After a stinker of a game, the Pistons bounced back with a gem.
The way this season has gone, the Pistons will take wins any way they can get them, even if it’s against another struggling team.
The Pistons had a solid defensive effort and quieted the Oklahoma City Thunder, 132-108, on Monday night in the first game of their five-game western road trip, which continues Tuesday in Denver.
On Saturday night, the Pistons fell to the New York Knicks in a 44-point blitzkrieg but turned the tables on the Thunder with better shooting and improved defense.
“More than the victory itself, the response and the way we came out and played and the approach we had was a very energetic and together approach, and that was important,” coach Dwane Casey said. “This is one of the toughest road trips we’re going to have this year and we’re going to need all hands on deck the rest of the road trip.”
Jerami Grant had 21 points, five rebounds and five assists, Josh Jackson 14 points and Isaiah Stewart — in his third start of the season — 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks for the Pistons (15-35).
In the first quarter, the Pistons got going with a 17-0 run, with 10 of those points from Grant. Jackson started the run with a 3-pointer but left shortly thereafter because he picked up his second foul.
Theo Maledon (14 points) and former Piston Svi Mykhailiuk helped keep the Thunder (20-30) in the game, but the Pistons had good offensive balance, with seven players scoring in double figures, including Sekou Doumbouya, who had a season-high 14 points.
Stewart had four blocks in the first quarter and set the tone defensively with his physical play in the paint and helping to keep the Thunder on lockdown early.
“After the (Knicks) game at home before we got here, it rubbed me the wrong way and rubbed everybody the wrong way,” Stewart said. “We definitely wanted to come out this game with that intensity on defense and play the right way.
“I wanted to come out and set the tone defensively and just get it going that way and the offense would take care of itself.”
The Pistons finished the first quarter with a 30-19 lead and started with the first 12 points of the second quarter, with a drive and a 3-pointer by Frank Jackson and a lay-in by Doumbouya. The Thunder answered with a 12-0 run, including six straight points by Justin Robinson (nine points). Mykhailiuk had seven points in the second period and the Pistons’ lead was 58-47 entering halftime.
In the third quarter, the Pistons pulled away, with an 8-0 run, with 3-pointers by Grant and Saddiq Bey, who tied the franchise record for 3-pointers in a season. After a lay-in by Saben Lee, the Pistons led, 66-51, and the Thunder rallied with six straight points by Maledon.
With an 11-2 run, the Pistons answered, before Mykhailiuk scored on a steal and dunk and then on a drive. The Pistons kept pouring it on, stretching the lead to 18 and they pushed the lead to 93-77 entering the fourth quarter and had the game well in hand.