Pistons fall to Washington as they stay cold from the 3-point arc
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Three quick observations from Wednesday night’s 102-97 loss to the Washington Wizards at Little Caesars Arena
A SCARE, THEN RELIEF – Maybe the most notable news came from Reggie Jackson – first good, then ominous, then relief. Jackson went all 12 minutes of the second quarter, playing 17 first-half minutes to match his total from Monday’s preseason debut. His best moment came on a strong drive down the left side with Kelly Oubre on his hip and Jeff Green in front of him. Jackson converted a strong left-handed finish off the glass and drew the foul. He had 10 points and three assists in the first half. But only a few possessions into the third quarter Jackson’s gait was noticeably different and he came out of the game less than three minutes into the second half. Initially seated along the baseline, Jackson soon went back to the locker room and didn’t reappear. The verdict: muscle tightness in his legs. Trainers accompanied him to the locker room to get him stretched out. He finished with 10 points and three assists in 20 minutes. The other Pistons starter being eased back, Blake Griffin, went 27 minutes and scored 16 points with four assists, getting to the line nine times. Griffin didn’t play down the stretch of the fourth quarter with the game on the line – remember, it’s preseason. The Pistons are 1-3 with one left, Friday vs. Cleveland at Michigan State’s Breslin Center.
ROTATION WINNOWING – Dwane Casey said his rotation for the final two preseason games would be streamlined and more in line with what to expect for the regular season. With that in mind, it appears that Blake Griffin is poised for most minutes at backup center. Jon Leuer got a first-quarter cameo to “knock off some rust,” as Casey said, but other than that it was Griffin at center when Andre Drummond sat. Henry Ellenson and Zaza Pachulia didn’t play, but Casey made use of six wings – starters Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson plus Luke Kennard, Langston Galloway, Glenn Robinson III and Bruce Brown – in the first half alone by sticking Johnson and Robinson at power forward as well as small forward. Zach Lofton, the camp invitee making a case for elevated status, again got a look in the second half and scored five points in eight minutes before leaving after getting hit in the face and opening a cut.
THREES GALORE – The Pistons came into Wednesday’s game taking an average of 38 triples a game with 40 percent of their attempts coming from the 3-point arc – and those numbers go up after the Pistons shot more than half of their attempts from the 3-point arc, 44 of 86. There were only two NBA teams last season that shot more than 40 percent of their field-goal attempts from the 3-point arc: Houston, which led the league by a wide margin at 50 percent and Brooklyn at 41 percent. Dwane Casey’s Toronto Raptors ranked fifth at 37.7 percent and the pistons were 16th at 33.3 percent. Their accuracy in preseason has been the issue as they were at just under 30 percent through three games and stayed there by hitting 27 percent against Washington. Reggie Bullock, one of the top 3-point shooters in the NBA last season, was 5 of 14 over the first three games but hit 3 of 5 in the first half while his teammates were 1 of 15. Bullock finished 4 of 8, his teammates 8 of 36. Langston Galloway, coming off of a 24-point game on Monday, was the only Piston besides Bullock to make more than one three, going 2 of 6.