The Detroit Pistons have defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 105-103 tonight. This contest quickly turned from a boring, sluggish contest to a hotly contested nail-biter down the stretch. In the end, the Pistons were able to pull it out behind some late-game heroics, and now have won four of their last five games.
First Make: Langston Galloway Continues Torrid Shooting
Langston Galloway been arguably Detroit’s most surprising bright spot this season, and that trend continued tonight. While nearly every other Piston seemed to have lost their shooting touch tonight, Galloway came through with critical threes that either ended a cold streak or added cushion to Detroit’s lead.
With a pair of layups to go alongside four triples, Galloway, the birthday boy – alongside the rest of Detroit’s bench unit – righted the ship in a game where offense didn’t come easy for the starters.
First Miss: Dre’s Foul Trouble
With an enticing matchup waiting against Jahlil Okafor and Jaxson Hayes, it was looking like another big game was on the horizon for Andre Drummond. Unfortunately, he wasn’t even able to scratch the surface in the first half, as he committed his second foul in the middle of the first quarter, and his third less than a minute into the second.
His absence was felt, as Detroit struggled to keep New Orleans out of the paint, giving up 26 points in the paint in the first half.
Second Make: Derrick Rose Shows Out in the Fourth Quarter
Derrick Rose has been excellent off the bench for Detroit all season, although his late game miscues have been a massive problem – probably costing the team a couple wins.
Tonight, however, was a different story, as the former MVP turned back the clock late, scoring 17 of his 21 points – including a clutch game winner after shaking All-NBA Defender Jrue Holiday.
Second Miss: Turnover Issues (Shocker, right?)
The Pistons have struggled with turnovers all season, but tonight the team got creative with the way they gave the ball away early on. With 13 first-half turnovers coming in the forms of bad passes, travels (FOUR of ’em), and both on-ball and off-ball offensive fouls, Detroit made it much harder for themselves to stay in the game against a frigid-shooting Pelicans team.
As a result of those early turnovers, New Orleans was given plenty of chances to score – including on the fastbreak, where they added 16 points in the opening half.
Third Make: Solid, Physical Defense!?
Detroit’s defense hasn’t nearly been the strength that it has been in year’s past, but tonight the team looked more intense and played more aggressive on the less flashy side of the court.
Forcing the Pelicans to a dreadful performance from deep (8/38) was a result of the Pistons’ surprisingly energetic switches and closeouts, two key parts of defense that Detroit has struggled with for most of the season.
Third Miss: Blake Griffin Struggles Mightily
In what turned out to be an exciting win for the Pistons, it may have been a much easier road to victory if it wasn’t for Blake Griffin’s immense struggles.
Finishing with just five points and four rebounds on a dreadful 1-for-9 shooting, Griffin was basically a non-factor on offense outside of a few turnovers from boneheaded travels.
It was nice to see other players step up in Blake’s “absence”, but his play since his return has become increasingly more concerning. His play in the coming weeks will be very telling for what the Pistons’ ceiling truly is.