Journeyman Christian Wood scores career-high 28 points in Detroit Pistons’ 132-98 rout of San Antonio Spurs
By DAVE HOGG
DETROIT — Pistons coach Dwane Casey has believed since training camp that he was the right person to unlock Christian Wood’s potential.
On Sunday, he got another sign he might be right.
Wood came off the bench to score a career-high 28 points in 22 minutes as Detroit routed the San Antonio Spurs 132-98.
“Christian is a talent, and there are nights he does things like this and there are other nights when he doesn’t,” Casey said. “I’ve always said he’s a talented young man, but he has to get more thinking into his game.
“If he could have consistently done that before now, he wouldn’t be on his fifth team.”
After going undrafted in 2015, Wood played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans before the Pistons claimed him on waivers in July.
He didn’t make an immediate impact in Detroit, either, falling behind Thon Maker on the depth chart. He rejoined the rotation in mid-November and has become a key part of Casey’s second unit.
“There’s a big difference from where I was a couple years ago,” he said. “I would start with maturity and coach Casey. He’s hard on me, but I know it is tough love and now he’s given me an opportunity.”
Along with his scoring, defense and rebounding, Wood’s performance had another benefit for the Pistons. He scored 19 points in the game’s final 14:59, giving Andre Drummond a lengthy rest with games coming on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Drummond played 26 minutes and Blake Griffin played just 22 as the Pistons got 75 bench points on 67% shooting.
“We’ve got five guys on our unit who can score the ball, and it is huge when (Derrick Rose) gets rolling, because he gets a lot of defensive attention,” Wood said.
Luke Kennard added 20 points for the Pistons, who had lost eight of 10. Detroit had seven players score in double figures, including four reserves.
The Spurs, who lost for the 11th time in 13 games, got 20 points from DeMar DeRozan. San Antonio shot 41% from the floor, including 27% on 3-pointers.