Knicks Knocked Down

Drummond’s eye-popping 26 boards leads to critical Pistons win over Knicks


The story of the game in Pistons red, white and blue

WHITE HOT – The Pistons snapped a four-game losing streak, dealing the Knicks their seventh straight loss, and won a game that was essential for their flagging playoff hopes. Andre Drummond put up monstrous numbers – 17 points and 26 rebounds, most boards by a Piston since Ben Wallace’s 28 12 years ago – to lead them with his 44th double-double of the season. He played 46 minutes. The Pistons held the Knicks to 55 points over the final three quarters and to 39 percent shooting for the game. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 28 points.

BLUE COLLAR – John Loyer didn’t use his bench very much, given the magnitude of the game where his team’s playoff chances were concerned. But he got significant contributions from Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum and, in fact, used that tandem down the stretch when the Pistons pulled away by outscoring the Knicks 19-10 to start the fourth quarter. Stuckey finished with 16 points and two assists in 27 minutes and Bynum with 16 points and three assists in 18 minutes.

RED FLAG – The Pistons started slowly in road losses last week to San Antonio and Houston and did it again against a struggling team that had suffered three straight blowout losses over the previous four days in nationally televised games. Detroit committed six turnovers in the first quarter and trailed by 14 before rallying to close within eight at the end of the quarter. New York outscored the Pistons 10-0 in points off turnovers in the quarter. Both teams wound up committing 17 turnovers and the Pistons came back to outscore the Knicks 18-17 in points off miscues.

Andre Drummond punched in and logged another quietly effective, borderline dominant first half against the Knicks on Monday. He had 13 boards and three blocks by halftime, but the Knicks – selling out to take away lanes for lob dunks from him – limited Drummond to only five points and two shot attempts.

But the big picture wasn’t good. In a game about as close to must-have as it gets with 23 left to play and the Pistons sitting four back in the loss column of Atlanta for the final playoff spot, the Pistons trailed by five at the break.

Midway through the third quarter, Drummond took the wraps off.

In a span of less than three minutes, he scored nine straight Pistons points as they stretched a two-point lead into a seven-point cushion that was never threatened. He finished with 17 points and a career-best 26 rebounds, the most by any Piston in a dozen years since Ben Wallace grabbed 28 in March 2002 against Boston.

“It’s unbelievable,” Josh Smith smiled. “This is one of many he’s going to have in his long career. He has a knack for rebounding, especially on the offensive end. I haven’t really seen a person (like) that who goes aggressively to the boards and gets a lot of tip-ins or extra possessions for a team. He’s playing great for us.”

A little perspective on Drummond’s eye-popping backboard dominance. Knicks center Tyson Chandler, a former Defensive Player of the Year and U.S. Olympic team center whose path is one Drummond is rapidly following, finished with 18 rebounds of his own. Drummond had 19 defensive rebounds alone.

" It was a total team effort and that’s what I told the guys. They were a pleasure to coach tonight."

- John Loyer on team effort
Full game quotes
And that goes to the defense the Pistons played, especially after surrendering 30 points in the first quarter. Over the middle two quarters, when they seized control, they gave up just 36 points and held the Knicks to 37 percent shooting while forcing eight turnovers. There were plenty of opportunities for Drummond to grab defensive rebounds; the Knicks missed a whopping 51 shots for the game. They shot 50 percent in the first quarter when Carmelo Anthony (28 points) and Amare Stoudemire (22) combined for 18 points on 7 of 9 shooting, including a pair of Anthony triples.

“Defensively, we definitely stepped up,” said Will Bynum, who closed the game and finished with 16 points, as did Rodney Stuckey off the bench. “We had to stop them in transition. Offensively, we were getting good looks. We kept on grinding, kept on working and defensively we played excellent tonight.”

That defense asserted itself right out of the halftime gate. The Knicks scored just four points in the first five minutes as the Pistons took the lead two minutes into the third quarter and grabbed it permanently with 7:45 left in the quarter on Greg Monroe’s offensive rebound and follow. When the offense sputtered to start the fourth quarter – the Pistons missed their first six shots and turned the ball over twice – the Knicks didn’t cut as much as one point off their five-point deficit, missing their first five shots and committing four turnovers before Stoudemire finally scored five minutes into the quarter with the Pistons up by 13.

“In any game there are going to be two or three adversities,” John Loyer said. “We faced an adversity early. They made shots. One of the adversities was if they hit you first and our guys kept a lot of poise. We started making some of those shots and we took care of the basketball as the game went on. Other than our start, I thought we played very, very well.”

Nobody more so than Drummond. Perhaps as remarkable as the 26 rebounds were the more than 46 minutes he played, getting a 51-second rest in the first half and not sitting until 55 seconds remained in the game. That’s a long way from the kid who’d get winded if he played more than five or six minutes during the early weeks of his rookie season.

“Once your adrenaline is flowing, you don’t feel it,” he said. “I wasn’t tired the whole game. I was energized to play and just kept going.”

“You can tell by Andre’s mannerisms, his energy was high the entire night,” Loyer said. “I thought he ran the floor tremendously. They put him in a lot of pick and roll and his pick-and-roll coverage was exactly what we had worked on. He was really in a stance tonight and challenged shots around the goal. We always talk about rebounding balls outside your area; he went and got some balls outside his area. Anybody who can get 26 rebounds in a game, that’s a heck of a job.”

The 17 points were a nice bonus, too.

“They packed the paint and challenged us to kick it out for 3-point shots, but he had a stretch there. One or two of them might have been offensive rebounds that usually he kicks them out, but any time you’re 2 or 3 feet from the basket and you can attack like that … he made some real big plays for us that kind of separated the game.”

As Josh Smith might say, one of many times he figures to do that in his long career.