In the first Piston action of the year, the Detroit Pistons took on the Israeli League Champions, Maccabi Haifa at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Tuesday night. In a game that was overshadowed by another sport in Metro Detroit, the Pistons came out strong early in the first to put the game away before the end of the first quarter.
Mason (Pistons PA Announcer) warmed up the vocal cords on Tuesday to introduce the new look Detroit Piston starting five. Head coach Maurice Cheeks sent out Brandon Jennings and Chauncey Billups to play the guard positions, and finished out the frontcourt with Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond. Monroe, who was questionable to play Tuesday night, seemed to feel alright logging 24 minutes in Tuesday’s contest, T-3rd most minutes played among Pistons.
Something that was clearly in HC Mo Cheeks game plan was the need to get out and run and to force turnovers, that they did. Detroit played fast and upbeat from the get-go. Forcing turnovers that resulted in lay-ups and jams at the other end. The Pistons forced Maccabi Haifa into 26 total turnovers, only 12 for Detroit.
One thing that was of some concern for the Pistons, was the inability to catch and finish near the rim, Piston Center Andre Drummond missed several wide-open lay-ups, along with a missed dunk by Kyle Singler, and a few bunnies that bounced out for Monroe and Smith, but hey, its preseason right?
Brandon Jennings, and Mr. Big Shot, Chauncey Billups, called the shots for Detroit throughout their time on the court together, finding their bigs for quality looks, and moving the ball as well as spacing the floor well for what seems to be a logjam in the paint.
After some “big boy” basketball in the paint throughout the first, Detroit found themselves on top 26-12 after one. At the start of the second, the reserve guys got a go early, resulting in some big minutes for guys like Rodney Stuckey (29 minutes) and rookie guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (24 minutes).
A player that everybody had been raving about throughout training camp, KCP, who struggled immensely Tuesday night. Kentavious finished the game shooting under 10 percent from the floor, 1/12 shooting, going 0/6 from downtown. Even though he may have had a poor outing, KCP showed his underrated athleticism more than once on Tuesday, finishing at the rim for a high flying jam, or on the other end, pinning a shot on the backboard for the block.
The game never really seemed in question, as the Pistons were outscored in the fourth by Maccabi Haifa 29-11, and still managed to trounce the Israeli League Champions 91-69.
– Josh Smith: 27 min; 12 PTS; 6 REBS; 3 ASTS; 2 STLS; 1 BLK
– Greg Monroe: 24 min; 13 PTS; 6 REBS; 4 ASTS; 3 STLS; 2 TO
– Andre Drummond: 24 MIN; 17 PTS; 9 REBS; 3 BLKS; 2 ASTS
– Chauncey Billups: 19 MIN; 2 PTS; 2 ASTS; 1 BLK; 1 REB
– Brandon Jennings: 23 MIN; 15 PTS; 5 STLS; 3 ASTS; 3 REBS; 2 TO
– Rodney Stuckey: 29 MIN; 5 PTS; 3 ASTS; 1 REB
– Kyle Singler: 15 MIN; 11 PTS; 2 REBS; 1 AST; 1 BLK
– Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: 24 MIN; 2 PTS; 7 REBS; 2 STLS; 2 TO; 1 BLK; 1 AST
– Charlie Villanueva: 20 MIN; 11 PTS; 7 REBS; 1 AST; 2 TO
– Tony Mitchell: 18 MIN; 3 PTS; 5 REBS
– Josh Harrellson: 11 MIN; o PTS; 2 REBS; 1 AST; 1 STL
The next preseason matchup for Detroit comes Thursday, October 10th, against the defending world champion Miami Heat. Make sure to checkout all of our coverage during each and every preseason matchup.