If you just look at the final score, you’ll see that the Detroit Pistons beat the Orlando Magic, 128-118, on Wednesday. The 128 points were a season-high for Detroit, but that wasn’t the most impressive thing about this game.
No, for that, you’ll have to look at the box score.
You ready for this? Brandon Jennings had 24 points and 21 assists. That’s right. Twenty-one assists.
“I’m just having fun, man,” Jennings said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Right now, we’re rolling as a team. We won 12 out of 15, so we’re just trying to get wins.”
They’re getting them – and Jennings is a big reason why. He is the first NBA player to put up a 20-point, 20-assist game since Steve Nash in 2009 and the first Piston to do since Isiah Thomas.
Thirty years ago.
“I was just taking what the defense was giving me,” Jennings said. “I think I started off the game with like seven assists when I came out in the first quarter. Then I ended the half with 11. Then somebody told me, ‘Just go for 20 tonight.’ I said, ‘All right, we’ll see what happens.’ And then I was able to get 21.”
Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, meanwhile, were beasts down low, combining for 50 points, 27 rebounds and four blocks.
“Andre plays a big part in our success, (and so does Moose),” Jennings said. “They’ve both been balling since January. Everybody’s contributing. Andre had a big game, Moose had a big game, and everybody was making shots.”
Detroit shot 52.1 percent from the floor, 41.7 percent from three-point range and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line.
The Pistons (17-26) have been on a tear after starting the season 5-23. They’ve won 12 of 15, and two of the three losses were against Atlanta (35-8), which has won 14 straight games.
“We got to watch tape, (and) we got to see our mistakes (against them),” Jennings said. “We lost (one of the games to Atlanta) by three. We wasn’t making shots. But I think our confidence is so high right now – just the fact that we were in those games. We’re trying to get to the playoffs. That’s our main goal – to get to the playoffs. We’ve been doing so well so far, so why not just try to make a run for it?”
Detroit trails Brooklyn (18-24) by 1.5 games for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Given how well Jennings is playing, however, the Pistons should close that gap in a hurry. He scored 35 in a win over Sacramento, 34 in a win at Toronto and 37 in a win at Indiana. And then came the 20-20 game.
Jennings, in short, is feeling it.
“I think just going in knowing I’m going to have the ball in my hands a lot (helps because I know) I don’t have to force too many shots,” he explained. “I can ease into the game. Also, it comes back to all my hard work. I put on 25 pounds over the summer. I dedicated my whole summer to the basketball gym.”
Detroit plays its next two on the road against Milwaukee (21-20) and Toronto (27-15) this Saturday and Sunday, respectively, before returning home for a game against Cleveland (23-20) on Jan. 27.