Pistons rally from 18 down, lose Drummond to fouls, then lose a tough one
Jesse D. Garrabrant (NBAE/Getty)
PHILADELPHIA – The Pistons lead the NBA in comeback wins from double-digit deficits with seven. Stan Van Gundy admires their tenacity but laments their half-to-half inconsistency.
“The game’s 48 minutes long and this habit we’re now developing where we’re going to try to play 24 of ’em, it’s not going to work,” he said after what might have been their best comeback yet – this one from 18 down in the second half – fell short despite the fact they took a three-point fourth-quarter lead.
They might have completed it but for two things: Andre Drummond fouled out with 2:35 to play with the Pistons down three points and the game-long inability to grab defensive rebounds and prevent Philadelphia from converting second chances into killer 3-pointers. It resulted in a 108-103 win that handed the Pistons back-to-back losses for just the second time this season.
“I think five threes, at least, were off second chances, ball coming out,” Van Gundy said. “We’ve become a bad rebounding team and we’re going to have to change it. We don’t rebound the ball.”
Philadelphia outrebounded the Pistons 47-36 one night after Washington held a 47-32 edge. The 76ers had a 17-7 advantage in offensive rebounds and the exact margin in second-chance points.
“That was tough for us,” said Drummond, who had 14 points, 11 boards, six assists against just one turnover and five steals in 35 minutes before fouling out. “Having their guards come in and grab offensive rebounds, we’ve got to do a better job adjusting to that. Makes it tough for me. I’m not going to grab every rebound when I have everybody on my back, so we’ve got to do a better job of blocking everybody out.”
The Pistons did as well as anyone could reasonably expect to do in containing Philadelphia’s dynamic 1-2 punch – the cherished product of “The Process,” the painful experience of deliberately losing for several seasons to amass premium lottery pick – of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid scored 25 points but shot just 7 of 21 and turned it over six times. Simmons finished with five points, 10 boards, six assists and four turnovers.
“I think we did a good job on (Simmons) and Embiid,” Van Gundy said. “Embiid got to the line some (11 of 12), but 7 for 21 and six turnovers. I thought Andre did a terrific job on him. I thought we did a good job on Simmons. The difference in the game was their offensive rebounding – our inability to rebound and then them capitalizing and getting 17 second-chance points. To me, that’s the game.”
“That was a huge momentum thing for them,” said Tobias Harris, who led the Pistons with 27 points on 9 of 15 shooting and 3 of 6 triples, of Philly’s second-chance scoring. “They were able to get two good locks.”
“Once you get down so much, then you fight back, any time you send somebody to the line or they get a rebound and make a shot after you stop them the first time, it’s kind of a heartbreaker,” said Reggie Jackson, who added 25 points and hit 9 of 13 shots.
Jackson scored 18 and Harris 17 after halftime as the Pistons outscored Philly 56-45. But they gave up 63 points in the first half – after surrendering the identical number in the second half to squander a six-point halftime lead at Washington the previous night.
“We didn’t fold because we really didn’t put too much into the first half,” Harris said. “So we had to come out and play with some more intensity and more focus. That’s what we did tonight, but we’ve got to put four quarters together.”
“Second half last night, first half tonight,” Van Gundy said. “Virtually no energy at all. No reason for it. If you’re going to have no energy on a set like this, it would be in the second half tonight. You’d run out of gas. We had more energy in the second half. So it’s not a physical thing; it’s a mindset thing and I’m really disappointed. I’m going to be honest. I like the comeback. I like the way we fought. But I don’t like that we’re not getting consistent energy and effort throughout the game.”