Knicks Knocked Down
Drummond’s eye-popping 26 boards leads to critical Pistons win over Knicks
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
“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.