AUBURN HILLS (AP) – Jonas Jerebko helped turn the game around in the second quarter, and Will Bynum took over in the fourth.
Those two backups — call them role players if you must — gave the Detroit Pistons quite a lift.
“Especially when you’re a young player, that word ‘role’ sometimes can be a curse word,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. “When you’re a young player, many times you want to do more and more. Not that you’re not capable of doing more, it just comes down to doing what’s in the best interests of the team.”
The 26-year-old Jerebko scored 17 of his 21 points in the second quarter, and Bynum finished with 15 points and 10 assists, leading Detroit to a 113-93 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.
Detroit went 12 of 18 from 3-point range, with Brandon Knight making all three of his attempts.
Knight scored 19 points. Kemba Walker scored 24 in the first half for the Bobcats but finished with only 28.
Detroit rookie Andre Drummond had 15 points and nine rebounds but sprained his right ankle late in the game. The Pistons said he was day-to-day, and Drummond said afterward he’d be fine.
Detroit has won three in a row for only the second time all season. The Pistons had a four-game winning streak snapped by Charlotte in January.
Either the Bobcats (18-61) or the Orlando Magic (20-59) will finish with the NBA’s worst record this season, and although Walker’s impressive first half kept Charlotte in the game for a while, the Pistons pulled away in the third quarter.
“It’s an inch-by-inch process where you have an amalgamation of veterans and young guys,” Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap said. “It’s never going to be a fast thing — you have to take your lumps while you turn it around.”
Detroit led 59-53 at the half, and Kyle Singler made a couple 3-pointers early in the third to help the Pistons take a 70-57 lead.
Charlotte scored four points on one possession later in the period thanks to technical fouls on Detroit’s Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey. That made it 75-68, but the Pistons finished the quarter on a 12-5 run, and Khris Middleton started the fourth with a 3-pointer for a 90-73 lead.
It was 100-79 after Bynum strolled to the basket for an absurdly easy layup. The backup guard scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, although Detroit really turned the tide in the second, when the Pistons outscored Charlotte 36-23.
“Distribute the basketball, get out in transition, get some baskets — and defensively, we needed to get stops,” Bynum said. “We tried to do that in the second quarter.”
Jerebko barely played for a two-month stretch beginning in late November, but he’s been getting more minutes these last few weeks, and he made the most of them Friday. Jerebko went 7 for 7 in the second quarter, including a couple 3s.
“He’s comfortable,” Bynum said. “He knows he’s getting minutes, the opportunity is there, and he’s just being aggressive.”
Drummond, a promising rookie who has already missed significant time with back problems, left after rolling his ankle under the basket. He stayed down for a while and appeared to be in plenty of pain, but he was able to walk off the court slowly with 5:30 to go.
NOTES: Pistons G Jose Calderon (strained right triceps) missed his third straight game, and Charlotte G Ramon Sessions (sprained left knee) has been out since early March. … Detroit went 12 of 16 from 3-point range on Nov. 28 against Phoenix. That’s the best 3-point percentage (75) of any team this season on at least 12 attempts, according to STATS.
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