Pistons, with Griffin and Jackson, fall to Nets in OT
Detroit — It was only a preseason game, but the Pistons got to see what they wanted to see. To some degree, the win or loss didn’t matter — it was more about seeing Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson at game speed and in game action.
Griffin had 17 points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes and Jackson added six points in 16 minutes, but the Pistons fell to the Brooklyn Nets, 110-108, in overtime on Monday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Griffin looked his usual self, finding his shot from the perimeter and getting in the paint to cause mismatches. Though there were no injury issues, the Pistons training staff was being cautious with Griffin; it seems to have paid off.
Langston Galloway was the standout, scoring 24 points, including 4-of-8 on 3-pointers, in 35 minutes.
“I just wanted to help my team any way I could,” Galloway said. “I just tried to go out there defensively, first and foremost, just locking in with whoever I had to guard and just tried to help out any way I could, and that’s it.”
The Pistons fell behind, 20-6, after a 16-2 run midway through the first quarter. Jarrett Allen (17 points and nine rebounds) had four early points and Ed Davis had six points in the first period for the Nets, who will return to face the Pistons for the regular-season opener on Oct. 17.
“We got off to a slow start, for whatever reason. We missed a lot of easy shots that I’ll live with and it set the tone the way we played the rest of the way,” coach Dwane Casey said. “I really liked the way our guys competed; we played against their starters with Blake and Reggie being on a minutes restriction — and I like the fight.”
In the third quarter, the Pistons had an 8-0 run to pull within 52-51, but the Nets went on a 17-5 spurt to extend the lead again. The Pistons moved ahead, 77-76, with 1:18 left in the third quarter after a 16-2 run, with back-to-back baskets by Galloway.
D’Angelo Russell had 25 points and Caris LeVert (Michigan) 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Nets.
Here are some observations from Monday’s matchup:
1. Galloway’s return: It seems that Galloway is getting a clean slate from coach Dwane Casey, which bodes well, as he had a miserable season last year. Casey values Galloway’s 3-point shooting in the wide-open offense and is encouraging everyone to take advantage of 3-point opportunities. Galloway is doing that and could crack the rotation if he continues to be efficient — 9-of-17 from the field overall — and hold his own on the defensive end. It’s a crowded wing rotation that Galloway will have to crack, but he could get a serious look when the season begins if he continues as he’s been going.
2. Drummond is fine: After being the standout performer in the first two preseason games, Andre Drummond didn’t look nearly as effective, with 14 points and 10 rebounds on Monday night. Not to worry: Drummond played heavy minutes in those first two games and didn’t look to have the same pep in his step in the third game in less than a week. Casey likely will manage his minutes better over the next two games and have him ready for the regular season. Drummond went 6-of-21 from the field and 2-of-4 on free throws and missed his only 3-point attempt.
3. Zach Lofton opens eyes: He was an unheralded pickup for Summer League but Lofton is showing that he could be earning more than just a trip to the development league to play with the Grand Rapids Drive this season. Given 10 minutes of playing time, Lofton responded with seven points, on 3-of-6 shooting. He doesn’t have a full contract, so another team could give him a deal, but he’s opening eyes with his play in the preseason.
4. Casey isn’t afraid to go small: As he’s done all preseason, Casey had tinkered with lineups and isn’t afraid to go ultra-small. One such lineup had Jackson, Galloway, rookie Bruce Brown, Reggie Bullock and Drummond. It’s still a work in progress to figure out some of the lineups and rotations, but he’s showing the willingness to try different things with unconventional lineups.
“We knew they were going to play with a small lineup, with a (guard) as a (forward) so we matched them a little bit,” Casey said. “We tried Henry (Ellenson) against their small lineup and you have to be able to guard those guys out there.”
5. The bench takes shape: If the playing groups are any indication, the reserve rotation is starting to take shape, with Ish Smith (eight points and nine assists), Galloway or Luke Kennard, Pachulia and Glenn Robinson III. The fifth member could change from game to game, at least until Jon Leuer returns to the lineup. It could mean that there isn’t a traditional 9- or 10-man rotation; rather, it could fluctuate from game to game and include different lineups, depending on an opponent. Rookie Bruce Brown, with some good playing time, also, has shown an affinity, especially on the defensive end.