DETROIT, MI – Jalen Duren was dominant in the Detroit Pistons 120-104 victory over the now 32-14 Oklahoma City Thunder. And his effort seemed to greatly influence the flow of the entire game. Duren finished with a double double scoring 22 points, and a career high in rebounds (21) and assists (6).
And that hustle he displayed was contagious as the entire team showed a different energy and effort throughout the game. They out rebounded the Thunder 53-44 and out assisted them 27-17, while diving on the floor for every loose ball. It was noticeable and necessary especially with star Cade Cunningham scratched from the lineup just before the game started.
Where some observers, and even myself, have wanted to see more tenacity from Duren, this game left nothing to be desired. And head coach Monty Williams was certainly impressed by his effort.
”Tonight Duren had an imprint on the game, especially with his physicality. He was a disruptive force at the rim.”
But Williams wants to see more from the second year center who physically imposed his will versus the Thunder. “If Duren’s going to be the guy we know he can be, he has to own that position. Before it felt like he was renting it.”
He’s Becoming a Monster!
Some good things take time, and not everything happens over night. Such is the case with the development of Jalen Duren and leaving his mark on every game he plays in. But the good thing is seeing the work being put in translating in the games, especially when the Pistons win. The work is showing up in both his defense and even more notably his offensive game. Jalen Duren scored in a variety of ways, displaying touch and footwork around the rim as well as a free throw jumper that kept defenses honest.
“You have to put in tons of work and repeat those moves,” Williams said after the game. “He’s worked on his footwork and touch. It’s a work in progress but you can definitely see improvement.
For Duren he believes things are starting to come into focus and hopes it helps the team string together more strong play. He always takes the conversation back to what’s best for his team more than for himself. Which is a trait that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but contributes just the same.
“I feel like things are slowing down for me tremendously each game. Hopefully this sparks something and we can string something together.”
“We were able to get the win and Im happy about that.”
Jalen Duren spoke glowingly about how his “teammates and coaches helped” him a lot with his progress. And like a perfect script just at the moment James Wiseman was walking by the media room and banged on the room to mouth a message:
”Jalen Duren is a BEAST! HE’s a BEAST!”
It was a moment that elicited laughter from the media room and brought a smile to Duren’s face.
But they hope to bring more good moments to the fans, as they appreciated making the very loud Little Caesars Arena crowd happy with a win.
“To hear them (Pistons fans) cheering at the end is something our guys feel pretty good about,” Monty Williams exclaimed.
- Chants of “Jared Goff” broke out in support of the Detroit Lions quarterback and their NFC championship game versus the San Fransisco 49ers.
- The Detroit Pistons wished the Detroit Lions good luck at the conclusion of their game versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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Photo Credit: Brandon Dent – Woodward Sports Network