Pistons offense didn't work with Jackson versus Jazz

Terry Foster
The Detroit News
Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy shouts to his team in the second quarter Saturday night against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson stared at a pair of black gym socks as if they'd stolen something from him. He was angry. He was upset. He had the look of a man who knew he made a terrible mistake.

Jackson was later asked if he was OK.

"I'm all right," he said.

Actually he is not. And therein lies the problem. Jackson has been good at times but he has not been good enough since being traded to the Pistons and given the key to the franchise. There needs to be a correction in his game or Jackson will be run out of this town before he even gets settled here. There are two things you cannot do in Detroit as a professional athlete.

You cannot let it be known you do not want to be here. You also must follow the blueprint of being a blue-collar player. You cannot slack. You cannot lay off. Detroit fans will crucify you. Jackson held off on one play and it did not sit well with head coach Stan Van Gundy, who called him out and sat him down.

There was a loose ball during the Pistons' 88-85 loss to the Utah Jazz. Dante Exum of the Jazz hustled down the court for the ball. I will admit I thought it was going out of bounds. Jackson felt the same way. The difference was I was sitting in the press area in a sports jacket; Jackson was on the floor being asked to win the game down the stretch.

Exum got the ball just before he was about to step out of bounds. Only then did Jackson react, but it was too late. Exum fired a pass to Rodney Hood for a layup and a 78-71 Jazz lead. The crowd went wild and Van Gundy went nuts.

During a game where every play counted this could have been the difference-maker.

Jackson had the look of a kid who got caught stealing an extra cookie out of the cookie jar. Even though he hit an unlikely 3-point basket seconds later, Van Gundy made the decision to bench him. It was the right move.

Jackson did not have one assist in the game and ran himself into traps and danger. Rookie Spencer Dinwiddie ran the offense. Even though the Pistons were not always successful with Dinwiddie, the offense looked like it had function and body to it.

The offense hiccuped whenever Jackson was in the game, especially in the second half.

"I got to push through it," Jackson said. "Everybody has a lot to say. The only ones who can straighten this out are the guys on this team, starting with myself. I have to bring better energy to start right. No matter how the game is going for myself, just continue to play on defense and do my best to help teammates out."

The irony is the Pistons are developing a reputation of being a hard-nosed, hard-working team. They drew praise in Utah and Golden State for bringing the heat. They simply fizzle out too many times to win games, which has led to a 10-game losing streak.

Drummond on hold

Pistons center Andre Drummond must pass further tests before he will be allowed to practice with the team.

And then he must undergo even more tests until he is allowed back in game action, according to NBA policy. It is not known at this point if he will play Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies at The Palace.

Drummond sustained a concussion during the first half in Salt Lake City. He was hit at least twice in the head and was limited to 11 minutes.

He came out for halftime warm-ups but returned to the training area to begin tests. The team announced that he would not complete the game. He left the arena without comment but will return to the training area Monday hoping to be cleared for practice. Van Gundy did not comment.

The NBA concussion bylaws state: "Once a player is diagnosed with a concussion he is then held out of all activity until he is symptom-free at rest and until he has no appreciable difference from his baseline neurological exam and his baseline score on the computerized cognitive assessment test.

"The concussed player may not return to participation until he is asymptomatic at rest and has successfully completed the NBA concussion return-to-participation exertion protocol."

Drummond must participate in several exercises before returning to game action. That may include working on a stationary bike, jogging and noncontact team drills.