Bench rescuses Pistons as Reggie Jackson sits

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — The Pistons found themselves in a bit of a conundrum Thursday after another performance in which they gutted out a win despite not getting much from starting point guard Reggie Jackson, who didn’t step foot on the floor after the third quarter.

While Ish Smith struggled from the floor, going 2-for-12 and scoring just five points, he dished out 16 assists and was a big part of the Pistons’ comeback win.

“We’ve got to figure it out,” Stan Van Gundy said when asked about possible lineup changes. “We’ve got to get (Jackson) going. We’ve got to be able to play with the same energy and spirit that we do with (Smith) in there.”

There has long been talk surrounding the Pistons that Jackson’s game just doesn’t vibe with what they want to do on offense. But after the Pistons made no moves at the trade deadline, Jackson is a part of this team for, at the very least, the rest of this season.

“I’m not happy with the way the starters are playing as a unit,” Van Gundy said. “You do something to change that up, and now you change your bench, which has been playing great. It’s a gamble because you run the risk of neither unit being what you want.”

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After the game, Marcus Morris alluded to the stellar play of the bench before mentioning Smith’s play directly.

“I wouldn’t say they’re hungrier,” the Pistons forward said when asked why it seemed the bench has been playing with more hunger lately. “The tempo changes once (Smith) comes into the game. We’re playing fast.”

When pressed again about the bench seemingly playing with more energy, Morris got visibly annoyed before walking away: “You tell me. (Smith) had 16 assists. That’s it right there.”

Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.