Like many other NBA writers and analysts, we here at BDL had some reservations about Joe Dumars' offseason decisions to import Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings to join Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in a new-look core designed to bring the Detroit Pistons back to title contention after five straight sub-.500 years and four consecutive trips to the lottery. But while the moves presented new Detroit head coach Maurice Cheeks with an awkward frontcourt fit and the potential for some serious spacing problems in generating half-court offense, it also undeniably improved the Pistons' overall talent level and created the opportunity for some exciting moments when the more athletic and forceful bunch got out on the break and threw caution to the wind.
We caught a glimpse of that in the second quarter of the Pistons' Sunday visit to Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Lakers, when Drummond got his hands on an attempted Steve Blake pass to L.A. big man Jordan Hill, and then fed the ball to a reportedly humbled Jennings, possibly playing more freely now that all that Twitter beef is safely behind him. The two raced out in transition, with a retreating Jodie Meeks stepping toward Jennings to stop the ball ... except the ball was about to head up top, over Meeks' head and off the backboard, where Drummond was waiting:
Pretty good hookup, you two. Definitely smoother, louder and more eye-catching than when you tried to do the same thing during the third quarter of Friday night's win over the Sacramento Kings:
Sure, two points is two points, no matter how you slice it, but Sunday's model was much prettier than the one we saw in Sactown.
Unfortunately for Brandon, 'Dre, Mo and company, though, this Pistons alley-oop wasn't the only killer lob tossed and finished on Sunday — the Lakers got involved, too, with Blake finding a couple of opportunities to activate forward Wesley Johnson:
The alley-oop connections accounted for four of Johnson's 13 points on 6 for 8 shooting, and two of Blake's 16 assists (two shy of his career high). And while Hill was part of the second-quarter turnover that led to Detroit's off-the-glass 'oop, he was largely sensational on Sunday, scoring a career-best 24 points and pulling down a career-high 17 rebounds to team with Pau Gasol (12 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, three blocks, two steals) to outduel Detroit's frontcourt en route to a 114-99 win. L.A. guards Meeks and Nick Young combined for 38 points on 24 shots, including a 6 for 11 mark from 3-point land, to push past Jennings' 23-point, 14-assist, five-rebound night. Despite winning the highlight reel, Detroit falls to 3-6 on the season.
Our friends at the Yahoo Sports Minute have more on the highlight of the night.
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