Andre Drummond's monster game not enough; Pistons' skid hits 6
Detroit — Andre Drummond wasn’t trying to send a message about his perceived snub after the All-Star reserves were announced on Tuesday night.
His performance said otherwise.
Drummond had his best games of his career, posting an All-Star-worthy stat line: season highs of 30 points and 24 rebounds and added six blocks, four assists, and three steals. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time a player has notched such a stat line, since blocks and steals became official statistics in 1973-74.
It still wasn’t enough.
The Pistons squandered a nine-point lead in the final 3:17 of regulation, then gave up a critical 9-0 run in a 54-second span in overtime and fell to the Utah Jazz 98-95 on Wednesday night at Little Caesars Arena.
It’s the sixth straight loss and ninth in the last 11 games for the Pistons (22-24), who also have lost four consecutive games at home and have fallen two games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
“I’m just out here trying to win basketball games. It’s tough to drop another one,” said Drummond, who played 39 minutes. “When you want to win that bad, you’re willing to do whatever.
“I don’t care about the stat line; I don’t like losing, so I tried to give it another notch to try to get a win tonight. It just wasn’t enough.”
The Pistons looked to be in control after a 10-0 run, with seven straight points by Drummond, including a block on Rudy Gobert and a steal and dunk, before a putback and a 3-pointer by Tobias Harris (13 points) at the 3:17 mark.
The losing skid looked to be over, but the Jazz (20-28) rallied, with eight straight points, including a hook by Gobert (15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks), a jumper by Joe Johnson, then a lay-in from Ricky Rubio (11 points, 10 rebounds and five assists) and another jumper by Johnson, to make it 88-87 with 49.7 seconds left.
Drummond split a pair of free throws with 11.8 seconds remaining and on their final trip, Drummond blocked Donovan Mitchell’s shot out of bounds, leaving 5.9 seconds. But Joe Ingles (13 points and seven assists) got free on the ensuing inbounds play and put in a shot with 4.5 seconds remaining.
The Pistons had a chance to win it, but rookie Luke Kennard (10 points and season-high 10 rebounds) missed a 3-point attempt and the game went to overtime.
“(Frustration) is high. We’re going to be frustrated when we’ve dropped six,” Harris said. “It’s frustrating being at home versus teams that we should be able to come in and take care of business against.”
Drummond got a lay-in on the first possession of overtime but the Jazz responded with the next nine points, all on 3-pointers. Ingles hit back-to-back 3s and Mitchell (15 points, on 6-of-21 shooting) added the third, for a 98-91 margin at the 3:03 mark.
Drummond kept the Pistons in it with a tip-in and was fouled on the next possession, but missed both free throws. He got a putback dunk with 33 seconds left to trim the deficit to 98-95.
The Pistons had another shot, after Gobert was fouled missed both free throws with 1.8 seconds left. Drummond got the rebound but his heave from three-quarters court was off the mark and the losing streak was extended.
Here are some other observations from the matchup against the Jazz:
The Pistons got their first glimpse of Mitchell, whom they passed on in last year’s draft and picked Kennard. Mitchell didn’t have an outstanding shooting game but played 43 minutes and was active on both ends.
► The Pistons went with a different starting lineup, using Langston Galloway at point guard and Stanley Johnson at small forward, for the injured Reggie Bullock. Galloway struggled on defense but opened with a spark, with five points in the first three minutes, and adding four assists in 20 minutes. Galloway finished 2-of-7, including 1-of-3 on 3-pointers.
► Boban Marjanovic got the minutes at backup center, ahead of Eric Moreland. Marjanovic was solid on the offensive end and had four points and six rebounds, on 2-of-4 shooting. The Jazz were able to exploit Marjanovic on the defensive end, including a 13-2 run during a stretch at the end of the third and early in the fourth quarter.
► Stanley Johnson was 3-of-12 from the field, but was better defensively. He finished with seven points, five rebounds and four assists. It’s not clear whether he’ll continue to play in the starting role, with Bullock’s thumb injury.