Pistons rack up 37 assists, sizzle from 3-point line in 20-point win over Knicks
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Three quick observations from Wednesday night’s 122-102 win over the New York Knicks at Little Caesars Arena
THAT’S TEAMWORK – With a little more than three minutes left in the third quarter, Andre Drummond powered toward the basket but instead of trying to force his way any further against a compacted Knicks defense he kicked it out to Luke Kennard at the 3-point line. Kennard’s basket was the 36th of the night for the Pistons, the 30th to draw an assist. On the next possession, Kennard returned the favor, patiently spying the defense for an opening and hitting Drummond for an easy hook shot at the shot-clock buzzer. The 31st assist established a new season high for the Pistons with nearly 15 minutes of game time remaining. They finished with 37 assists on 44 baskets, an incredible ratio. All nine Pistons who played in the first half recorded at least an assist and five players finished with five or more, led by Kennard and Drummond with seven each. As usually seems to happen, when the ball moves like that, the Pistons shot well, including 15 of 30 from the 3-point arc led by Tony Snell’s 6 of 6. Drummond finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead five Pistons in double figures in their most lopsided win of the season.
WOOD PITCHES IN – Christian Wood has a way to go in areas such as consistency and attention to detail – things Dwane Casey points out in any discussion about Wood – but there’s no denying his unique skill set and ability to put up points in a hurry. It doesn’t translate every night, but there is no small number of matchups in which Wood presents opposing teams with a challenge for his length, quickness and touch. He put that on display in a four-minute burst in the first quarter in which he scored seven points, including two where he contorted himself to corral an off-target lob pass with one hand behind his head and a step-back triple to beat the shot clock. Wood also made a nice play in transition as the ballhandler in the middle of the floor, waiting for precisely the right time to drop a bounce pass to Langston Galloway for a layup. To end the third quarter, Wood stayed with Knicks guard Wayne Ellington and smothered his 3-point attempt to preserve an 11-point lead. In the second half, Wood didn’t score but he did grab eight rebounds.
COMPLEMENTARY PUNCH – Especially while the Pistons are lacking the scoring punch of Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose and Reggie Jackson, they’re going to need more scoring from their complementary players. Tony Snell is one such player, a seven-year veteran with ample starting experience and a career-long above-average 3-point shooter. Snell matched his season high of 10 points in the first five minutes against the Knicks, displaying a little more aggression than he’s shown so far. Snell tripled on a set play on the game’s first possession, went to the basket to score in traffic, hit a pull-up transition three and then got out to score a breakaway dunk for his early 10 points. He hit another triple early in the second quarter and got to halftime with 15 points, added another in the third quarter and finished with 24 points on 9 of 9 shooting. Snell also showed some playmaking skill with a move to the basket he punctuated by spotting Andre Drummond for a lob dunk. Markieff Morris is another, expected to come off of the bench but thrust into the starting lineup by Blake Griffin’s injury. Morris scored 12 first-half points and heated up early in the second half, scoring 10 points in the third quarter to also top his previous Pistons scoring high of 17 points. Morris finished with 22 points on 7 of 11 shooting, hitting 4 of 7 from the 3-point line. Ex-Piston Marcus Morris, his twin brother, scored 18 for the Knicks.