DEC 15 – BMO Harris Bradley Center hosted the Pistons, on December 4, to take on the struggling Bucks. Detroit jumped out to a seven-point lead after the first quarter. Andre Drummond was a force early in the paint, scoring seven points and grabbing six boards to lead the Pistons.
But the Bucks charged back, opening the second quarter on a 19-5 run to take a 38-31 lead midway through the frame. Ersan Ilyasova was a key part of the Milwaukee comeback, scoring 12 points and adding five rebounds in the second. The Pistons made up a little ground and went into halftime trailing 50-45.
Detroit came out firing in the second half, going on a 16-0 run to take a 64-54 lead with six minutes left in the third. The Pistons were able to maintain their lead through the third quarter thanks to the continued strong play of Drummond. He scored seven and added four rebounds.
The Bucks had no answer for the Pistons frontcourt, as Detroit had their way on the glass throughout the game. Milwaukee could never make a sizeable dent in the Pistons lead, and Detroit came away with the road win 105-98.
Drummond has had an All-Star caliber season in his sophomore campaign, and he continued his hot streak in Milwaukee. The former Huskie finished with 24 points and 19 rebounds to go along with three blocks.
Monroe had an equally impressive night, scoring 18 and adding 17 rebounds. The frontcourt trio of Josh Smith, Drummond and Monroe had 43 out of the 55 rebounds for the Pistons.
The Pistons headed to Chicago for the last game of their road trip on the seventh to face the Derrick Rose-less Bulls. Whenever these two teams get together, it’s always a knockdown, drag-out battle. A rash of injuries have plagued the Bulls and made them offensively challenged. With Rose and Luol Deng missing the game, Chicago struggled at times to fill the cylinder.
The game was tied 47-47 at halftime, but then the Pistons defense tightened up and brought the Chicago offense to a screeching halt. The Bulls could only muster nine third quarter points while shooting under 25 percent from the field. The Pistons were able to open up a commanding 15-point lead going into the final frame.
The fourth quarter was slightly better for the Bulls, but they could not close the gap on the Pistons and ended up losing 92-75.
Brandon Jennings exploded in Chicago, scoring 33 points including five three-pointers. He also added five dimes on the night, while being the only starter to score in double digits. Kyle Singler was effective off the bench with 12 points.
The Pistons rode their four-game win streak back to the Palace to square off against the defending champion Miami Heat. Lebron and company were looking for revenge after a disappointing loss in South Beach just five days earlier. Dwayne Wade was again held out of the game; he also missed the last matchup against the Pistons.
Miami started off red hot, taking a 16-5 lead midway through the first. The Pistons struggled to keep up with the high-powered Heat offense and ended the first quarter trailing by seven.
Within the first two minutes of the second quarter, the Pistons scored eight straight points before Miami was forced to call timeout. The Heat opened the lead back up to seven, where it hovered around for much of the second quarter. Miami led Detroit 59-53 after two.
It was all Miami in the third quarter. They outscored the Pistons by fifteen in the frame and left the Pistons no chance to make a comeback. The Heat went on to win the game 110-95 and evened up the season series. Drummond was once again dominant for the Pistons, scoring 19 to go along with 14 rebounds. Jennings added 19 with six assists.
On Tuesday, the Pistons hosted the high-scoring Minnesota Timberwolves. This game promised to be a shootout, and the Pistons were able to keep up through the first quarter. Twelve second quarter points from Kevin Martin helped Minnesota pull away to a 13-point lead at halftime. Kevin Love was on fire for the T-Wolves, scoring 19 of his 26 points in the first half.
The Pistons had no answer for Minnesota’s high-powered assault. The second half was much of the same, with Minnesota outscoring the Pistons in both the third and fourth quarters. Detroit eventually lost 121-94. This was the most points the Pistons gave up in a game so far this season.
Minnesota was able to match the Pistons in the paint, with both teams scoring 44 points down low. The Timberwolves shot an impressive 48 percent from beyond the arc, while the Pistons shot a paltry 28.6 percent. Brandon Jennings led the Pistons with 20 points and seven assists. Smith finally bounced back with 17 points, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 16.
The Pistons then traveled down to New Orleans to square off with the Pelicans. Detroit was down nine points to begin the fourth quarter, but a 9-0 run within the first few minutes quickly erased the deficit. A Ryan Anderson three-pointer with 2:14 remaining put the Pelicans up by four. But back-to-back baskets by J-Smoove tied the game with just over a minute remaining. Jennings missed a three-pointer at the buzzer, and the fans in New Orleans were treated to free basketball.
Anderson caught fire in the overtime, scoring eight points for the Pelicans to keep them ahead during the extra frame. The Pistons were forced to foul near the end, and New Orleans was hitting their free throws. They went on to win 111-106.
Greg Monroe was money all night, stuffing the stat sheet with 28 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Brandon Jennings was feeling it once again, putting up 25 and swiping the ball six times. Rodney Stuckey added 20 coming off the bench.
This loss dropped their record to 10-13. While they continue to be inconsistent, Detroit is starting to improve their chemistry. With a weak Eastern Conference, Detroit should have no problem making the playoffs.