The Detroit Pistons returned to their bad habit of poorly starting to games as they came back from southeast trip to host Houston Rockets. Relying on their veterans, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker, the Rockets build a double digit lead before half point of the first quarter. Pistons tried to cut the lead with their bench unit, but another Houston’s surge hoisted the lead to 20 points (43-23) in first minutes of the second frame.
Owing to Josh Jackson’s activity in scoring and dishing, Motown started trimming the distance. Rockets tried to resist, but Delon Wright, playing an awakening game, took it into his hands and suddenly the lead was diminished to single digits. The result stood 55-47 for the visiting team at half.
The game went back and forth in first minutes after the break, until Blake Griffin commandeered a decisive attack on Rockets’ lead with three pointer with 6:24 left in the third. Jerami Grant chipped in with two triples, Wayne Ellington with one and Derrick Rose with a deuce somewhere in between and the Pistons took the first lead with 3:21 to be still played in that quarter. The lead grow to six points as it come to the end.
In the last frame the teams exchanged punches as the Rockets finally regain the lead and increased it, first, to two possessions distance, and then, to eight points (95-87) with less than six minutes left in the game. But the Pistons weren’t about to let the game slip like this. In the final minutes, Josh made a three, Jerami scored seven points (with “count that triple and a foul!” among them) and Blake added five (topped by this good old Blake pullup triple) and the result was 103-102 with :29.9 to play.
Great defensive possession with Grant and Griffin playing the main roles, and the home team give itself a chance to win.
The last play was an evidence of two things. First, that it’s a passing of a torch. Second, that Blake Griffin is a great leader, a leader who contributes to the transformation of Jerami Grant from a role player into a borderline All-Star player in less than a month. Blake knows how to win games in last play.
But this time he helped Jerami to make exactly the same play.
It didn’t count this time. It doesn’t have to at the moment. In fact, it’s even better now that it didn’t. But as I said elsewhere, it’ll pay dividends and will count in the future. Thus, the Pistons added another bright passages to their supposedly lost season. Man, those are mounting as fast as the loses… which should amount into something bright as well when the season will be done.
But enough of this good news.
As I warned, Jerami still shouldn’t settle on midrange jumpers. He started with a couple of misses on them and couldn’t find a rhythm until late in the game. 4/15 from the field and three turnovers looks ugly. Only a career night at the free throw line (13 trips there) allowed him to get to 21 points and lead all scorers.
Josh Jackson still can’t find his form from pre-injury. He keeps missing shots, and turns the ball over. However, this time he at least didn’t take any ill-advised shots.
Sekou and Saddiq apparently are still hit by the rookie wall (Sekou for the second year in a row). On the other hand their recent struggles might mean that they are working very hard on those late night sessions Dwane Casey is putting them through.
Derrick Rose seemingly was hit by a veteran wall. But after three good games prior, we can take it. Some rest – like on tonight’s SEGABABA – could fix it.
And… well that’s about it with bad news. Hmmm, having so few bad news to report may as well be counted as a good news.
So maybe I’ll back to the good news. Isaiah Stewart doesn’t care about rookie walls. He’s building his own wall around his spot in the rotation. Seven points, 10 boards and two swipes added another solid portion of bricks to the wall. And Wayne Ellington is becoming one of the best candidates to lure contenders at the trade deadline.
So all in all we need to admit that as for a losing year we have lot of fun with our Pistons this season. Last time I remember something like this was the 00/01 season. Three years later Detroit won it all. I don’t know about you, but, just in case, I’ve got my timer set.