Brown stuffs the box score as Pistons build big lead, hang on to advance

Bruce Brown did a little bit of everything as the Pistons held on to beat Minnesota and advance to Saturday’s second round of the Summer League tournament
David Dow (NBAE/Getty)
by Keith Langlois
Web Editor

Bruce Brown’s NBA future might be a little unclear as to the specifics – when he’ll crack the rotation, what his ultimate position might be – but it appears wherever they play him he’ll be a stat stuffer.

Brown led the Pistons just about across the board – points, rebounds, assists and steals – as the Pistons rolled to a 19-point halftime lead, briefly fell behind in the fourth quarter but rallied back to beat Minnesota 64-59.

Brown led the Pistons with 15 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and five steals and – with the game on the line in the fourth quarter – Pistons assistant coach Sean Sweeney, running the Summer League team, had Brown play point guard. In 32 minutes, Brown committed just two turnovers.

“He’s a versatile guy and I think he shows that on both sides of the ball,” Sweeney said. “He played some point guard in college and I think him doing that tonight was just something that felt like at the time we needed to give us a boost – handle the ball and make good decisions.”

Brown said, “In college, coach (Jim Larranaga) used to put the ball in my hands when the game was on the line, so I’m really comfortable playing the one and making great decisions.”

In the first half, Brown scored on strong drives to the basket and knocked down a 3-point shot. He finished 6 of 13 shooting and 1 of 2 from the 3-point arc and made two free throws to ice the win in the final seconds.

“I just brought energy to both ends of the floor,” he said. “Got steals, got out in transition and my teammates made the right play for me. … I can play both ends of the floor, I can step up and guard the four when they need, I’m strong enough and I can rebound.”

The Pistons advance to the Summer League tournament second round. They’ll play Chicago, the No. 24 seed to Detroit’s No. 25 seed, at 4 p.m. Saturday. Minnesota was the No. 8 seed.

“The biggest thing we did down the stretch is we maintained our composure,” Sweeney said. “We got a little bit fatigued. We had a couple of guys go out and couldn’t come back in. I thought the guys did a great job of maintaining their composure, really trying to play each possession to completion down the stretch.”

  • It was a miserable shooting night for Henry Ellenson, who missed six shots in the first five minutes of the game and finished 3 of 17. Eventually some of the shot frustration might have leaked into other parts of his game, but Ellenson made three or four strong drives to set himself up for good scoring opportunities that weren’t converted.

    But Ellenson made his last two shots, both clutch baskets. His 3-pointer with a little more than four minutes remaining tied the game at 56 and his driving left-handed layup with 1:22 left put the Pistons ahead by four points. He finished with seven points and seven rebounds.

  • Khyri Thomas, the other Pistons second-round pick, also had a tough shooting night, finishing 2 of 8 in a game the Pistons shot 33.8 percent overall and 24 percent from the 3-point arc. But he, like Brown, was rock solid defensively. Thomas added three steals to Brown’s six.