The Detroit Pistons were coming off a tough 111-108 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. A trip home to the Palace, the debut of Brandon Jennings, and the first Motor City Sunday of the season were something the Pistons needed.
In the first quarter, sporting the new “Motor City” alternate jerseys, Detroit played bully ball against the Celtics. Andre Drummond had three dunks in the first three minutes, Greg Monroe was getting easy layups, and Josh Smith had some nifty passes to the big men. Detroit scored their first 12 points in the paint before Chauncey Billups knocked down a jumper to end that streak.
Jennings checked in for Will Bynum with 5:39 to play in the first quarter and scored his first Pistons bucket after Drummond stripped Gerald Wallace. Jennings sped up court, faked out Boston’s Vitor Faverani, and layed it up and in. The Palace crowd was on its feet. The Pistons led 24-21 after one with 22 of those points coming in the paint.
In the second quarter, Jennings and Rodney Stuckey helped the Pistons extend the lead to 33-28. Later, Drummond and Smith extended it to 43-30 on some buckets inside. Detroit native Jordan Crawford and Wallace brought Boston within 43-35, but Jennings knocked down a jumper to give the Pistons a 45-35 lead at the half. 34 of those 45 points came in the paint as Smith, Monroe, and Drummond were just too much for the smaller Celtics.
The third quarter started with a Billups 3-pointer, a Monroe layup, a Bynum jumper, and a Monroe hook shot to put Detroit up 54-39. However, shades of the old Pistons started to rear its head. Detroit started turning the ball over and getting sloppy as the Celtics started working their way back in it.
Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, and rookie Kelly Olynyk brought the Celtics within 63-58 after three quarters. The Pistons turned the ball over nine times in the third quarter.
In the fourth, Boston continued their flurry. Crawford hit a jumper, Bradley knocked down a 3, and Jared Sullinger knocked down some free throws and Boston all of a sudden had a 65-63 lead.
Jennings then started making plays. He had a layup to tie the game, he found Kyle Singler for an And-1, and he had a steal and was clear path fouled by Brandon Bass. Next defensive possession, Jennings had another steal and he knocked down a triple. He single-handedly restored order and out the Pistons back on top 73-65. Smith and Drummond added layups for a 77-67 lead, but Boston wasn’t done.
Olynyk had a put-back dunk, Bass had a jumper, and Bradley had a jumper to bring Boston within 79-77 with 2:14 to play. After a Jennings turnover, Jennings stripped Courtney Lee and found a streaking Stuckey. Stuckey was fouled hard by Lee and was down on the court for a little bit holding his right shoulder. However, he got up and knocked down both free throws to put Detroit back up 81-77 with 1:39 to play.
Detroit then forced two Celtics turnovers, Singler hit some free throws followed by a Smith layup and then Jennings iced it with free throws. The Pistons ended the game on an 8-0 run to win 87-77.
The Pistons were led by the frontcourt of Smith, Monroe, and Drummond. They scored 15 points each and combined for 45 points, 29 rebounds, and seven blocks. Jennings had 14 points in his Pistons debut.
What’d I see tonight? I saw a team that still has some gelling to do. Remember this is a new team with new players and a new coaching staff. Jennings was playing his first game since the preseason opener against Maccabi Haifa. The 21 turnovers are alarming and the offense looked like it was out of sync at times. Also, 2/13 from deep isn’t going to cut it. Not with this team. Need more floor spacing. A little surprised that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope didn’t get any playing time in this one. The return of Jennings and Stuckey have bumped him from the rotation.
Also, the frontcourt looks like it could really make some noise. They played well in the OT loss to Memphis and the Grizzlies have arguably the best frontcourt in the league. Big test for them on Tuesday when the Indiana Pacers invade the Palace. See you guys on Tuesday. Until then, go Pistons!