Our fourth #MyPistons Weekly covers the last few games of 2017. What a difference a year makes, as the Pistons find themselves at 20-15 and in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture versus 15-20 last year at this time. The extra days off during the holiday season also allowed the Pistons to recover from injuries. Reggie Jackson will be out until late February, but Avery Bradley is poised to return this week.
Last Thursday the Pistons went down to Orlando to face the Magic for the second time this season. Although the Magic came into this game on a 9 game losing streak, their record is far more respectable at the Amway center than it is on the road. The Pistons stuck with the duo of Ish Smith and Luke Kennard starting in the backcourt. Ish did not disappoint with an 18 point, 7 rebound, and 5 assist performance. However, injuries have started to take their toll as the rotation is shortened and starters play heavier minutes. The bench only contributed 12 points on 3-22 shooting meaning that Drummond, Bullock, and Harris each had to play 36+ minutes in order to keep the game competitive. The Pistons simply ran out of gas down the stretch. Three consecutive 3 pointers by the Magic early in the 4th quarter turned a 4 point game into a double digit deficit that Detroit did not have the energy to overcome. Despite Andre Drummond’s 18 rebounds (9 offensive), Orlando beat Detroit on the glass 48-42 as they fell by a final score of 102-89.
Tobias – 21 points
Ish – 18 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists
Andre – 17 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists
Next up – the Spurs on Saturday pic.twitter.com/Nx07Elatw3
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) December 29, 2017
The Pistons came home to face the Spurs on Saturday. Stan Van Gundy put Anthony Tolliver in the starting lineup for the 4thtime this season to match up with the Spurs bigs LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol. This also allowed Luke Kennard to deliver some scoring punch off the bench. The moves paid dividends both early and late. Pistons jumped ahead by double digits in the 1st quarter outscoring San Antonio 24-13. While the Spurs were able to chip at the lead and made a run to make the game close, Luke Kennard scored 12 of his career high 20 points in the 4th quarter as the Pistons delivered a double digit 93-79 win against one of the West’s elite teams. Reggie Bullock scored a career high 22 points and Andre Drummond had a 14 point, 21 rebound, 6 assist, and 3 steal night. The lineup changes also allowed the starters to get some more rest. Dwight Buycks played 18 minutes behind Ish Smith and scored his first points as a Piston in a 4 point, 3 assist, and 3 rebound effort. Fellow 2 way player Luis Montero made his first appearance in a Pistons uniform.
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) December 31, 2017
The Pistons had a few days off before entering a tough stretch of games. They play in Miami tonight before a road/home back to back in Philadelphia Friday and against the Rockets at home Saturday. Monday they embark on a week long 3 game road trip. Avery Bradley’s return will allow Luke Kennard to provide quality minutes off the bench. There may be more lineup tinkering as the trip to New Orleans gives Anthony Tolliver another opportunity to face off against the two headed monster of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. With the 4th and 8th seeds in the Eastern Conference separated by a mere 2 games, the Pistons will need every advantage they can get to keep the good times rolling into 2018.
Keep showing your #DetroitBasketball pride and one lucky winner from our #MyPistons ‘Fans of the Week’ photos will be chosen to win this exclusive Ish Smith signed 11×14 photo!
Here are this week’s #MyPistons Fans of the Week!