Pistons go up big early and take care of business, top Bulls for 4th straight win
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Three quick observations from Friday night’s 107-88 win over the Chicago Bulls at Little Caesars Arena
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS – That’s what the Pistons did with Chicago and have done for the first four games of the season’s longest home stand. With Golden State and Oklahoma City on tap Saturday and Monday to wrap the six-game stretch, the Pistons got up early and wound up with a relatively sweat-free win over Chicago – their fourth straight win and eighth in the last 10 games. Reggie Jackson scored 14 points in the first nine minutes, hitting all five of his shots including four triples, as the Pistons took a quick double-digits lead, went up 13 after a quarter and 15 at halftime. The Bulls used a 17-7 run in the first five minutes of the third quarter – rookie Wendell Carter, who scored a career-best 28 points, had 15 of the 17 – to pull within five, but the Pistons responded with a 12-0 run. The Bulls briefly came back within nine points early in the fourth quarter. Jackson finished with 20, Blake Griffin had 20 points and 10 boards and Andre Drummond 19 points, 20 rebounds, four blocks and two steals.
BROWN DOING WORK – Bruce Brown continues to earn minutes with his defense. Brown entered the game late in the first quarter – playing with an all-bench unit that included Stanley Johnson, Ish Smith, Zaza Pachulia and Langston Galloway – and didn’t come out until the halftime break. His second-quarter minutes were spent on Bulls guard Zach LaVine, averaging 25.6 points for the season. LaVine shot just 1 of 5 in nine minutes of the quarter – Brown blocked one of his shots – with two turnovers. He had just four points at halftime and finished with eight on 3 of 12 shooting. Brown didn’t take a shot until the fourth quarter when he scored on two drives. He finished with four points, three rebounds and two assists.
KENNARD CLOSE – Luke Kennard practiced with the Grand Rapids Drive on Thursday and played in their game Friday against the Lakeland Magic. Kennard, who has missed 15 games with a separated shoulder suffered in an Oct. 26 win over Cleveland, took a while to get going but heated up quite nicely. Kennard played in five-minute stretches to open the first three quarters before stretching it out a little in the fourth as the Drive – who fell behind 34-14 after a quarter – made a late comeback. He was 0 of 3 and scoreless in the first quarter, but scored eight points in the second and came back with nine in the third quarter and 10 more in the fourth to finish with 27 points, five rebounds and five assists. Kennard hit 7 of 13 shots, including 5 of 8 from the 3-point line and 8 of 10 free throws and committed just one turnover. If Kennard reports no ill effects from Friday’s return, Casey expects to have him either Saturday when Golden State visits Little Caesars Arena or Monday when the Pistons host Oklahoma City. Casey said the likelihood is that Kennard will be in competition for minutes with Langston Galloway at that point.