Led by Andre Drummond’s 14-of-16 night from the free throw line, the Detroit Pistons (6-3) defeated the Milwaukee Bucks (4-5) 105-96. Andre Drummond posted a monster double-double with 24 points (5-7 fg, 14-16 ft) and 15 rebounds.
Avery Bradley remained hot, scoring 23 points ( 8-19 fg, 3-6 3pt) while Reggie Jackson dished 8 assists. Off the bench, Ish Smith added 10 points and 4 assists. As a team, the Pistons went 23 of 28 (82.1%) from the charity stripe and they shot 19 more free throws than the Bucks. This is a big deal because earlier this month the following stat surfaced:
After the game, coach Stan Van Gundy addressed the importance of Drummond’s free throw shooting and his aggressiveness:
“I’d like to get him like six a game, he got 16. He was rolling hard, he was putting more pressure on the basket, which hasn’t really been his fault, we just haven’t really emphasized it enough, and watching the games out west particularly the last one that was an area we needed to improve in was to get him to the rim more and he got down in there. Then you have a choice, you’re either going to pull in and leave people open and Reggie (Jackson) and Ish (Smith) found people for open shots or Andre (Drummond) is going to be open down there. Their idea was we’ll let him catch the ball then we’ll hammer him. I don’t think that strategy is going to work this year. A night like tonight, that’s not a fluke. You’re a 35% shooter for your career and you go 8-for-16 maybe he just had a good night, but 14-for-16, and they all looked good. He wasn’t banking them in.”
Although Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a great stat line (29 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds) the Pistons did make him work for his buckets and did not allow to him to fully command the offense from a playmaking perspective. Anthony Tolliver provided some excellent defensive minutes against Antetokounmpo but “The Greek Freak” still got his buckets.
Coach Van Gundy also commented on his team’s effort on Giannis:
“I thought we defended him really well. I get the box score – 29 points, four blocked shots – the guy’s just a great player. I think we gave him two buckets that were too easy. Stanley (Johnson) got beat on a back-cut and we didn’t match up with him on transition once. Other than that, I thought we did a really good job on him and he still got 29. I don’t have any answers to that.”
Former Piston, Khris Middleton, stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds while Malcolm Brogdon, poured in 21 points and 10 assists. After the game, coach Jason Kidd called out his bench for their lackluster effort.
The Pistons will look for back-to-back wins when they take on the abysmal Sacramento Kings (1-7) tomorrow night at the Little Caesars Arena at 7pm EST / 4pm PST.
Featured Image: Brian Sevald (NBAE/Getty)