FAST BREAKDOWN Three quick observations from Wednesday night’s 120-119 overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center
HALLOWEEN WITCHING – Spencer Dinwiddie continues to revel in haunting the team that drafted him into the NBA. He beat the Pistons last season with a last-second shot at Little Caesars Arena and delivered a knife between their shoulder blades on Halloween night in Brooklyn. Dinwiddie scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime, tying the game with a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left, and won it with another 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds in OT. Blake Griffin, who scored the last seven Pistons points, missed a 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds left that would’ve sealed the win and then had a 20-foot jump shot to win it roll off the rim at the overtime buzzer. The Pistons, playing their first back to back of the season, fell behind by 15 points in the first nine minutes but came back to take a halftime lead. The Pistons had a chance to win it in regulation, but Reggie’ Jackson’s driving attempt missed and Andre Drummond couldn’t quite scoop up the rebound for the put-back winner. Drummond and Griffin were among those who looked a half-step slow in the first quarter, but Drummond especially found a higher gear upon returning to finish with 24 points and 23 rebounds. Griffin hit two big triples in the last four minutes of regulation, helping him finish with 24 points to go with nine rebounds and four assists. Stanley Johnson established a career high with 12 rebounds.
BROWN RISING – After watching the products of his first draft with the Pistons, Ed Stefanski said he had a hunch that one of the two rookies he picked four slots apart in June would crack Dwane Casey’s rotation. It didn’t take long for him to have his hunch proven correct. Bruce Brown, taking advantage of injury to Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway’s shooting slump, appears to have moved a few rungs up the ladder quickly. When Reggie Bullock came out of the Brooklyn game and went to the locker room early – he took treatment for a left ankle injury after Tuesday’s game, returned in the second quarter at Brooklyn but at halftime was declared out with a sprained ankle – it was Brown whom Casey called upon over Galloway and Glenn Robinson III. After scoring a high of 10 points in Tuesday’s game in his hometown, Brown impressed again. He was part of the unit when the Pistons began their comeback from 15 down in the first quarter and was on the floor again to close the first half when the Pistons went on a 14-4 run. Brown started the second half in Bullock’s spot and finished with nine points in 29 minutes.
VETS TO THE RESCUE – The Pistons only have three players 30 or older on the roster and all three proved important to rescuing the Pistons from what started as a lethargic effort. The Nets were up 20-12 when Ish Smith, 30, entered the game with 5:18 left in the first quarter and ahead 25-12 at 3:51 when Zaza Pachulia, 34, entered. They sparked a 21-3 run that got the Pistons righted. When Brooklyn regained its footing and again surged into a lead, it was Jose Calderon, 37, who hit two late 3-point shots in the second quarter to finish a 14-4 closing run that put the Pistons ahead by six at halftime. Pachulia played 13 minutes and finished with nine points and three assists. Calderon blew past his previous season high for minutes and points, finishing with eight points in 15 minutes. Smith contributed four points and four assists in 31 minutes.