The Detroit Pistons (2-2) avoided starting the season 0-3 at home on Monday night as they narrowly defeated the Indiana Pacers (0-3) 96-94 at Little Caesars Arena.
The writers at Palace of Pistons wanted to spice up the postgame content for its readers this year, so here’s the third installment of three makes and three misses.
First Make: A Perfect First Quarter Start
For the first time in the early season, the Pistons came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. Detroit played an offensively beautiful five minutes of basketball to start as they netted 20 points on a perfect 7/7 shooting rate. The offense slowed down as the quarter progressed, but the Pistons still finished with a first quarter season-high 33 points.
The swap of Kennard for Brown in the starting lineup was a welcomed sight for Pistons fans as it created more floor separation and instantly added another offensive threat to the starting five. The demotion to the bench may have been good for Brown though as he hit the 2k green meter on two wide open threes that had me picking up my jaw. It is very important for an offense missing it’s best offensive creator to avoid falling behind to their opponents early. Tonight was a good start in the right direction.
First Miss: Markieff Morris Struggles Again
When the Pistons signed Markieff Morris, they were hoping to get the guy that averaged 11.5 points for the Wizards in over one and a half seasons. The signing made it evident that the front office wanted someone other than Thon Maker to trust at the four when Blake needed to rest or missed time due to injury.
So far this season, Morris has been struggling. He battled foul trouble tonight and finished with four turnovers while also being a non-factor in the fourth that led fans questioning why red-hot Wood wasn’t in the game. There could not be a better opportunity for Morris to showcase his talents than right now with Griffin on the shelf for the next 5-10 games, but he has yet to do that. He will be a key piece off the bench once the roster is healthy and will need to show Casey that his last-year stint in OKC was just a fluke.
Second Make: Christian Wood Is A Certified Baller
Just seven days ago, the Pistons front office made the decision to waive BIG3 MVP Joe Johnson and reward Christian Wood the final roster spot on a team that clearly needed big man help. Seven days later, Ed Stefanski may have just made the right decision.
Wood came off the bench looking to prove his worth to Casey as he quickly turned in 11 points and seven rebounds (three being offensive) in just 9 minutes. Although it was initially thought that he would play backup to Drummond, Wood shared the floor with Dre and provided a nice 4-5 punch that swallowed up every rebound in sight. The stat that should have Pistons fans most excited about is the perfect 3-3 mark from the outside line. There is truly nothing prettier than watching a near seven-footer hit a step back three.
In a night where Luke Kennard could not find his bag, it was both entertaining and exciting to see Wood locate his in an effort to prove that he is more than just the No. 15 guy on this roster. After tonight, he may have just jumped a few spots.
Second Miss: Too Many Turnovers
The Pistons would have easily cruised to a victory tonight had it not been for their 20 turnovers. Detroit was careless with the ball and got 10 of their 20 turnovers from starters Morris (4) and Drummond (6).
Rose easily had his worst game in a Pistons uniform tonight as he turned in four turnovers to go along with an abysmal 4-16 shooting night. The Pacers were able to get 20 points off Detroit’s lack of ball control and nearly stole the much-needed win from the Pistons in the closing seconds (thank you TJ Warren).
This current roster cannot afford to replicate turnover games like tonight and will stand no chance against the elites of the East and West with Reggie and Blake on the shelf. Detroit simply has to be smarter with the ball.
Third Make: Bruce Brown Sent A Message To His Haters
I know I already mentioned Brown and his three-point shooting in the first quarter, but this man forced my hand to award him the final make of the night.
After a summer of Brown working on his shot, I was simply not convinced that he would provide any offense other than cutting to the basket after an underwhelming preseason and first three games of the season. Tonight, Brown found the bottom of the net three times for a career-high mark as he finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Although it is highly unlikely that Brown will be an outside threat this year, it was nice to see him confidently take those open looks and respond well to the benching. If he could consistently add those to his arsenal, it would be beneficial to Kennard and the Pistons rotation as a whole.
Brown has always been known to be a hard worker, so it was nice to see him flourish on the offensive end and draw much-deserved praise from the fanbase.
Third Miss: Casey’s Decision To Bench Wood In Fourth
I originally had weak guard play as my final miss, but Casey’s inability to use Wood in the fourth quarter was downright unacceptable. Morris was nearly nonexistent for the entire evening and Wood was having the game of his life, so it was a bit of a head-scratcher to keep him on the bench while the Pacers clawed back late. Casey could have simply trusted Morris more in tight late-game environment than Wood, but the decision nearly cost Casey and the Pistons the game.
I think I’m not alone in saying that Wood deserves more minutes and hopefully Casey learned that after tonight’s gem.
Featured Image: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images