Detroit rarely had to worry about losing the rebounding battle after drafting Andre Drummond in 2012.
The most obvious problem presented by trading Drummond to Cleveland on Thursday was whether the Pistons could continue to hold their own on the boards.
Their first home game since the trade wasn’t promising. They were out-rebounded 47-28 in a 95-92 loss Saturday to the New York Knicks. Detroit will look for better results when it hosts the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.
“I think we’ve been spoiled with a guy like Andre, who’s one of the best in the history of the game,” said coach Dwane Casey of Drummond’s rebounding ability. “That’s what he brought to the table. We’ve got to get a mindset of boxing out every time.”
Not having Drummond in the middle was especially felt in crunch time when the Knicks were protecting a two-point lead. They grabbed two offensive rebounds to prolong a possession and eventually scored a basket to double their lead.
“I didn’t realize it was that bad,” Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson said. “They got after it. Got a lot of offensive boards, second-chance opportunities. We’ve got to figure out a way to rebound as a collective group.”
Reserve center John Henson, one of the players the Pistons acquired in the trade, contributed a season-high 12 points in 17 minutes in his Detroit debut. Christian Wood has posted solid numbers in his first two games as Drummond’s replacement in the lineup, averaging 22.0 points and 11.5 rebounds.
Even with Drummond, the Pistons endured three frustrating losses to the Hornets earlier this season. Those games were decided by a combined seven points. Charlotte can complete a sweep of the four-game season series on Monday.
In the first meeting on Nov. 15, Malik Monk hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in a 109-106 Hornets victory. Charlotte eked out a 102-101 win on Nov. 27 when Detroit’s Derrick Rose passed the ball instead of taking a shot in the final seconds. Two nights later, the Hornets held on for a 110-107 triumph when the Pistons missed two 3-point attempts on their last possession.
Overall, Charlotte has defeated Detroit nine consecutive times.
The Hornets haven’t enjoyed much success against the rest of the league, as they will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak. All of those losses have been decided by double digits. Charlotte has dropped 13 of its last 14.
In their most recent defeat, Dallas pounded the Hornets at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center 116-100 on Saturday night. The Mavericks led by 21 after the first quarter and the Hornets never recovered.
“We could sit up here and speculate all day long, but the reality is that we just had a bad first quarter — 31-10, scored 10 points in a quarter,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “That’s going to be a tough grind to get back in that game. It was a disappointing start. I can’t explain it. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of things transpire here over the last few days. … We own it, we have to take responsibility for it and get better.”
Charlotte reached buyout agreements with two of its longtime forwards, Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, after the trade deadline.
–Field Level Media