The Detroit Pistons entered their Friday night matchup with the San Antonio Spurs on a high note. The team defeated the Golden State Warriors at the buzzer in its most recent game, completing the regular season sweep against the defending champions. Detroit looked to extend its winning streak to two games against San Antonio. However, the Spurs outperformed the Pistons winning the game 121-109.
The Spurs jumped out to an early lead over the Pistons. However, San Antonio never managed to pull away in the first quarter. Detroit kept the score close, and a buzzer-beater three from Saddiq Bey cut the Spurs’ lead to 31-28. Bojan Bogdanovic led the way for the Pistons in the first quarter. The veteran forward scored 12 points in the opening period, he finished the game with 21 points.
The Pistons took the lead midway through the second quarter. The Spurs countered with a 13-6 run to close out the half, including seven unanswered. The Pistons committed costly turnovers that gave the Spurs extra possessions. The Pistons struggled from the floor in the first half. The team shot 42.6 percent from the floor compared to the Spurs’ 48.9 percent shooting in the first half. San Antonio’s late-quarter push left them with a 51-48 halftime lead.
Both teams exchanged punches early in the third quarter, but the Spurs pulled away to a 10-point lead midway through the period. By the end of the quarter, the Spurs held their lead at 86-76. Detroit fought all throughout the closing quarter, but the team’s defense was unable to stifle San Antonio’s offense.
The Detroit Pistons cannot overcome numerous unforced errors
The Pistons made more than their fair share of unforced errors throughout the game. There were plenty of easy shots that the Pistons outright missed. Jaden Ivey missed a wide-open layup in transition halfway through the first quarter. Bogdanovic missed his own easy layup early in the third. The Pistons missed numerous other easy looks around the rim as well.
Detroit consistently placed the ball in harm’s way with either poor reads or overzealous pass attempts. While these missed passes did not always result in turnovers, they slowed the team’s pace and displayed Detroit’s youth and inexperience.
The Pistons finished the game with 15 turnovers, two less than the Spurs. The team simply could not take advantage of San Antonio’s mistakes, something the Spurs did not struggle with. The Pistons finished the game with 14 points off turnovers compared to the Spurs’ 23.
Killian Hayes plays stout defense in loss
In his second game back from a three-game suspension, Killian Hayes showed just how valuable his contributions to the Pistons are. The Pistons sorely missed Hayes during his suspension. Ivey struggled as the team’s point guard in Hayes’ absence.
Hayes finished the game with 18 points and seven assists, although he added five turnovers as well. The confidence he has built as a scorer this season was on full display.
However, where Hayes truly made his presence felt was on the defensive end of the court. Hayes played passing lanes and hounded opposing ball handlers. He forced the Spurs to make mistakes and turn the ball over. Hayes finished the game with five steals.
Former Detroit Piston gets his revenge
Tre Jones led the way for the Spurs. The veteran point guard finished the game with 25 points, leading the team. One performance that should not be overshadowed is the play of former Piston Stanley Johnson.
Johnson did not light up the stat sheet for San Antonio. He finished the game with nine points, four rebounds and two assists. He went a perfect three-for-three from beyond the arc, where he is shooting 47.1 percent from on the season.
Johnson’s performance for the Spurs may ultimately be inconsequential to the game’s outcome. However, the now veteran wing prospered in the one major area that made his tenure with the Pistons a tumultuous one: three-point shooting.
The Detroit Pistons faceoff against the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 8 in a 7 p.m. matchup at Little Caesars Arena
(Featured Image Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)