The second of hopefully more than 82 installments of “3 Makes and 3 Misses”, is one tinged with frustration.
On short rest, with a lagging offense, Detroit fell 117-100 against a young Atlanta Hawks squad. Little seemed to go right for the Pistons, on a night where Blake Griffin’s absence was noticeable and Reggie Jackson’s back would not leave him alone.
Emotions aside, let’s dig into the three makes and three misses from a discouraging home opener.
First Make: Derrick Rose continues his strong play
Two regular-season games is a very small sample size, but Pistons fans have to be happy with what they have seen from the 2011 MVP. Rose has come in and had an instant impact on the offense. His greatest strength so far has been his ability to create his own shot, with 88.2% of his baskets being unassisted. Being able to put the ball on the floor and make something out of nothing is something this offense has lacked in the past and Derrick Rose does exceptionally well.
A healthy Rose makes multiple plays like this every night.
Rose shot 7-8 in the first half and finished the night with an efficient 11-16 effort from the field. The 11-year veteran tallied 27 points when all was said and done and had 3 assists to boot. His play was a bright spot on a night where there weren’t many to go around.
First Miss: Another Poor Third Quarter
Detroit clawed back from an early deficit to take a 63-60 lead into the locker room. The momentum had seemingly swung in their favor. However, the same story that nearly doomed the Pistons on Wednesday against the Pacers, reared its ugly head for a second time in two games.
The Pistons came out of the half flat. They struggled to generate offense and no player other than Derrick Rose scored more than 2 points the entire quarter. Their interior defense was sieve-like, giving up 18 points in the third quarter alone.
Atlanta capitalized and carried a 91-81 lead into the fourth. The deficit ended up being too much for Detroit to overcome and was a major part of their downfall.
Second Make: Andre Drummond’s Free Throw Success
After shooting 59% from the line last season, Pistons fans hoped that they would see a return to the 60% range for their center this season. The 2017-18 season was the high-water mark for the former UConn Husky when he shot 60.5% from the charity stripe.
So far this season, his numbers have exceeded any reasonable expectations, as the big man is shooting 81.3% from the line. Drummond has attempted 16 free throws and for all the math whizzes out there, 13/16 equals 81.3%.
Will Drummond’s free throw numbers continue to tread water around 80%? Likely not, but it is still encouraging to see him step to the line confidently and knockdown “freebies” at a respectable clip.
Second Miss: Perimeter Defense of Trae Young
Billed as the second coming of Steph Curry, second-year pro, Trae Young has already developed a reputation as a deadly marksman. So naturally, the Pistons let him run rampant.
The former Oklahoma Sooner shot the lights out of the gym in the first half. Young shot 9/15 from the floor, including 5/7 from beyond the long line. Bruce Brown was often tasked with guarding Young and looked a step behind at every juncture.
Young cooled off slightly in the second half but rode his strong early numbers to 38 points on 11/21 shooting from the floor, 6/10 from three, and 10/12 from the line. The Atlanta point guard torched the Pistons and their defense on arguably the Hawks’ best player was poor, to say the least.
Third Make: Tony Snell Is Invaluable
His impact may not always be seen in the box score, but Tony Snell seems to be just what the doctor ordered for the Pistons. Versatile enough to play positions 2-4, Snell can hit open shots and is a consistent defender.
Last season, the Pistons struggled to find players who could give reliable minutes at the 3 spot, but Snell looks to have locked the position down. He knows his role in the offense, spotting up for three’s and getting up and down the floor. His versatility is invaluable and will allow him to contribute major minutes.
Snell shot 3/7 from deep against Atlanta, showing where the majority of his shots are coming from in the Pistons’ offense. A career 40.3% three-point shooter, Snell is a do-it-all type player that will never get major media attention or even much local love, but he fits a need well in Detroit.
Third Miss: Interior Defending
Briefly mentioned earlier, the interior defense for the Pistons was dreadfully bad against Atlanta. The Hawks generated 60 points in the paint against Detroit, having their way inside.
John Collins and Jabari Parker had big games for Atlanta, tallying 18 points each. The duo did most of their damage inside, finishing multiple easy dunks via matador defense.
The Pistons need to tighten up their interior defense going forward. Yes, this was the second game in a back-to-back, but 60 points in the paint will not win you ball games. Detroit will have to tighten up with a big Philadelphia 76ers squad coming to town on Saturday.
Featured Image: Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press