In the Pistons’ first six games of the season, All-Star center Andre Drummond already had three games with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. He put up similar numbers against the Nets on a regular basis in the past, and it has been difficult for slender third-year Nets center Jarrett Allen to deal with the bulk and strength of the 6-11, 279-pound Drummond.
But the offseason signing of 6-11, 265-pound free agent DeAndre Jordan means the Nets now have a tag team to throw at Drummond. Coach Kenny Atkinson joked that it’s “part of our toolbox,” and he made use of it by starting Jordan against Drummond Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena.
“We have DeAndre and Jarrett, and we can hopefully wear him out a little,” Atkinson said. “I think we’ve got to run him. We’ve got to get him up and down the court, especially on a back-to-back. He’s a physical challenge, and they’re running their offense through him. He’s having a heck of a year so far.”
That was the plan, but it didn’t work. Drummond recorded his third straight 20-20 game and fourth of the season with 25 points and 20 rebounds along with six assists and 5 blocked shots in the Pistons’ 113-109 victory.
Atkinson made it clear he’s been happy with the play of Allen, who is averaging 10.2 rebounds per game and played a key defensive role in the Nets’ victory over the Rockets and James Harden and Russell Westbrook Friday night at Barclays Center.
When he inserted Allen in the first quarter, the Nets trailed by 12, and when Allen sat down in the second quarter, the Nets led by five after a 35-18 run with him on the floor. “For me, it was huge,” Allen said after the game. “I just bring as much energy as I can. But Drummond is a big guy, and he’s very skilled under there.”