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Drummond finds his form in Pistons' win over Thunder

Vincent Goodwill Jr.
The Detroit News

Oklahoma City — Remember Stan Van Gundy's proclamation that he would go to Andre Drummond more in the post, and that going away from him would be a mistake?

Apparently, Van Gundy doesn't remember, or has changed course. The two apparently had a sitdown Friday morning in Oklahoma City, and Van Gundy told Drummond to "do what you do best" — which everybody knows is being a force on the boards and trying to impact the game on defense.

As for the offense, Drummond said he'll "let the offense come to me," after he grabbed 15 rebounds and scored nine points in the Pistons' 96-89 overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

"Stan and I had a chance to (talk)," he said. "We know the offensive side hasn't come around at the start of the season. It's really been frustrating for me. Stan, we really just talked and (he said) go out there and get all the rebounds because I'm one of the best rebounders. I decided to focus on the defensive end."

Drummond hadn't been making an impact on the defensive end, either, and Van Gundy said the failures on one side of the floor trickled down to defense, where he's expected to be an anchor. He missed a few easy ones Friday, including a missed dunk, but received better support from his teammates.

Drummond's body language over the past few games — he made a total of one field goal in games against Washington and Chicago — ranged from sullen to lost. Friday, Brandon Jennings was often talking to Drummond after timeouts, before play began to make sure Drummond's mental focus was there.

"I'm the biggest critic," Drummond said. "I critique myself and sometimes it gets the best of me and I let it get to me. I did a better job of brushing it off and moving onto the next play."

Van Gundy simplified things for Drummond in light of the offense's recent struggles.

"Don't let missing a few shots discourage you, take away from your energy and take away from where your greatness is," Van Gundy said. "While his offense is developing and will become very good, his greatness is as a rebounder and he's gotta make sure that's consistent every night."

Out of nowhere in the third quarter, Drummond blocked a jump shot by Jeremy Lamb, the kind of play that hasn't been seen from him this season. For the first time this season, he didn't pick up two fouls in the first quarter, staying on the floor. He said he felt the pressure was lifted off his shoulders.

"Absolutely. I feel like my normal self tonight," Drummond said. "I was upbeat and didn't let things get to me."

He played 32 minutes Friday, after playing just 23 in Washington on Wednesday.

"Coming out tonight, showing fight, really showing the hard work we put in and just constant fight that Stan wants us to put out there," Drummond said. "We didn't give up and feed into different things that went wrong on the court."

vgoodwill@detroitnews.com

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