He couldn’t help the Pistons pull off the upset and earn their first win of 2012, but rookie big man Andre Drummond showed that he is absolutely, unequivocally ready to contribute to this team’s future.
In the team’s 105-94 loss, the 19-year old center had 22 points, eight rebounds, one steal and one block in 21 minutes. He also shot 8-of-10 in the most action he’s seen this year. His frontcourt mate, Greg Monroe, approached yet another triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Both of the Pistons’ young big men were active and physical on the offensive and defensive ends, helping Detroit to 41 rebounds.
Detroit’s backcourt of Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey had another awful shooting night, going 9-of-24 combined, but the duo contributed for 26 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds and just three total turnovers. Not only that, they pressured Oklahoma City’s dynamic point guard Russell Westbrook into 3-of-10 shooting and just 10 points – 8.2 points below his average. The Thunder’s other starting guard, Thabo Sefolosha, didn’t do much offensively either, scoring four points.
The game turned to OKC’s favor primarily because of Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant. One of the more efficient scorers in the league, Durant had 25 points on 16 shots, including two three-pointers that helped clinch the game late. He also led both teams in terms of rebounding with 13. Ibaka matched him on the offensive end, shooting 9-of-13 for 25 points also; he added seven rebounds and three blocks as well.
All in all, this was a game that the Pistons probably shouldn’t have been able to win, considering the recent success and talent level of Oklahoma City. Either way, they nearly pulled it out, despite several breakdowns on defense. If they can learn to minimize the late-game mistakes they’ve made in their season-opening slide, they have the raw talent to get back into the win column.
Detroit will get the chance to avenge their Opening Day loss to the Rockets and get their first win tonight at 8 p.m. Houston star James Harden has cooled off considerably since his breakout game against the Pistons, shooting 17-of-57 (30%) from the field in his last three games. He’s also totaled just 13 rebounds, 11 assists and 16 turnovers in that same span.