Pistons keep bombing from 3 in loss to Wizards; Casey vows ‘they will fall’

Reggie Bullock hit 4 of 8 from the 3-point arc in Wednesday’s loss to Washington but his teammates combined to shoot just 8 of 37
Chris Schwegler (NBAE/Getty)
by Keith Langlois
Web Editor

DETROIT – Dwane Casey probably wishes the regular season was a little farther off than it is, but he remains resolutely positive that the Pistons are going to get the corner turned on his vision for their offense.

They continued their prolific 3-point shooting in Wednesday’s 102-97 loss to Washington as more than half of their 87 shots – 45, in fact – were launched from the far side of the arc. Alas, they also continued to shoot them erratically. Their Game 4 26.7 accuracy rate dropped their preseason percentage from the arc to 28.9 percent.

“I like our approach,” Casey said. “I know everyone’s looking, ‘You shoot so many threes!’ They will fall. I promise you.”

A whopping 42.6 percent of the Pistons shots through four preseason games have come from the 3-point line – a number that would have ranked second in the NBA last season only to the record-smashing Houston Rockets.

“How many did we get up today? Forty-four?” (It was later corrected to 45 in the official box score.) “Yeah, I’m happy with it,” Reggie Jackson said. “Coach wants us to get great looks from three and layups, so I think we’re doing a good job of getting the shots they want from us on the shot spectrum. We’re going to continue to take those and be aggressive. We’ll get better and we’ll make some in the future, but right now it’s been a system change and we’re continuing to get better.”

Jackson provided a scare when after playing 17 first-half minutes – and all 12 of the second quarter – he evidenced a stiff gait early in the third quarter and exited three minutes in. Turns out he was at his 20-minute limit, anyway, and spent the rest of the game getting treatment in the locker room for leg muscle tightness.

“That’s it. All’s well,” he said. “Just a little tightness in the legs. Came back here and made sure to work on my body.”

Jackson had a few flashes of his peak form, including a pull-up triple and an impressive and-one finish against Kelly Oubre and Jeff Green. He finished with 10 points and three assists, shooting 3 of 6 overall and 1 of 4 from three.

“Felt great, especially that I didn’t know I went the entire second quarter until I got back here and they alerted me,” he said. “I’m feeling good. I’m excited.”

Casey sounded a little more cautious tone.

“I’m concerned. Is it a result of coming back too quick? I don’t know. We just have to see,” he said.

Casey sees the Pistons grasping the tenets of his offensive system but so far it’s mostly been in practice. In games, not as much.

“We’ve got to transfer practice to the game,” he said. “We move our butts off in practice – cut, back cut, three in line, middle guy slide cut, baseline cut. Then, for whatever reason, we freeze a little bit. We’ve got to relax, have fun and play. It’s a great game and these guys have worked their behinds off in training camp. They’ve got to get their swag back. We’re going to make mistakes. It’s a mistake-driven game. We’ve just got to have fun.”

Reggie Bullock – who made four of his team’s 12 3-point shots on eight attempts while his teammates required 37 tries to make eight triples – says Casey told them much the same in the postgame locker room.

“It’s crazy to say, but coming in off a loss, that’s one of the main things coach Casey is stressing. ‘Have fun, have fun, this is a game. Just try to have fun and try to play with a lot of enthusiasm.’ We’re doing it in practice and we’ve got to try to transfer those things to games.”

Blake Griffin also reached his minutes limit before the stretch run, when Washington outscored the Pistons 8-3 after Glenn Robinson III’s triple tied the game at 94 with 2:27 to play. Griffin finished with 16 points and four assists in 27 minutes.

Andre Drummond finished with 17 points and 19 rebounds and everybody’s anxious to finish games with the lineup that Casey envisioned fielding when he plotted their course over the summer.

“With the combination of Reggie, Blake and Andre, when those three guys are all healthy, it’s a pretty tough task for any team to be able to stop those three,” Bullock said. “At the same time, we have great other role players on this team that know their roles and try to do it to the best of their ability. We’ve just got to make shots for those players.”

Casey promises it will happen. He’d probably sleep a little better if it starts to happen on Friday – the last preseason tune-up before next week’s season opener against Brooklyn at Little Caesars Arena.