I might be the biggest Pistons fan in the world, and even $narf was pleasantly surprised to see his team dominate last year’s team with the best Eastern Conference record.
Besides some bench stretches, Detroit looked the superior team for 48 minutes in Atlanta. Yeah, on the road. And we’re young as fuck.
It’s year two for Stan Van Gundy as our coach, and he re-tooled the roster more to his liking in the offseason. Several fresh faces made their debut last night.
For one, point guard Reggie Jackson was awarded almost $100 million dollars in the offseason to become our new star. Paired with center Andre Drummond, they’re the face of the franchise.
It’s hard to know exactly what to think of owner Tom Gores. Kind of like Mark Cuban, he appears to be a rich douche bag, but at least he’s spending money on us. I think.
Tonight, we’ll make our home debut at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Gores revamped one of the stadium wings to include dining options, with an array of alcoholic beverages. SO win or lose, Pistons fans should have a nice buzz on this season!
Anyways, Detroit opened on the road last night against a pretty solid Hawks opponent. However, all they really displayed was Paul Milsap. Our defense paved the way, and effort and intensity did the rest on offense.
We started out the game really strong, looking much more athletic than Atlanta. Jackson quietly guided the troops all night long, setting up the shooters for 3’s and giving Drummond plenty of post-ups. His only weakness was at the end of the game, where he didn’t quite know how to take it down a gear. Otherwise, he’s a walking triple-double.
Once Jackson sat towards the end of the first, we collapsed. Brandon Jennings is still recovering from his injury, so Steve Blake, the veteran, is our backup. He struggled at times to get a play going before the shot clock expired. Nonetheless, we sustained an even split after one quarter.
That was the key all night long: just withstand their flurries. The Hawks rely on constant perimeter play (puss) and ride their home crowd for stretches, only to eventually resort to sucking. Once the starters were able to finish the first half, the Pistons built a five point lead.
I like Van Gundy’s new Gs. Marcus Morris may have been the unsung MVP, going for 18 and 10 while filling up clutch hoop after clutch bucket. Ersan “James Franco” Ilyasova and Aron “White Ranger” Baynes are going to fit in perfect in Detroit. Both big men banged every minute they played, showing grit I didn’t know they possessed.
The Pistons caught fire in the third quarter and never looked back. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope probably played our most efficient game on the night, draining several shots from downtown. I also loved rookie Stanley Johnson, who looked unafraid to go right at his fellow NBAers. Atlanta had no answers and looked intimidated.
We were without Anthony Tolliver, who rushed home to be with his wife for the birth of their child. Also, backup PG Spencer Dimwiddie appears to be behind Blake on the depth chart. He’s not a bad option off the bench to spell Jackson, either. Someone will need to step up until Jennings is healthy.
Atlanta made a mini-run in the 4th to cut our surmounting lead back under ten. Once again, Jackson entered the game off the bench to help us keep our rhythm. Although, Morris was really the man down the stretch. We looked a little anxious and afraid towards the final minutes, air-balling shots and dribbling with the jitters. Morris stepped up several times and quieted the nerves with big shots.
For a team that went 35-6 at home last season, the Pistons came into Phillps arena and spanked them. We didn’t shoot the lights out, but we killed them on the glass, notably in the second half. Drummond recorded 18 & 19, sealing a big win to start the season.
Look for Detroit to keep it going against pesky foe Utah tonight at home. This should be a much better season than we’ve had in several years, snarfs.