1 slow start, OK; a 2nd slow start catches up to Pistons in loss at Brooklyn
Three quick observations from Wednesday night’s 125-115 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center
SLUGGISH STARTS – The Pistons got off to a dreadful start, trailing by 12 points five minutes into the game and shooting 2 of 9 when Dwane Casey called timeout. He got Markieff Morris and Langston Galloway into the game for starters Sekou Doumbouya and Bruce Brown, then shortly after waved in Reggie Jackson and Svi Mykhailiuk. That unit got the Pistons rolling in a hurry on offense. The Pistons roared back – actually took an eight-point lead midway through the second quarter – and had one of their highest scoring halves of the season, trailing 70-68 at intermission. The Pistons never recovered from another sluggish start, though, to open the third quarter when Casey had to get an even quicker timeout after the Nets opened with a 12-4 run to push their lead to 10 in the first three minutes. The closest the Pistons came after that was three points with three minutes left in the third quarter. The bench contributed 44 first-half points and finished with 69. But the Pistons got only 46 combined points from the starters with only Derrick Rose (22) and Andre Drummond (12) finishing in double figures.
SNELL GAME – The Pistons remain a long way from whole, but last week they got Reggie Jackson back and this week Tony Snell returned from a three-game absence due to illness. That left them with just Blake Griffin and Luke Kennard missing among rotation mainstays. Snell slid back into his customary spot in the starting lineup but his shot suffered, it appeared, from the week out of action. Snell finished with six points on 2 of 8 shooting (2 of 7 from the 3-point arc) with three rebounds and three assists. Derrick Rose started and will continue to do so, Dwane Casey said, until Reggie Jackson is cleared to play more minutes. “I know if he starts, his minutes are going to go up so we want to keep his down right now. That could change.” Jackson looked sharp in scoring 17 first-half points, finishing with 23 plus five assists. Rose’s 22 points marked his 13th straight game with 20 or more points, the longest streak of his career. Christian Wood added 20, his highest-scoring road game since joining the Pistons, plus eight rebounds in 21 minutes.
SEKOU’S STRUGGLES – Two weeks after playing the best game of his career, Sekou Doumbouya’s struggles reached a nadir at Brooklyn. Doumbouya scored in double figures in seven of his first eight starts and topped it with 24 points as the Pistons won 116-103 at Boston on Jan. 15. Since then, he has failed to score in double figures in any of seven games and has a combined 27 points in those games. He’s shot 9 of 27 overall and 2 of 19 from the 3-point arc. Doumbouya was on the floor for the 16-4 Brooklyn run to start the game and the 12-4 Nets run to open the second half and that was all the action he saw. He finished minus-20 in eight minutes and failed to record a rebound or an assist. Doumbouya did record one steal.