Auburn Hills, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Brandon Jennings dropped a season-high 35 points and the Detroit Pistons remained unbeaten since waiving Josh Smith after handing the Sacramento Kings a 114-95 drubbing on Sunday.
Jennings shot 14-for-21, hit five 3-pointers and handed out seven assists for the suddenly red-hot Pistons, winners in five straight since parting ways with the 11-year veteran Smith. Jennings has scored at least 25 points in three of the five wins.
"I just love, not only the way he's playing, but his whole attitude," said Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. "
Andre Drummond had 15 points and 14 rebounds while Greg Monroe gave 14 points and 11 boards for Detroit, which won only five of its first 28 games this season before this five-game win streak.
DeMarcus Cousins led six Kings in double figures with 18 points and 15 rebounds, but he turned the ball over six times and shot just 5-of-17.
"It's clear, we aren't the same team," said Cousins, when asked about Mike Malone's dismissal as coach. "We can't just keep making excuses for the team. At the end of the day, we're the ones out there playing, regardless of the man on the bench."
Anthony Tolliver subbed in at 8:11 of the second quarter for the Pistons, and his impact was felt immediately. The journeyman assisted on a Joel Anthony baseline jumper on his first possession, then found Jodie Meeks for a dunk on the next trip. He then capped a 7-0 run with a triple to give the Pistons a 41-31 lead. After Cousins ended the run with a pair of free throws, Tolliver connected again from deep.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jennings hit 3s during a 9-0 flurry later in the stanza, and the Pistons' lead grew to 16. It was down to nine, 55-46, at halftime after the Kings finished the half with seven straight points.
Carl Landry's free throw late in the third trimmed the gap to 81-78, but Jennings stole momentum back for Detroit with a buzzer-beating 3.
The Kings' deficit was nine when Cousins got greedy with his handle and was stripped by Caron Butler. Drummond charged down the court and threw down an emphatic dunk plus a foul and hit the ensuing free throw to push it to 100-88 with 4:59 remaining.
Jennings stepped into a deep 3-ball two minutes later to end any hopes of a Kings comeback.
The Pistons have won five straight for the first time since Dec, 2009 ... Meeks scored 13 points off the bench ... The Kings only shot 3-for-15 from behind the arc ... The Kings have allowed 100-plus points in 10 straight games.