Despite starting the season 6-10, the Detroit Pistons have caught fire recently. The Pistons have a 7-4 record in the past 11 games and are 5-2 when scoring at least 100 points over that stretch, both losses coming in overtime.
Detroit has proven to be a tough road team, even when playing against championship contending teams. The Pistons have beaten the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers on the road, driving them to a 5-1 record away from The Palace during this streak.
Andre Drummond has been an absolute monster over the course of the past 11 games. Drummond has totaled eight double-doubles and is averaging 15 points and 14 rebounds per game. He has also been a force on the defensive end of the court. Combining blocks and steals, Drummond is averaging more than three per game. It is clear that he will be one of the most, if not the most, dominating centers in the NBA in no time.
It seems as though Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings can coexist when they are both dominating the ball offensively. Smith and Jennings have shown that they can each play a huge role in the offense in the same game, for the first time all season.
Smith has scored 30 points in two of the last three games, averaging 27 points per game. He has not shown any reluctance to shoot the ball as he pleases in these games, taking a total of 64 shots. This may not pose a problem as long as the team is winning games, but if this continues and they start to lose games, it will be problematic.
In the past three games, Jennings has shown that he can be a facilitator in this offense. During these games Jennings has averaged 20 points and nearly 11 assists. If Jennings can continue to distribute the ball to the hot hand, as well as create scoring opportunities himself, the Pistons will be a tough team to stop offensively.
As great as all these statistics are, the Pistons still have one flaw; the ability to close out games with a fourth quarter lead.
Detroit had a chance to beat the Portland Trail Blazers at home this past Sunday, as they entered the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead. Understandably, no fourth quarter lead is safe in the NBA, but an up and coming team must seize any opportunity it has to beat one of the league’s best teams.
Not only did they blow their chance to beat one of the league’s best teams, the Pistons almost blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead, the game before, to the Brooklyn Nets. In order for this team to seriously be considered as a threat to the Heat or Pacers, they need to find out how to close games out and who is going to have the ball in their hands in the closing minutes.
However, Detroit is currently on a roll and fans should ride out this wave of happiness as far as it will take them.