Last night’s Detroit Pistons game, a hard-fought loss to the Toronto Raptors, felt more like a road game at Little Caesers Arena. To add to the losing, Detroit also lost Christian Wood along the way and couldn’t seem to stay close in the second half. As we always do after every game here at Palace of Pistons, here are our three makes and misses from last night’s game.
1st Make: The Re-Emergence of Christian Wood
One might expect Christian Wood to be reeling from his poor performance against the Washington Wizards. He scored 12 points, sure, but only made 2-8 free-throw attempts and received loud boos from the local fans. He holds a season average of 61.7% from the charity stripe, which is usually an average percentage. But for Wood to only make 2-8 shooting from the line, that performance was unacceptable from a pretty decent free-throw shooter. So once Wood was inserted into last night’s game he wanted to make sure he made up for past transgressions and prove something to not only himself but the fanbase that he is a better player from the one that they saw on Monday night against Washington.
Wood came out being the Christian Wood that we all know him to be – efficient when given the opportunity to play. He made 1-2 field-goal attempts and made all four of his free-throw attempts, scoring 6 total points, grabbed 3 and added a block for good measure. Wood seemed to be a man on a mission to show he can be a better version of himself that played on Monday.
1st Miss: They Lost Wood for the Rest of the Game
Just as Christian Wood was trying to have a better game than the one that he had on Monday, he unfortunately met an impasse on his way to trying to have a career night in the form of an apparent knee injury. While being guarded at the top of the key, Wood got away from his defender by using a spin move and drove to the basket when suddenly the Raptors defense collapsed and focused on him. That caused him to slip and fall, and tweak his knee in an awkward position. You knew the situation was bad as you saw Wood immediately started to rive in pain and grab his knee, banging his fist on the floor in frustration.
He was soon taken to the back to be medically examined. During halftime and as the third quarter was starting to get underway, Wood came back from the locker room and was shooting around on the court to see if he could still play with his injury. It was clear he was still favoring that knee he hurt and was escorted off the court by some members of the medical team. The announcers later said that Wood had suffered a knee sprain and would not return to the game.
You hate to see this happen to any player, especially such a young, exciting and talented player such as Christian Wood. His energy and hustle would be greatly missed for the rest of the game. Hopefully, his injury doesn’t keep him out of action for too long because without his motor and length the Pistons bench unit will struggle mightily in his absence.
2nd Make: The Return of Both Blake and Dre
The Pistons struggled in their loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday when they played without their two best players in Blake Griffin (knee) and Andre Drummond (illness). Drummond came back in the first half like a man on a mission—he was back to his usual self, clogging up the paint and scoring down-low in the post and gobbling up every rebound he could get his hands on.
Griffin was spectacular in his return as well, making some highlight-reel plays and being the focal point on offense that his team needs him to be.
Regardless of how many points these two players score for the Pistons, their mere presence on the floor just makes the Pistons a more formidable opponent and provides them with a chance to win most of their games. The Pistons aren’t a team full of tall and sturdy big—so had not Griffin and/or Drummond been able to play, this game would’ve been a much different one from the one we witnessed last night.
It’s debatable if the Pistons can win with both Drummond and Griffin playing together…but you now the Pistons don’t stand a chance against any NBA team if neither of them is on the floor.
2nd Miss: Detroit Couldn’t Buy a Bucket in the 3rd Quarter
Let’s just be honest…
Detroit was horrendous in the third quarter shooting the ball. In the third quarter alone, the team shot 6-20 from the field, netting only two 3-pointers, on 2-8 shooting from deep. They couldn’t seem to find a rhythm and couldn’t convert their shots into points. This did nothing but allow time for the Raptors to steadily mount an 18-point lead (game-high) and keep themselves in the driver’s seat for most of the game.
The bench tried their best to chip away at the lead and Derrick Rose started to take over the scoring for Detroit, as he is becoming accustomed to doing for the bench unit, but it still didn’t alleviate the bleeding from the Raptors 18-point lead at the hands of the Pistons poor shooting.
3rd Make: Once again D-Rose to the Rescue, in Another Loss
Derrick Rose, in my opinion, has been one of the few saving graces of this season. He has been a constant professional this entire season and has exceeded every expectation that has been placed on him as a Detroit Piston. Tonight, once again he took over the offensive scoring load for the bench unit, scoring 16 points, dishing five assists, and grabbing four rebounds.
He took a few lumps tonight as he collided with two different Raptors on two separate possessions on both offense and defense. But like the warrior that he is, he got right back up and tried his best to help lead his team to a victory. The bench wasn’t as efficient as they normally can be and, after Wood went down with a knee injury, Rose had to command the scoring load to help keep the team afloat in the game.
3rd Miss: WE ARE NOT THE NORTH!!!
Once again, the Toronto Raptors came into Detroit, and steal a win on the road.
And once AGAIN, a loyal mob of Toronto Raptors fans infiltrated Little Caesars Arena and chanted “WE THE NORTH!!! WE THE NORTH!!! WE THE NORTH!!!”
For the Pistons, this must be one of the more demoralizing things to happen in this loss. Detroit can’t seem to shut up the Toronto fans that either live in Michigan or travel from Canada to watch and support their team. As a team and as a franchise the Pistons should try to cease this from ever happening in the future. Even during the postgame interview with Johnny Kane, Pascal Siakam said that this road win “feels like home”—meaning that Detroit feels no different from Toronto because of the fans that come in and cheer their team on…especially in a win. The Pistons must must try to stop this trend from happening in the future.