-point showing through three quarters to Maker’s zero.
Casey, it seemed, trusted Maker’s defense just a little more, and it paid off in a big way on both ends. Maker played sturdy enough defense but he also hit a baseline floater of a Reggie Jackson drive to put the Pistons up 118-113 and then bothered a Jokic turnaround hook shot and then slammed the aforemention lob.
Another big contributor for the Pistons was Bruce Brown, who had 19-points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. He hit all three of his 3-point attempts, including a critical one in overtime, and, perhaps most importantly, he had no turnovers.
He’s looking more and more comfortable as a lead ball handler, and he could be tapped to play that role more going forward as Rose didn’t play in the second half as he was experiencing some groin soreness.
There is no telling if he will miss time or if he’ll be traded by Thursday’s trade deadline. If Rose isn’t in the lineup for any reason, Brown has earned the right to play heavy point guard minutes.
Rookie Sekou Doumbouya also shone brightly in the first half scoring all 17 of his points on 6-of-9 shooting including a pair of 3-balls.
Reggie Jackson added 20 points and six assists, and really was able to focus the offense in overtime to help Detroit come away with the win.
For the Nuggets it was all about Jokic who did just about everything. He was the focal point of the offense all night with the ball constantly working through him. He was unstoppable on the offense end and helped open up easy looks for his teammates.
It was in stark contrast to the Pistons who had no offensive gravity once Rose went out. Instead everyone handled the ball, set screens, looked for cutters and exploded after loose balls.
It was a welcome jolt of energy at Little Caesars Arena tonight made all the better that young players like Doumbouya and Brown could deliver significant contributions to the win.