The very intriguing frontline the Detroit Pistons assembled, adding Josh Smith to the duo of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, needs some more times before it clicks and runs a lot more smoothly, but they couldn’t have asked for a better start than a season-opening win even without Brandon Jennings getting to play.
The point guard who doesn’t like to pass so much is out with some teeth problem, so Josh Smith was the one who ran the plays for the Pistons, finishing with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. he left the board crashing to Drummond and Monroe, which worked out quite well, especially in the first half, and enough for a 113-102 win over the Washington Wizards.
Monroe made a big case for his All-Star cause which probably will be quite a debatable subject come the right time, finishing the game with 24 points and 16 rebounds. He did turn the ball over 5 times, but was more than a handful for the Wizards to handle, playing without Marcin Gortat in the starting lineup, getting only 17 minutes from the Polish center, who needs some more time adjusting to his new team. Monroe kept going to the line, making 12-of-15.
Andre Drummond isn’t the most gifted post scorer, but he’s a very nice complementary tool to Monroe, scoring 12 points on 6-of-7 from the field, adding 8 rebounds. The Pistons got some significant contribution from their guards: Chauncey Billups shined, making his second debut for the Pistons, scoring 16 points, while Will Bynum added 19. There isn’t much of a bench this season for the Pistons, but rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did score 9 points, although without making the most of his outside shooting ability, not hitting a single three point shot.
For the Wizards, it was a case of waking up too late. They were down by 12 at halftime, but outscored the Pistons in the second half. John Wall entered a much more aggressive mode, scoring 20 points altogether, stopping his futile attempts of tough jumpers at some point, which only benefited the Wizards. Trevor Ariza led them with 28 points, but there seems to be some confusion and loss of momentum in the team now that Emeka Okafor and his injured neck have been traded to Phoenix, as they hope Marcin Gortat doesn’t need too much time to find himself on his new team. It’s worth mentioning that Otto Porter, their first round draft pick, wasn’t available either.
Is this a playoff year for the Pistons? Hard to say. They looked very different with their starting frontline trio in both halves, sometimes looking very hard to beat and rebound against, but a bit slow and predictable in the second. It seems to be that the key to that will be Josh Smith and his ability to adjust to the point-forward role, avoiding his tendency to start trying to be something he’s not with contested jumpers he tends to fall into, ruining it for himself and his team.
It was picture perfect for me. Just being able to get out there and see the fans cheering the basketball team on, staying engaged for the whole game. It feels like old times. The energy in this building sounded familiar. I hadn’t seen that in a while around here. It felt really good.