The Pistons’ next five games are at the Palace, four before the All-Star break.
A game and a half down in the race for eighth place and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, it would be a good time to start building some momentum if a playoff run is in the offing.
The team took one small step in the right direction with a 111-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night at the Palace.
Both teams are fighting to make the playoffs.
Six Pistons scored in double figures, with Brandon Jennings contributing 26 points, 10 rebounds nine assists. He committed eight turnovers.
“We turned the ball over too much,” coach Maurice Cheeks said of his team’s 22.
Andre Drummond had a career-high 22 rebounds, with Josh Smith (23 points), Drummond and Kyle Singler (16 points each), Rodney Stuckey (14) and Greg Monroe (12) reaching double figures in scoring.
“I won’t be satisfied until we make the playoffs and do something,” Drummond said.
The defense was better, though dribble penetration is still a problem.
“I thought our ability to push the ball up the floor and get a lot of easy baskets enabled us to get the lead,” Cheeks said. “Still, I thought they beat us off the dribble, but when they missed shots we were able to push it, and that was the difference.”
Kevin Garnett didn’t play because of rest. That moved Andray Blatche into the starting lineup, and Monroe had the task of shadowing Paul Pierce on defense.
Most of the first quarter was taken up by each side hoisting bad shots early in the shot clock. The teams combined to shoot 11-for-30 from the field.
The Pistons finally went with that get-the-ball-inside offense, and it produced positive results.
Monroe scored eight points, helping the Pistons to a 30-17 after one quarter.
The Nets shot 26.1% in the first quarter, and their poor three-point shooting, 1-for-14 at one point, helped the Pistons go on an 11-4 run to start the second quarter and open a 41-21 lead.
The Pistons shot 71.4% in the second quarter to take a commanding 67-44 halftime lead.
Singler taking the lineup spot of rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope created more space under the basket, Cheeks said.
“I’m just taking it in stride and enjoying it,” Singler said of his starting role. “What counts most is we got the win.”
The Pistons shot an electric 61.7% in the first half, with Smith leading the way with 7-for-10 shooting.
The Pistons continued their torrid shooting in the third quarter, making seven of their first 10 shots to expand the lead to 84-55 after the shot-happy Jennings made consecutive threes, forcing Nets coach Jason Kidd to call a time-out.
Pistons pull out a win over the Nets
Detroit Free Press | Feb 8