Pistons center Andre Drummond sounds off on his back-and-forth with big man Joel Embiid and the win over the Sixers The Detroit News
Auburn Hills — It’s a small portion of Andre Drummond’s paycheck, but he’s glad to hold on to every bit of his money that he can.
With the NBA’s decision Wednesday to rescind the phantom technical foul called on Drummond after Sixers big man Joel Embiid flopped, there’s some vindication.
Drummond also avoided the fine of $2,000 but still has two technical this season. NBA fines escalate to $3,000 after the sixth technical and $4,000 after the 11th, up to a one-game suspension for the 16th infraction.
Embiid also received a warning for flopping, which in the past drew a hefty fine.
It was a critical call, in the final minute of regulation, and was Drummond’s second technical foul of the game, which meant he was ejected and didn’t get to play the end of regulation or in overtime. Replays show that it was an obvious embellishment by Embiid.
“There’s really not much I can say about the officials. The call was made and it was a mistake, obviously,” Drummond said Thursday morning. “It shows what kind of player he is. It is what it is — we won the game and that’s all that matters.”
After the game, Embiid said he owns “a lot of real estate in (Drummond’s) head,” and although the two have gone back and forth with trash talk in their recent meetings, it’s just talk.
“It’s not about bragging rights; I just want to win the game. I have no personal vendetta with him,” Drummond said. “He makes it a thing to say something about me, so obviously, I’m on his mind. I’m just there to win the game and help my team be in the best position to win.”
The Pistons took a 133-132 win in overtime, as Blake Griffin had a career-best 50 points. Drummond, though, had played uncharacteristically in going head-to-head with Embiid, trying to make some tough plays on his own and getting out of his skill set.
Drummond said it’s part of his competitiveness, but after coach Dwane Casey and teammates looked to calm him down, Drummond refocused.
“It’s part of basketball. When you want to win and you feel like you need to do certain things, you get out of yourself,” Drummond said. “I got out of myself for a few possessions. My teammates did a great job of pulling me aside and telling me to relax and just play the game. I did that, and we got the win.”
Casey is more concerned about the ripple effect of the call, having to play without Drummond during the critical juncture of the game. The officials didn’t use video review to check the play; Casey hopes that won't happen in the future.
“I hope our officials will get better at seeing the flop and calling the flop. It took one of our starters out of the game,” Casey said. “Andre is accountable for his actions, but to guess in that situation, whether an elbow was thrown or a knockdown or a punch was thrown, that’s not good for our game, to reward flopping.
“I’d love them to (use video review). If they could, that would be even better, to save us from losing a starter in that situation."
During Griffin’s 50-point performance, the crowd at Little Caesars Arena got into the game, cheering the Pistons and even giving Griffin some “MVP! MVP!” chants. It was a different scene than in recent years, but Griffin and Drummond said they both noticed how things perked up with the crowd.
“That was cool to hear, the eruption of the crowd chanting that out for him," Drummond said. "The way he was playing, it was really cool for me to be a part of that, to hear that. It’s dope because he’s had a tough go with injuries.
“For him to have this start right now, I’m sure it’s a confidence booster for him.”