It’s been an odd season for the Detroit Pistons. They started a woeful 5-23, then won 12 of their next 15 to improve to 17-26, then lost four straight, and now they’ve won two straight after back-to-back home wins against Houston and Miami.
Detroit beat Houston, 114-101, on Saturday, and Miami, 108-91, on Tuesday. While both wins were by double digits, neither came easy. In fact, the Pistons overcame a 34-point performance by Chris Bosh to beat the Heat.
“It was a great win,” Detroit shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said on Ferrall on the Bench. “We want to keep the energy up like we did in the last home game against Houston. We said we wanted to keep the energy going and just pressure and try to turn the ball over and go score on the other end.”
The Pistons led 33-12 after the first quarter, gave Miami a little bit of hope in the second quarter but kept the Heat at bay in the second half. All five Detroit started finished in double-figures, including Caldwell-Pope, who scored 18 on 8-of-19 shooting from the floor. Greg Monroe, Kyle Sinlger and Andre Drummond scored 12, 13 and 14 points, respectively, while Jodie Meeks added 10 points off the bench.
But it was D.J. Augustin who was unstoppable. The Pistons point guard had 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, made all seven of his free throws, grabbed four rebounds and dished out 13 assists.
“He’s been playing great,” Caldwell-Pope said. “He’s been patient with the ball and not turning it over, running the offense and also been playing good on the defensive end as well, getting his hands on loose balls and pushing in transition.”
Both teams actually shot well from the floor – 47.3 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from three for Miami, and 47.7 percent and 45 percent, respectively, for Detroit – and both made 15 free throws. But Detroit was a little tougher on the glass, out-rebounding Miami, 45-35. Drummond finished with a game-high 14.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” Caldwell-Pope said. “You’re going to make runs, so we just had to get back to what we did in the first quarter. We really had to get back to pushing in transition, getting stops, boxing out, rebounding and just running the floor. Try to get easy baskets.”
Caldwell-Pope said Detroit’s effort and energy has been great each of the last two games.
“We just been playing well, really just been playing well together,” he said. “Moving the ball, getting stops on the defensive end and scoring. So it’s really just been going good.”
Detroit (19-30) now trailed Charlotte (21-27) and Miami (21-27) by just 2.5 games for the seventh and eighth seeds, respectively, in the East.
If the Pistons hope to make the playoffs they’ll have to do so without Brandon Jennings, who tore his Achilles in January. That injury, however, didn’t stop Jennings from talking a little smack on Twitter, saying that LeBron James – paraphrasing slightly – runs too much when things get tough.
“I don’t know what was said in the press, but Brandon Jennings has been great for us,” Caldwell-Pope said. “(After) the injury he had, (we’re) really just (trying) to keep it going with him out.”
The Pistons play the Pacers (17-32) in Indianapolis on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.