(AUBURN HILLS, MI) – The Detroit Pistons (0-2) lost their preseason home debut sans Reggie Jackson against the San Antonio Spurs (1-1) Monday night, 86-81.
Six new faces on the Pistons roster were in the lineup Monday night, as Jon Leuer, Ish Smith, Henry Ellenson, and Lorenzo Brown all saw playing time. Some showed out while others struggled.
The Pistons began sluggishly, providing a slew of turnovers for the Spurs to take advantage of. The away team started out with a 12-4 advantage.
However, that lead would be compromised as the Pistons would storm out of a timeout into an 11-2 run. Detroit got out in transition and scored quick baskets, only silenced by a Kawhi Leonard And-1.
Enter Jon Leuer, the spot-up four out of Phoenix who was signed to a four-year, $41 million deal. Leuer began making plays for his new team, whether it would be crashing the glass, scoring off of solid looks, or even creating looks for fellow teammates. Leuer would end with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists.
The returning Pistons were decent, with Tobias Harris scoring 11 points. Marcus Morris on the other hand, only scored two and fouled out early in the third.
The game also saw a solid showing from Pistons All-Star Andre Drummond, who scored 13 points while cleaning the glass 17 times as well.
The game, while close, was controlled by the Spurs, who utilized its superior ball movement and potent scoring from Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and new acquisition Pau Gasol.
Ish Smith had a decent showing, only scoring two points but grabbing six boards and dishing five dimes. However, there was a clear issue regarding the scoring disparity left by the shadow of Reggie Jackson.
The rookie Ellenson struggled throughout the game, failing to guard NBA veteran David Lee who bullied his way inside.
Detroit failed to defend the paint well, and with those issues eventually leading to a flurry of outside shots from Spurs shooters such as Bryn Forbes out of Michigan State.
While it’s only the preseason, Detroit does need to figure out what it will do without its star point guard. Whether it be Smith stepping up or a general team-oriented approach, Detroit needs to find a way.
UP NEXT: Detroit (1-1) will pay a visit to the Atlanta Hawks. A solid center matchup in Dwight Howard vs. Andre Drummond
NIGHTLY NOTABLE: Jon Leuer surprised the crowd with his sneaky athleticism, powering a putback dunk and an alley oop in a minute stretch during the third quarter.