The Pistons haven't made any deals ahead of Thursday's trade deadline -- but they still have time before the 3 p.m. cutoff time. The Detroit News
Detroit — For most of the game, there might have been as much attention paid to the players on the bench and to social media, looking to see whether a deal was brewing ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
From the Pistons’ perspective, all was quiet on both fronts.
The Pistons and Phoenix Suns had been engaged in trade talks surrounding Luke Kennard, but nothing materialized during the game — and according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the talks between the two teams have stalled because they couldn’t agree on protections for a potential first-round pick that the Pistons would have received.
The game was better than the trade watch.
After a close first three quarters, the Pistons used a 9-2 rally in the final five minutes to pull away and take a 116-108 victory at Little Caesars Arena.
Andre Drummond had 31 points — one off his season high and two from his career high — and added 19 rebounds and four assists. Reggie Jackson added a season-best 25 points and 10 assists and Christian Wood 21 points and eight rebounds for the Pistons (19-34).
Drummond said the team’s focus was on playing well, despite the lingering distraction of the trade deadline.
“That’s all that matters. I think we’ve all come to the realization that we can’t control what happens (with trades),” Drummond said. “At the end of the day, we’ve got to keep putting on the jersey until that time comes — if it comes.”
The Suns (20-31) pulled within 101-100 with 5:33 left on back-to-back baskets by Devin Booker (22 points and seven assists) but Jackson answered with a drive, starting the decisive run. DeAndre Ayton added a basket and finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.
Drummond had 31 points and 19 rebounds in the win over the Phoenix Suns in the Pistons' last game before Thursday's NBA trade deadline. The Detroit News
Drummond answered with a lay-in, Langston Galloway (15 points) added a basket and Jackson punctuated the run with a 3-pointer, for a 110-102 lead at the 3:41 mark.
Kelly Oubre Jr., who had a season-high 30 points, scored on a putback dunk for the Suns, but the Pistons extended the run with a steal and dunk by Tony Snell, along with a Drummond dunk off a feed from Jackson and two free throws from Wood helped push the lead back to 116-106, with 37.2 seconds left.
The Pistons had a 64-61 lead at halftime but the Suns moved ahead on two free throws and a dunk by Oubre and a 3-pointer by Booker, for their largest lead, 74-71, but the Pistons answered with a 9-0 run, with a 3-pointer from Galloway, a basket by Wood and finishing with a 3-pointer by rookie Louis King.
Coach Dwane Casey said he liked the ball movement better than recent games, with the Pistons notching 31 assists on 46 field goals.
“The ball was moving with the kick-outs and we just missed a few, but that’s going to happen. I liked the ball movement and the spacing,” Casey said.
► Wood continued to show his improvement, with a nice burst off the bench. He’s scored in double figures in seven of his last nine games and has been a very good option at backup center. He’s been involved in some light trade rumors, but there’s no indication that the Pistons would deal him; rather, they’re more likely looking to bring him back on a longer-term contract.
► Elie Okobo and Jevon Carter, who were rumored to be coming to the Pistons in the proposed deal for Kennard, both played for the Suns. Each scored three points and got good minutes (11 Carter and 13 for Okobo), as the Suns were shorthanded because of injuries.
► The Pistons had a thin rotation because of injuries to Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris, Svi Mykhailiuk, Kennard and Blake Griffin. All five sat out, which opened playing time for young two-way players Jordan Bone and Louis King. Bone played seven minutes in the first half and went 0-for-3 from the field. King played five minutes in the third quarter and went 1-of-2 from the field, with a 3-pointer.
► Sekou Doumbouya was up and down again, with five points in the first half and he didn’t play in the second half. There wasn’t a concern about a trade there, though, as he seems to be one of the Pistons’ untouchables. Casey has shown that he will monitor Doumbouya’s play and pull him from the rotation as necessary. Casey said he was disappointed in the lack of effort shown by Doumbouya, Bone and King and had planned to play them more minutes, but their lack of energy kept him from doing it.