The Detroit Pistons were coming off a loss to the Washington Wizards on Sunday where they couldn’t close the game out and ended up losing by a score of 91-89. They went into the early morning matchup with the Charlotte Hornets and made sure it wasn’t a close game this time. Let’s examine how the team did in the three things I wanted to look out for in the game.
1.) Closing out games
The Pistons made sure this game wasn’t close. They jumped out to a 26-13 lead after one quarter of play thanks to Andre Drummond having six points and seven rebounds in the first quarter alone. Drummond was a monster down low and he was wreaking havoc for the Hornets. The 2nd quarter was played to a 30-30 tie and then the Pistons put the game away when they outscored Charlotte 28-18 in the 3rd quarter to get a wire-to-wire victory, their largest lead at 27, and they won 104-84. That’s how you win a game.
2.) Brandon Jennings and his shot selection
Coming into today’s game, Jennings had shot 9/31 combined in the first three preseason games. It didn’t get much better today against the Hornets as he got off to an 0/6 start and finished 1/7 with two points, but he dished out nine assists. Jennings’ shot selection was better today as he was getting to the rim and the two 3’s he took were good looks, but they couldn’t drop for him. So through four preseason games, he’s shooting 10/38 good for 26% shooting. I love the nine assists though, I would rather have Jennings give me nine assists and have him have an off night shooting the basketball.
3.) The power forward battle
Today Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy decided to start the Josh Smith–Greg Monroe-Drummond frontline and it looked pretty good. Smith worked closer to the rim and only took two 3’s making one of them and finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Monroe had his room to work with and finalized with 13 points and six rebounds and Drummond was all over the floor and the boards finishing with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Smith, Monroe, and Drummond are the team’s top players. Last year they couldn’t co-exist, but if Van Gundy can make them play like this on a nightly basis then the Pistons can go somewhere.
Another bright spot was the play of Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome. Jerebko had 10 points and six rebounds and shot 2/4 from deep and has been pretty solid all preseason from shooting the ball from deep. Datome had nine points and he shot 4/6 from the field. If the Pistons can get contributions from Jerebko and Datome, Detroit can be that much better. It’s nice to have contributions from the lesser guys.