With Blake Griffin likely facing regular maintenance nights this season, the Detroit Pistons got a look at lineups without their All-Star on Friday night.
And the Pistons struggled for most of the night.
They trailed by 19 in the second half before rallying for a 109-105 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Little Caesars Arena.
Andre Drummond finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. He added three assists as the Pistons (2-1) used more dribble-handoffs with Drummond as the offensive hub in the absence of Griffin.
Derrick Rose scored 15 points and Reggie Jackson scored 10 of 15 points in the second half.
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Bruce Brown added 15 points, five rebounds and seven assists in 25 minutes.
His free throw gave the Pistons a 109-105 lead with 10.6 seconds left.
Svi Mykhailiuk, who is fighting for a rotation spot, had a follow dunk with 1:08 remaining to give the Pistons a 104-103 lead.
The Pistons were hampered by 17 turnovers.
“Whoever walks out on to the court has to represent the team, our identity, the way we want to play, who we want to be, and what’s important and we did none of the above for the first three quarters,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said.
Free agent pickup Markieff Morris started in place of Griffin, scoring five points.
Griffin carried the Pistons for most of last season before tiring toward the end of the regular season.
He was bothered by a sore left knee which forced him to miss four of the final six games of the regular season, and the first two games of four-game playoff sweep by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Griffin had minor surgery after the season and although he has a clean bill of health, his minutes have been monitored throughout preseason practices.
The organization is determined to keep Griffin healthy for the entire season, so expect periodic nights off after playing 75 games last season.
Brown was effective as a secondary ballhandler, getting to the rim for nine points in the fourth quarter.
“Coach got on us,” Brown said. “We weren’t playing with a lot of energy, going through the motions a little bit. We’re not going to be able to win in the regular season like that.”
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Casey commits to starting five?
Casey won’t commit publicly to the starting five of Griffin, Drummond, Jackson, Tony Snell and Brown for the Oct. 23 season opener at Indiana.
But he might have let it slip before the Cavs game.
“We’ve got the first unit pretty solid,” Casey said pregame. “We’ve just got to figure out what we’re doing with the second unit.
“We’re probably going to do two positions (that are fluid), depending on matchups, how the game is going, what we need, which is positive.”
The front office is split between big man Christian Wood and forward Joe Johnson for the 15th roster spot.
Both played against the Cavs, but Wood was more effective.
At the 10:04 mark of the second quarter, Wood drove for an emphatic dunk.
On the Cavs’ next possession, Wood blocked a shot from Cavs guard Collin Sexton.
In the fourth quarter, he sank a runner from the free throw line just before the shot clock expired.
Wood finished with 11 points in 16 minutes.
Johnson played 20 minutes and scored four points – including a late runner during the Pistons’ closing run.
It was former Michigan coach John Beilein’s first appearance since taking the Cavs job in May.
“I think the last time I was here we were playing the University of Detroit, and we were missing Mo Wagner and Charles Matthews, and I was so nervous walking into this building.
“But we won quite handily.”
Beilein left Michigan as the winningest coach in program history, posting a 278-150 record. He led the program to two national title appearances, two Big Ten regular-season titles and two Big Ten tournament championships.
Maker performs well
Pistons fourth-year big man Thon Maker turned in his best performance of the preseason with seven points and 10 rebounds.
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Published at Sat, 12 Oct 2019 03:29:09 +0000