AUBURN HILLS, Michigan– The Detroit Pistons and the Charlotte Bobcats matched up at the Palace on Friday night looking to find any positives. Detroit would use a balanced attack to rout the Bobcats.
Brandon Knight started out on fire. Knight had eight of Detroit’s first 10 points. Kemba Walker put Charlotte up 14-10, but Rodney Stuckey, again starting for an injured Jose Calderon, had back-to-back alley-oop lobs to Andre Drummond to tie it at 14.
The Bobcats however were scoring at will. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was knocking down jump shots, Josh McRoberts was wrecking havoc on the inside, and nobody was stopping Walker. The Bobcats led 30-23 after one. Former Piston Ben Gordon started the 2nd with a triple to pit Charlotte up 33-23. The Pistons would get back in it behind their bench.
Will Bynum had a layup, Charlie Villanueva knocked down a triple off a Khris Middleton feed, and then Jonas Jerebko scored the next eight points for Detroit. He had a triple, then he flipped a layup over his head while being fouled by Gordon, then Bynum fed Jerebko for an alley-oop slam. Jerebko then tipped in a Bynum miss.
Villanueva knocked down another triple and Bynum fed Middleton for a jam. On the other end, Kim English’s defense frustrated Gordon. He blocked Gordon’s 3-point attempt, forced another Gordon miss, and forced a Gordon turnover.
Meanwhile, Charlotte couldn’t stop Jerebko. He had two straight jumpers. The he calmly knocked down a 3 before the buzzer sounded for a 59-53 Pistons lead at halftime. He had 17 points in the 2nd quarter.
Detroit started the 3rd with a flurry. Kyle Singler had a 3, Knight had a layup off a Stuckey assist, then Stuckey made a technical for his first point of the night, and Knight made two free throws for a 12 point lead. Singler had another 3 off a Greg Monroe feed and Drummond had slam. Stuckey found Singler on the break for a dunk
Drummond stripped Walker from behind and had a breakaway dunk, Bynum found Drummond for a layup, Drummond then had another dunk, and Stuckey closed out the quarter with a 3. Detroit led 87-73 after three.
The 4th quarter started with all five Pistons touching the ball and Middleton getting and hitting a wide open 3 for a 90-73 lead. The Pistons received a scare when Drummond rolled his ankle with 5:20 to go in the game. Pistons trainer Arnie Kander came running out onto the court to check on him. Drummond would walk off the court on his own power. Monroe came in for the rookie.
The lead grew to 113-91 as Jerebko had two more layups, English had a jumper, and Middleton had a layup on Bynum’s 10th assist. The Pistons went on to win their 3rd straight and 113-93.
Jerebko led the way with 21 points off the bench, Bynum had 15 and 10 assists, Knight had 19, and Drummond had 15 and nine rebounds.
My bright spot was the ball movement. The Pistons had 31 assists on 43 field goals. Stuckey had nine assists and Bynum had 10. Even Monroe had four from the power forward spot.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside in this 20 point win. Drummond rolling his ankle is a big scare. He’s the future face of the franchise. There’s only two games left. Just sit him out and make sure he’s 100% for next season. The official diagnosis was that he suffered a sprained ankle and is day-to-day.