Basketball / Sports

Detroit Pistons' Greg Monroe against the Orlando Magic's Tobais Harris during second-quarter action at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich., on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. (Kirthmon F. Dozier Detroit Free Press/MCT)

Drummond responds to Cheeks' pep talk

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- As Andre Drummond shot free throws, Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks was nearby offering words of encouragement.

It was the Tuesday morning shoot-around, and Cheeks was telling Drummond it's OK to have a bad game.

It's all a matter of how you respond.

Drummond responded later with 13 points and 17 rebounds as the Pistons blasted the Orlando Magic, 103-87, Tuesday night at the Palace.

The Pistons (18-27) got a much-needed victory by holding the woeful Magic (12-34) to 41.6 percent shooting and used a 17-5 to end the third quarter to take control.

The Pistons snapped a four-game losing streak and a three-game home-court skid against the team with the worst road record in the league at 3-20.

"Hearing that type of stuff from Mo because he knows I really get down on myself when I do anything wrong, and for him to tell me that today at shoot-around gave me a boost to want to be great tonight," Drummond said.

Drummond was 5-for-7 from the field and even was productive at the free-throw line by going 3-for-4. He added two blocked shots and a steal in 33 minutes.

Sunday's events become a distant memory. Cheeks pulled Drummond 11 seconds into the second half. He would only play 10 minutes in the 10-point loss at Dallas.

"I told him at shoot-around he's human," Cheeks said. "He can have a bad game here and there. He's human. He's not a machine. He's entitled to have a bad game.

"It's important how you bounce back, and I thought he had a nice bounce-back game."

The shoot-around focused strictly on the defensive end, and it was good for the Pistons to finally have a good game there. It was only the third time out of 12 games that the Pistons held their opponent below 100 points.

Josh Smith had a rare good shooting night with 16 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Cheeks was going to put Smith back in the game, but a brief run pushed the lead to 26 points and Cheeks was able to save Smith for his return to his hometown of Atlanta tonight.

The Pistons also beat up the smaller Magic on the glass with a 56-40 rebounding advantage.

"This is a big team," former Piston Arron Afflalo said after scoring 14 points for Orlando. "Drummond, (Greg) Monroe, Josh, Kyle (Singler) off the bench--those guys attack the glass really well."

The Pistons took a 10-point lead (53-43) at halftime behind 11 points and nine rebounds from Drummond and 12 points from Smith.

Drummond, who had one of his poorest games of the season Sunday at Dallas, took advantage of the Magic missing center Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic was out with a concussion.

Drummond was active with five offensive rebounds. He was able to make jumpers but didn't attempt any three-point shots.

(c)2014 Detroit Free Press

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