Reggie Jackson's huge second half powers Pistons
Auburn Hills — After going through struggles in February and trying all season to get back to his top form, Reggie Jackson had a throwback quarter.
Last season, Jackson was among the NBA’s best in fourth-quarter production but after knee tendinitis sapped much of his burst and lift in the preseason, he’s struggled to get back.
Monday’s fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls was a reprise.
Jackson was 10-of-10 from the field scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, pushing the Pistons to a 109-95 win over the Bulls. He had 14 points in the fourth quarter, sending The Palace crowd into a frenzy, as he flexed toward the bench, hearkening back to last season’s heroics.
The victory moves the Pistons (31-32) into a tie for seventh place with the Bulls, but because the Pistons lead the season series, 2-1, they also hold the tiebreaker. They also moved within a game of the Indiana Pacers — whom they play on Wednesday.
“He was certainly efficient: 10-for-10 in the second half from the floor,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Jackson showed the full repertoire, hitting jumpers in the lane and scoring in the paint, with a couple three-point plays during a fourth-quarter surge. He scored 10 points during a 3½-minute stretch, after the Pistons pulled ahead for good to start the fourth quarter.
The Pistons led, 83-82, before an 8-0 run, including a hook by Jackson, to push the lead to nine with 6:01 left. Robin Lopez (18 points) ended the spurt with a lay-in, but Jackson answered with a three-point play.
It was the second game of Van Gundy’s revamped minutes rotation with Jackson and backup Ish Smith, playing each in six-minute spurts in the first and third quarters.
“It’s only two games, so I can’t necessarily say that’s it — but it’s worked,” said Jackson, who played 31 minutes and added six assists. “I’m sure coach is going back to it. We’re playing well and starting to find a stride and everyone is starting to feel more healthy and guys are feeling good.”
The Pistons stretched the lead to 102-88 after Jackson hit a drive and followed with another three-point play at the 3:13 mark.
Jimmy Butler (27 points, nine rebounds) tried to keep the Bulls (31-32) in it, as Dwyane Wade (knee) and Rajon Rondo (ankle) sat out the game. Butler hit a pair of free throws, but Jackson followed with a jumper. The Bulls pulled within nine on a 3-pointer by Anthony Morrow and a jumper by Butler, but Jackson closed the door with a putback jumper for a 106-95 advantage with 1:08 left.
Six Pistons scored in double figures, including Jon Leuer with 16 points, Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris with 13 points each. Andre Drummond and Aron Baynes added 12 points each.
The Bulls jumped to a 26-14 lead after the first quarter, but the Pistons’ bench — led by Baynes and Stanley Johnson — helped trim a 10-point deficit to four in the final two minutes, finishing with a 10-4 spurt. That included a pair of baskets by Smith and ended with a putback by Leuer with 6.8 seconds left, cutting the Bulls’ lead to 55-51 at halftime.
Baynes had eight points in the quarter, including two dunks, to spur the comeback.
“Aron played a great game. He got the energy flowing for us, especially in the second quarter, with his tenacity out there on the defensive end,” Harris said. “On the offensive end, he was running the court. We had a lot of great efforts from a lot of guys.”
Jackson scored the Pistons’ first eight points of third quarter, with a jumper and then back-to-back 3-pointers. On the next possession, Drummond gave the Pistons the lead for the first time since 2-0.
Drummond was intentionally fouled twice — and made three of four attempts. Cameron Payne (14 points) answered with a pair of 3-pointers on the next two Bulls possessions, pushing the lead to 77-73 at the 2:19 mark, but the Pistons stayed close, with another Drummond free throw, a split of free throws by Johnson and a dunk by Harris to tie it at 77.