My Detroit Sports: #MyPistons Weekly #5

Welcome to #MyPistons Weekly #5, which features the 5 games the Pistons have played in the last week. It was a week of ups, downs, and injury reports. Avery Bradley returned, but Andre Drummond missed a game and Stanley Johnson remained unavailable until last night’s game in Brooklyn. Detroit’s will was with 3 games in 4 nights with 3 different starting lineups. The Pistons rose to the challenge and remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Pistons went on the road to face the always tough Miami Heat. This game was even tougher without Andre Drummond, who sat out with injured ribs. Boban Marjanovic got the start and responded with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. However, with his strong interior presence the Heat adapted by launching from beyond the arc. Miami hit 17 of their 34 three point attempts. The Pistons were able to keep it close and were tied through 3 quarters. With only 4 players coming off the bench they were simply too shorthanded to keep up in the 4th quarter and lost 111-104.

Friday night the Pistons faced the Sixers in Philadelphia. Ordinarily matching up with Joel Embiid would make for compelling basketball. Coming off an injury, and with Avery Bradley still struggling to regain his form, the Pistons fell behind early and could not make the game competitive. They were outscored 32-15 and 30-17 in the first two quarters to face a 30 point deficit going into the half. Knowing it was the first night of a back to back, Stan Van Gundy waved the white flag and emptied the bench. The final score was 114-78.

 

Saturday night the Pistons came home to face the Houston Rockets. Unfortunately neither team was at full strength as James Harden sat out, and Andre Drummond was held out with a rib injury. Eric Moreland made his first career start. It was a high scoring affair as the Rockets kept to their offensive strategy of 3 pointers and points in the paint. However, the Pistons outside shot started to fall and the Rockets went cold from beyond the arc, shooting 12-25 and 15-47 respectively. Tobias Harris led the charge with 11 points in the 3rd quarter as Detroit outscored Houston 31-19 to take control of the game. The lead swelled to as many as 16 in the 4th quarter before Chris Paul and Eric Gordon engineered a 12-2 run to make the Pistons sweat. But Ish Smith and Tobias Harris hit their free throws to secure a 108-101 victory.

2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, champion boxer and Flint native, Claressa Shields was in the building and participated in a dance-off with The Dancing Usher.

 

The Pistons then went back on the road south to New Orleans to face the Pelicans. The Pelicans are the rare team to defy the small ball trend by featuring two All-Star bigs in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Rather than responding by going big, Stan Van Gundy kept his normal rotation. Davis hurt the Pistons early with 30 points through 3 quarters before leaving the game in the 3rd with a sprained ankle. Cousins had been quiet, spilled ice over the floor causing a delay of game notwithstanding, but came alive after Davis returned to the locker room. The Pelicans had pulled ahead by 14 but a 9-0 run but the Pistons right back in the game. It was tied at 105 with 2 minutes remaining before Cousins and Rondo hit easy baskets to put the Pelicans ahead. Jrue Holiday missed a free throw with 5 seconds left to give the Pistons once more chance down 3. Avery Bradley missed a contested 3 pointer from the corner and the Pelicans escaped by a final score of 112-109.

The road trip continued in Brooklyn against the Nets. The Nets feature some familiar faces with former Pistons 2nd round pick Spencer Dinwiddie and Wolverines Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert. A 26-5 Pistons run from the end of the 1st quarter through the middle of the 2nd turned a 24-24 game into a blowout. The Pistons ran up the score, leading by as many as 40, before emptying the bench and cruising to a 114-80 victory. Andre Drummond led the way with 22 points, 20 rebounds, and 5 assists without having to play in the 4th quarter. The Pistons needed this win to snap a 5 game road losing streak.

 

The Pistons will finish the road trip Saturday in Chicago before heading home. They finished the week 2-3. Although Reggie Jackson remains out until February, Detroit closes the week as close to full strength as they’ve been since his injury. Dwight Buycks has taken full advantage of the opportunity, scoring in double figures in 4 of the 5 games culminating in a career high 17 against the Nets. Tobias Harris continues to make a case for his first All-Star selection with 117 points over the 5 games this week. The Pistons will need these sorts of performances as they fight for position in a crowded Eastern Conference playoff race.

Keep representing #DetroitBasketball for your chance to win an autographed Ish Smith 11×14 photo! Here are this week’s #MyPistons Fans of the Week!

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