The Detroit Pistons came up just short against the James Harden-led Brooklyn Nets Friday night, 113-111. While Blake Griffin made his third appearance for his new team, the Nets were without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Harden scored 44 points in 42 minutes and was just two assists short of a triple-double. Griffin made his presence felt, scoring 17 and annoying the Pistons along the way.
The first half was bad.
It had just about everything you could imagine.
First off, so many fouls. SO MANY. 27 in the half, and 40 free throws attempted. To say that the first 24 minutes didn’t have any flow — well, that would be a massive understatement.
The first half also had an epic flop by none other than Griffin. It led to an ejection of Isaiah Stewart as Griffin’s flop job was picture perfect.
The referees took about 20 minutes (give or take 15) to come to the conclusion to give Griffin a technical while issuing a flagrant-2 to Stewart that meant his ejection from the game.
The first half included two corner 3-point attempts from famous snipers DeAndre Jordan and Mason Plumlee. Yikes. Neither shot came close to going in the basket.
On a better note, the first half also had this from Magic Plumlee:
Rodney McGruder started at point guard for your Detroit Pistons, and his lone basket of the half in seven minutes was this beauty:
The Pistons trailed the Nets 59-50 at intermission. Harden controlled the half with 17 points and five assists. Bruce Brown and Blake Griffin combined for 15 points and made multiple heady and veteran basketball plays we’ve come to expect from them from their time in Detroit.
The Pistons won the third quarter by five, and held the lead briefly twice. A long, athletic, and scrappy lineup of Tyler Cook, Jerami Grant, one of the newest Pistons Hamidou Diallo, Josh Jackson and Saben Lee made Brooklyn’s offense sputter. Grant hit three field goals to get himself going.
The final quarter saw the dynamic backcourt duo of Cory Joseph (newest new Piston) and Frank Jackson keep the Pistons in it. Joseph kept the Nets on their heels with his speed and Jackson scored all 14 of his points in the fourth.
In all, James Harden’s mastery of all things pace, passing, and putting the ball in the hoop was really more than enough. His teammates sans Griffin and Jordan were just very average tonight.
Harden smartly fouled out with six seconds left as Plumlee was maneuvering down the court with Detroit down three. Plumlee split the free throws. Once Joe Harris split his two free throws, Plumlee was sent back to the line as Griffin fouled him battling for the board. Plumlee split the pair once again. With the Pistons down two — Saddiq Bey stole the inbounds pass from Jeff Green to Griffin. After a Pistons timeout, with 3.3 seconds left and the Pistons down two, Joseph could not get a shot off in time after driving to the paint.
This is a game you would have liked to see Detroit pull out. It was a chippy affair and the Pistons played with toughness. Although, in the grand scheme of things, the tank will sleep sound tonight.