More rough shooting, but more hustle and more defense equals more winning.
Detroit played back-to-back games, traveling from the ATL back home, where the Utah Jazz were waiting to begin their season.
I think we may have finally broke the Trey Burke curse. Remember, the Pistons passed on their home state standout, the national player of the year on Michigan’s runner-up championship team. Sigh.
Fortunately, Utah broke it for us by not starting him. And they fucking blow. Fuck their record after the all-star break last season, fuck the hype: they suck.
I think we had five points midway through the first quarter, but the Jazz couldn’t score, too. We came back and took a one point lead before the clock expired. The second quarter wasn’t pretty, either. But we sustained a close margin when we could have gone down double-digits. This was due to solid defense, despite when our shots weren’t falling.
This idea is being beaten to death for a reason. If you play great D, even on nights when you can’t buy a bucket, you will still have a chance to win. I am sold on Stan Van Gundy.
After cooling down at halftime, we scorched the ensuing frame. With an emphasis on Andre Drummond down low, we took the lead and established control of the game. Everyone was fighting hard. “James Franco” now has five charges in two games. Dude’s looking like a wall out there.
There was one error that almost cost Van Gundy the game. In the trailing minutes of the fourth, he let our lead slip away until it was stole right from under us with the shot clock expired. Twenty-three seconds left. He admitted afterwards he should have took timeout. Second game of the year, it’s forgivable as long as he gets it.
Thankfully, for a raucous crowd at the Palace, Reggie Jackson drove the lane, drew the defender in the air, and finished easily to re-take the lead. A poor final effort from “Percy,” Utah’s coach, sealed the deal for Detroit. Credit the defense down the stretch, specifically a flying Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who swatted a tying three with under ten seconds remaining.
Friday presents a formidable task for the young Pistons, hosting the also 2-0 Chicago Bulls. Play hard and whoop some ass, boys.