DETROIT – If it weren’t for bad breaks, the Pistons wouldn’t get any breaks at all this season, it seems.
But the schedule maker did them a favor for a change, delivering a Christmas present one day late with the arrival of the Washington Wizards to Little Caesars Arena – perhaps the only NBA team with a more dire injury picture than the Pistons.
It wasn’t quite the same Washington team that scored 133 points just 10 days ago here against the Pistons. Among the players Scott Brooks employed in Thursday’s 132-102 win, Johnathan Williams, Anzejs Pasecniks and Gary Payton II weren’t even on the roster last week.
With the Pistons saddled with a five-game losing streak amid their own myriad injuries and staring at a daunting six-game, 12-day road trip ahead of them, it was a win their battered psyches desperately needed.
“It was good – good for the spirit of our team,” Dwane Casey said. “A lot of good things.”
Among them: The Pistons matched their season high in points and set new highs for 3-point attempts (48) and makes (19) while putting eight players in double figures and not having to use any starter for more than 27 minutes.
“It helps,” said Blake Griffin, who also qualifies for the good-news category by grabbing a season-best 11 rebounds and appearing to move with a little more bounce, though his perimeter shooting (0 of 6 from the 3-point line) remains off. “We weren’t in a good spot, but for the most part this locker room is pretty good about keeping pretty even, not getting too high and not getting too low when we’re on a losing streak. I thought we did a good job of just focusing on us and make sure that we did our thing tonight.”
The Pistons played without Reggie Jackson for the 29th straight game and Luke Kennard for the second straight. They’ll have to get used to playing without Kennard for a while. It was announced earlier in the day that he’d miss the next two weeks with the bilateral knee tendinitis that’s dogged him since training camp. The Pistons hope for a Jan. 7 return for Kennard, which would be the last game of the road trip at Cleveland.
Bruce Brown returned after missing Monday’s game with soreness in both calf muscles, but Casey continued to roll with veteran Tim Frazer at point guard and bring Brown off the bench – in part a nod to Frazier’s strong play of late and in part a way to get Brown a break from his emergency fill-in duties at point guard, giving the second unit a secondary ballhandler alongside Derrick Rose.
For one night, at least, it all worked sublimely. Brown hit 5 of 6 shots in scoring 12 points to go with five rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes. Rose had 15 and six assists. And Frazier was superb with 17 points, six assists and one turnover, hitting 5 of 6 3-point shots, in 27 minutes.
Frazier is among the litany of Pistons who missed time this season, suffering a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the lineup and subsequently the rotation. Pressed into duty of late, he’s responded better than well.
“It’s huge. Tim’s done a great job all year staying ready,” Griffin said. “He’s played a lot the last three games and been fantastic in all three. It’s a credit to him and our coaching staff keeping ready.”
The Pistons got another big game from Christian Wood off of their bench, scoring 22 points with seven rebounds on 7 of 9 shooting. The 48 3-point attempts – tying a franchise record – the 32 assists and the balanced scoring all spoke to the ball movement and flow of the offense.
“People were shooting their shots,” Brown said. “It was definitely good for us. We were on a five-game losing streak? So we needed to get one before a road trip. It was good for us as far as confidence.”
Published at Fri, 27 Dec 2019 04:09:08 +0000