Detroit Pistons survive opener, beat Brooklyn Nets 103-100

Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

In a game that was ugly from the start, the Detroit Pistons outlasted the Brooklyn Nets 103-100 on Wednesday at Little Caesars Arena. Andre Drummond had 24 points and 20 rebounds in the season opener.

It’s now how you start, it’s how you finish.

After a poor opening period, the Detroit Pistons (1-0) responded by defeating the Brooklyn Nets (0-1) 103-100 at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday night. Blake Griffin led the club in scoring with 26 points, while Andre Drummond posted 24 points and 20 rebounds.

Like previous battles against the Nets, this one came down to the final seconds. Joe Harris missed a game-tying triple with three seconds remaining. Griffin grabbed the rebound, and the Pistons opened the Dwane Casey era with a victory.

After a touching tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, the franchise’s 71st NBA season began.

Missing would-be starters Stanley Johnson (sore tore) and Reggie Bullock (illness), the Pistons’ starting lineup was thrown out of whack. What appeared awkward on paper didn’t look any better on the court.

The Nets jumped out to an 8-0 lead, and Detroit went scoreless until Luke Kennard scored on a backdoor cut at the 8:54 mark. Brooklyn appeared to be in mid-season form.

Caris LeVert (27 points) caused trouble the entire night with his constant penetration. Jarrett Allen (17 points, 10 rebounds) denied Griffin at the rim for the second time in the past week. Brooklyn forced six Pistons turnovers in the opening quarter.

But Detroit went on a 7-0 run to close the period, and only trailed 29-24. Casey’s bench kept the Pistons alive towards the end of the first half. An Ish Smith layup with 3:25 to play gave them their first lead of the night at 45-43.

Both teams limped to a 51-51 tie at the break. And it was during a 32-point third quarter where the Pistons took control.

A Drummond layup underneath the basket capped off a 9-0 Pistons run, which gave them a 62-56 lead early in the second half. The offense found their groove, but the Nets wouldn’t go away. Detroit had the advantage, 83-76, heading into the fourth quarter.

It looked like the Pistons might pull away, especially when Drummond nailed a catch-and-shoot triple from the top of the key.

Brooklyn had other plans. LeVert continued to attack the basket, and with Drummond in foul trouble, the Pistons could only watch as the Nets drew closer.

Detroit’s offense became stagnant. Reggie Jackson (19 points, four assists) played relatively well, but held onto the ball far too long for several possessions.

LeVert’s floater with 4:26 to play gave the Nets their first lead, 92-91, since the opening minutes of the third quarter.

Just like they had before, Detroit responded. Drummond secured two, key offensive boards down the stretch. The first was a tap towards Jackson, who then drove the lane but missed a contested runner.

Trailing behind him was the Pistons’ center, who corralled the loose ball and put it right back up to give Detroit a 99-94 edge. It was Drummond’s 20th rebound on the night. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Nets would pull to within one on a Harris 3-pointer with 1:14 to go. Detroit squandered a chance to put the game away, giving Brooklyn one more shot with 15 seconds remaining.

But LeVert lost control of the ball amidst a scrum in the paint, and it rolled out-of-bounds off Brooklyn. Jackson made both free throws after being intentionally fouled with 6.2 seconds left, and the Pistons would hold on 103-100.

Next. Staff predictions for the 2018-19 Pistons. dark

The Detroit Pistons will be back in action Saturday night when they visit their long-time rival, the Chicago Bulls. Tipoff from the United Center is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Fox Sports Detroit.