Brandon Jennings led the impressive offensive attack with 35 points, including six three-pointers and a perfect seven of seven from the free throw line. As a team, the Pistons finished 18-of-23 from the charity stripe, good for 78 percent. Detroit can attribute many of their close losses to their consistently poor free throw shooting, so tonight was surely a positive sign.
Josh Smith continued his recent hot stretch as well against the Nuggets; over the past three games, Smith is averaging 26 points and 10 rebounds. On any given night, you never know what type of effort Smith will bring. Hopefully he’s becoming more committed to showcasing his All-Star caliber talent on a consistent basis.
The Pistons are a team that is often frustrating to watch based off of the carelessness they show with the basketball. Tonight, they committed just 10 turnovers. The combination of white-hot shooting, as well as hanging on to the rock, could spell playoffs for Detroit if continued.
An important factor behind the solid stat lines of the Detroit starters was due to the amount of minutes they played. Jennings and Smith played 40 and 46 minutes, respectively. In fact, with the exception of the two minutes played by Jonas Jerebko, Detroit used just seven of its players.
While it led to success tonight, coach Maurice Cheeks should be careful implementing this technique on a consistent basis. Utilizing your bench will keep players away from the injury bug and allows for experimentation with lineup tweaks.
Overall, it was a good team win for Detroit and they will attempt to head into the All-Star break with a three game winning streak if they can beat the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.