Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DAVE HOGG  |  Last updated 11/8/13
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- When Joe Dumars decided to rebuild the Pistons roster yet again during the offseason, he knew he wouldn't be able to accomplish everything in one offseason. Detroit's game against Oklahoma City on Friday showed the places where Dumars' changes have paid off, as well as the places where work still needs to be done. Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, the two biggest summer acquisitions, combined for 47 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds, but Detroit's lack of outside shooting and depth were enough for the Thunder to take a 119-110 victory. The Pistons missed 16 of their first 21 3-point attempts -- a problem that has plagued them all season. "Shooting is part of the game," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We got good looks, but sooner or later, we have to knock them down. We have to make more shots." Detroit's depth issue, especially inside, reared its head in the third quarter. Andre Drummond was on the bench with four fouls, and Smith joined him there when he picked up his fourth trying to guard Kevin Durant. That meant Cheeks had to go against one of the league's best teams -- one with reserve big men like Nick Collison and rookie Steven Adams -- with Kyle Singler, Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko manning front-court spots. It didn't work. Adams and Serge Ibaka began to dominate the glass while Cheeks looked for someone who might be able to guard Durant. Cheeks eventually brought Drummond back to try to change the matchups, but Drummond looked tentative because of the foul situation and didn't help. He finished with just four points and three rebounds in 23 minutes. "Andre obviously wasn't at his best tonight, and you can see what happens when we don't have his presence inside," Cheeks said. "We played hard and we played aggressive, and I was happy with that. "But we weren't making shots, and there's only so much you can do when you always have to have someone on the floor who can guard Kevin. That forces your hand when you are trying to adjust your lineup, whether it is because of shooting or rebounding." Cheeks never did find anyone who could guard Durant -- he finished with 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists -- but that's not on the rebuilding process. After all, there aren't many players in the league who can guard a 6-foot-9 guy with 28-foot shooting range and the ability to hit shots while falling down. Smith matches up with Durant about as well as anyone in the league but wasn't on the floor enough, fouling out in the fourth quarter. Kyle Singler, who tried to match up with Durant while Smith was on the bench, also fouled out. Datome and Jerebko were simply overmatched. The trio not only struggled defensively, they went 4-of-16 for the floor, including 1-for-7 on 3-point attempts. "It's tough against that team at any point, but especially when you get into foul trouble," said Greg Monroe, who finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds to keep Detroit in the game. "We just didn't make the plays they did, and we kept putting them on the foul line." Detroit is now 2-3 and faces a four-game trip to the West Coast. "Playing on the road is part of life in the NBA," Cheeks said. "These trips are tough, but you have to do them and we have to be ready. "If we keep playing as hard as we did tonight, we'll be OK. We just need to hit some shots and fix a few things." var __chd__ = 'aid':11079,'chaid':'www_objectify_ca';(function() var c = document.createElement('script'); c.type = 'textjavascript'; c.async = true;c.src = ( 'https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https:z': 'http:p') '.chango.comstaticc.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')0;s.parentNode.insertBefore(c, s);)();
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