Friday Night: Joakim Noah's Career Highs Too Much For Pistons
The Pistons were up by as much as 17 points in the first half, but a Joakim Noah-led rally had the Bulls down only 50-55 at the half. With momentum on their side, the Bulls took control of the game in the fourth quarter. When it was all said and done Noah found himself with career-high in both points and rebounds, scoring 30 and grabbing 23 boards. The Bulls beat the Pistons for the 16th straight time by a score of 108-104.
For the Pistons it was a heartbreaker, but a game that produced a number of positives. Coming off a poor performance against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, Brandon Knight's deep-thigh bruise seemed to have little affect on the starting point guard as Knight scored 21 points on a solid 6-for-11 night from the field. Rodney Stuckey came off the bench to play 36 minutes in the game, leading all Pistons in assists and points scored with seven and 24 respectively. Another solid sign from the bench, Charlie Villanueva was on the floor for 21 minutes, contributing 15 points on a 6-for-9 shooting night including 3-for-5 from three point land.
The Bulls attack was balanced as all five starters posted double-digit point totals; the Pistons only had three starters score more than 10. Noah and Carlos Boozer were too much for the Pistons in the paint as Boozer scored 24 to couple with Noah's 30 points. The Bulls won the points in the paint battle by a score of 58-38, and out-muscled the Pistons for second chance points and 13 offensive rebounds. Another area where the Pistons didn't get enough production was from starting shooting guard Kyle Singler, who followed up his three point effort against Golden State with a two point effort against Chicago on Friday night.
Saturday Night: Knight's Night in Cleveland
Brandon Knight must have thought that Joakim Noah's 30-point career-high night looked like fun on Friday night. Saturday had the Pistons in Cleveland for their second meeting with the Cavaliers in the last five games, and with only one prior road-win this season, Brandon Knight sealed the deal for a second road "W" with a career-high 30-points of his own. Despite still being without Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, Cleveland played the Pistons tough. But Knight was to much as the Pistons left town with a 104-97 victory.
Only seven points in the first half and down 49-52, Brandon Knight put the game on his shoulders scoring 23 in the second half, including 13 points in the fourth quarter. Knight had been especially aggressive over the last couple games, averaging a little more than 18 points over the last five games. But Saturday saw Knight with one of his more balanced scoring nights, scoring in the lane and from beyond the arch at a high percentage clip no matter where he rose up for the shot. Knight was 10-for-20 on the night, including a near-perfect 5-for-6 mark from three point land. Truly a complete game, Knight added 5 assists and 7 rebounds. Knight spoke to ESPN about his "hot" second half after the game:
"It was just me taking more advantage of the shots I did have," Knight said. "They did a great job contesting my shots in the first half — not that they didn't in the second — but I was more aggressive doing my job."
The Pistons also had strong contributions from the supporting cast, as four other Pistons put up double-digit scoring efforts. (Monroe-11, Maxiell-10, Prince-14, Stuckey-10) Rookies Kyle Singler and Andre Drummond helped out with nine points each, and Charlie Villanueva added six points of his own on two, fourth quarter three-point shots from nearly the same exact spot on the floor.
The Pistons travel to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers for the second time this season on Monday night. In their first meeting, the Pistons won their first game of the season on Philadelphia's home floor. The 76ers have lost three of their last four games, and the Pistons will look to win back-to-back road games for the first time this season. Tip-off is Monday at 7:30 pm.