Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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Drummond, Pistons swat Sacramento

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[March 12, 2014]  AUBURN HILLS, Mich.  Second-year center Andre Drummond established a defensive presence in the early going Tuesday. His Detroit teammates eventually took the same approach, and that allowed the Pistons to end a three-game skid.

Drummond sent a message to Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings' leading scorer, by blocking three of his shots in the first quarter. Cousins failed to reach 20 points for the first time in six games, and the Pistons limited the Kings to 35 second-half points in a 99-89 victory at The Palace.

"Andre is a force down there," Pistons guard Kyle Singler said. "He's going to make plays like that. He has to make plays like that. We're not great on-the-ball defenders, and guys are getting by us, so for him to protect the rim like that, it's big for us."

It was a rare display of quality defense by Detroit, which held an opponent under 100 points for just the fourth time in 18 games.

"We just limited them to one shot (after halftime)," said Pistons forward Josh Smith, who had a game-high 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds. "We gave up too many offensive rebounds and second-chance points. We wanted to put a halt to it, and that's what we were able to do in the third quarter."

Guard Rodney Stuckey scored 23 points off the bench for Detroit (25-39) after contributing just 13 points in his previous three games. Stuckey is averaging 19.9 points in 11 career games against Sacramento, his highest against any opponent.


"When Stuck's attacking, he makes us a dynamic team," Detroit guard Will Bynum said. "I was just glad to see he was attacking tonight."

Drummond added 15 points and eight rebounds to go along with five blocks. Singler chipped in 11 points, seven rebounds and five of the team's nine steals.

Small forward Rudy Gay's 20 points led Sacramento, which lost its third game in a row and fell for the sixth time in eight games. Point guard Isaiah Thomas had 19 points and eight assists, but Cousins was limited to 13 points while grabbing 14 rebounds.

"We got stagnant after we started missing shots," Gay said. "When you're missing shots, you try to force things. I do think for the most part we took a lot of good shots and tried to get into the paint, but it just didn't work out for us."

The Kings (22-42) clinched a losing record for the eighth straight season. Their last winning season was 2005-06, when they went 44-38. Sacramento is 1-3 on its season-long, seven-game road trip.

The Pistons scored the first eight points of the second half, including 3-pointers by Smith and point guard Brandon Jennings, to grab a 60-54 lead. Smith had nine points in the quarter and Drummond added six as Detroit took a 72-65 lead into the fourth quarter.

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Sacramento shot 20 percent from the field (4-for-20) during the third and scored just 11 points.

"I thought we lost that game in the third quarter," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "We did not come out ready to play. We were just not able to get stops. It's a disappointing loss."

Singler gave the Pistons their first double-digit lead at 75-65 with a free throw, and Stuckey followed with a 3-pointer. Detroit's lead remained in double figures until an 8-0 Sacramento run closed the gap to 89-81.

Smith hit a jumper to end the Kings' spurt, and Detroit was not threatened from that point.

Thomas had 15 points and five assists in the first half, leading the Kings to a 54-52 halftime advantage.

NOTES: Veteran PF Reggie Evans made his first start since being acquired by Sacramento last month from the Brooklyn Nets. ... Detroit has won the last four home meetings. He finished with six points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes. ... The Kings are 3-24 when scoring fewer than 100 points. ... Pistons C Andre Drummond has 348 offensive rebounds this season, the fourth-best total in team history. Dennis Rodman holds the top three spots, including a franchise-record 523 in 1991-92. ... Sacramento is the only team with three players averaging 20 points  C DeMarcus Cousins (22.4 points per game), PG Isaiah Thomas (20.4) and SF Rudy Gay (20.2). ... The Kings have only four healthy guards on the roster with Jason Terry (knee) out for the season. ... Neither team has a winning streak longer than four games this season. ... Detroit rookie PG Peyton Siva (left ankle sprain) was not in uniform.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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