Detroit Pistons honor the Bad Boys in game vs Phoenix Suns
The Detroit Pistons fell to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday 120-106 behind a big game from Kevin Durant. Durant was a bad man on this night as the Pistons looked to honor the Bad Boys legacy.
The Pistons took the court for the first time in their Bad Boys inspired city edition uniforms. The lead up to the game included homages to the late 1990’s Pistons including the original Bad Boy Isiah Thomas participating in the “Start Your Engines” just before tip-off.
Throughout the game the Bad Boys were honored with montages of the glory days. Something this current team has hopes of recreating behind the current young core.
“I believe in our young core and I love Cade Cunningham,” Isiah Thomas said during an on court interview.
Cunningham gave great effort in carrying the scoring load for the Pistons. He finished with twenty-six points and six assists, but turnovers have been an early season problem. Cunningham, who missed all but twelve games last season, has been getting re-acclimated to NBA speed. So it’s an issue that should correct itself as he gets more comfortable during his third NBA season, but only has played barely a seasons worth of games.
For this young core to reach potential it will have to start on the defensive end of the court. They started the game energetic on defense and sticking around on offense as the first quarter closed with the Suns leading 28-27.
But the veteran savvy Suns began to take control mid way through the first quarter. Behind Eric Gordon and Kevin Durant the suns jetted out to a ten point lead. Durant finished the game blistering hot on offense with forty-one points to go with five rebounds and four assists. While Gordon chipped in with twenty-one points and eight assists, scoring from the outside and in the paint with ease at times.
The Pistons turned the defense up in the last five minutes of the second quarter and Cade Cunningham began to heat up as they closed the gap to five. But a few mistakes in the last minute saw the lead balloon back to nine points for the visitors.
The second half saw an uptick in hustle, especially from rookie Ausar Thompson, who finished with fourteen points, nine rebounds, four steals and four blocks. And fellow rookie Marcus Sasser who scored twenty-two points on 9 of 16 shooting.
But the Pistons ran out of steam as they attempted several times to dig themselves out of big deficits.
“We have to come out and play our basketball form the jump,” Isaiah Stewart said. “Not when we get down and try to dig ourselves out of a hole.”
Head coach Monty Williams believes his team needs to embody more of the type of grit and toughness the ‘Bad Boys’ embodied.
“They were tougher than us,” Williams said during the post game press conference. “We had too many situations where we missed assignments. Win or lose we have to play harder than we did tonight. We have to play with more purpose.”
Is the foul disparity contributing to losses?
The Pistons closed the game with only fourteen free throw attempts to twenty-nine for the Suns. But the team refused to use that as an excuse or reason for the outcome of the game. Or any games really this season as they continue to find themselves on the bad side of the refs whistle.
“Whether we’re getting calls or getting to the line nothing is going to be easy for us,” Isaiah Stewart noted. “We can’t complain or look to the refs all the time. We have to play through it.”
It’s a refrain coach Williams has preached to his team. He doesn’t believe complaining will fix anything, only what they do on the court.
“It ain’t going to happen because I complain about it. When you’re in the position we’re in you have to play harder. Ain’t nobody listening to us. We cant blame the officials.”