It started as a competitive, physical, old fashion paint driven game of basketball. It turned into a devastating collapse in the second half that saw Detroit’s worst loss of the season, falling to the Bulls 133 to 87. The collapse was preceded by the Pistons playing one of their best performances of the season against the Utah Jazz.
Detroit followed a dynamic defensive and offensive attack by a whimper in the windy city. The Pistons were simply outclassed, outplayed, out hustled, and embarrassed on Tuesday night. This is not the first time Detroit has collapsed in the second half, but it is definitely the worst collapse they have had in this season. Here are five takeaways from this game. I hope this gives you everything to know about this game so you don’t have to watch.
The Pistons Showed Up to Play in the first half, With or Without the Three Ball.
- Coming off of one of their most significant wins of the NBA season, the Detroit Pistons came to play the following night against Chicago. Keeping the game within single digits all throughout the first quarter, Detroit and Chicago were trading buckets. Detroit has had to rely less on their three point shot to fall (starting the night shooting just 27% beyond the three point line). It was Stewart who started the game hot for Detroit scoring 10 in the first quarter.
The Bulls Offense is Divine, Pistons Offense in decline.
- The Chicago Bulls are currently the #1 ranked team in the Eastern Conference. They are one of the top teams in the league because of their brilliance on both sides of the ball. The offensive end, in particular, is where the Detroit Pistons looked completely outclassed. With costly turnovers in the first half that lead Cade Cunningham to get into early foul trouble. Cunningham ended up reaching his third personal foul with six minutes to go in the second quarter. Detroit spent a large portion of the quarter trailing by double digits. Thanks to the likes of Josh Jackson who kept Detroit in the game, scoring 11 in the second quarter for the Pistons. The Chicago Bulls, on the other hand, have multiple weapons that can contribute at any given moment of the night. DeMar DeRozan can force his way to the line and hit mid range shots at a high rate. Zach Lavine is a dangerous scorer in all three levels. Lonzo Ball has become a dangerous shooter, as well as creates a lot of offense for those around him. That’s not even bringing Nikola Vucevic into the equation. Vucevic, who is an all star caliber player in his own right, and can do a lot of damage himself on the court. The performance of the night for the Chicago Bulls is the significant role Ayo Dosunmu played. Ayo scored10 points off the bench just in the first half. This roster in Chicago can play with the best of them. The Bulls can contend for the eastern Finals spot whether they make any moves at the deadline or not. The team still defended really well without their anchor on the defensive end, Alex Caruso, who is still in health and safety protocols. The Bulls ended up shooting 18-34 from beyond the three point line. It was Chicago’s ability to take advantage of Detroit’s lack of energy to set up quality shots for their snipers.
The Pistons Collapsed in the Third Quarter… Again.
- After the Pistons came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders against the Jazz the night before. Detroit came out flat, getting outscored 17 to 0 in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Putting the Pistons down 26. Detroit was outscored by a devastating 36-14. Detroit’s documented struggles adjusting after the first half continued tonight. Whatever is being done to prepare this team for another half of basketball, is not working. This has been an issue for Detroit all season long. The Pistons having the worst third quarter margin in the NBA. From lazy passes on the offensive end, to multiple open threes being given to the Bulls. However, the effort that was shown out of the Pistons in the third quarter was a complete 180 from the night before. The Pistons played arguably their worst quarter of basketball all season in the third quarter of this game. Detroit has had some ugly quarters on their journey to 9-31. One thing that was clear is that the Pistons immediate solution to spark their offense, was to surround Cade and Saddiq with Saben Lee, Trey Lyles, and Josh Jackson. Immediately the cohesion on the offensive end had improved. Killian, despite having a decent first half, came out cold like the rest of the roster. He ultimately continues to struggle to find his role with this starting lineup. I think the Pistons should really consider some changes to their rotation. Hayes coming off the bench and leading a second unit with Josh Jackson jumping into the starting five. I don’t believe this is a reason to call for Dwane Casey’s job. But, it does seem that the most urgent improvement this team needs to make as quickly as possible, is their ability to maintain energy, and to make adjustments to improve during the game. Detroit was outscored 36-14 in the quarter. The lack of energy transferred into the fourth quarter. Detroit never had a chance from the third quarter on.
Josh Jackson continues to shine as a Detroit Piston.
- On a night where almost nobody on the Detroit Pistons could generate any offense, Josh Jackson was the bright spot on the box score. He was the only member of the Pistons to shoot above fifty percent from the field. Jackson has been playing at an elevated level as the season has progressed. He has lately been making winning plays and contributing on both sides of the court. However, he did have to play with less aggression as the game proceeded due to being in foul trouble. Josh Jackson is one of the shining players of the assets that Detroit have given second chances to. I believe that no matter where he ends up, he can play productive basketball. Josh will have a place in this league for a long time. Thanks to his development under the coaching of Dwane Casey and his staff.
The Jazz and Bulls Games happened within 24 hours of each other.
The entire season for the Detroit Pistons can be perfectly described by their last two games. At their best, Detroit can be a dynamic young team that can see all star play from Cade Cunningham, where he controls the game, and makes the others around him better. Their offense can look stagnant. The roster can get increasingly dejected as every shot they take doesn’t go through and the other team continues to pile it on.
These issues are typical growing pains for any young team, but is arguably more extreme in its ebbs and flows than other teams in this stage of a rebuild. If the players effort is not consistent through four quarters you can be exposed in this league. Especially when you are facing the best of the best in the National Basketball Association. 18 turnovers will not cut it at this level. 18% from the three point line as a team, will not cut it at this level. It will lead to deficits that can be severe, as we saw Detroit trail by as much as 46 points at the end of the fourth quarter.
What’s next for the Pistons.
The ugly losses that the Pistons are regularly facing is an alarming trend. Losses as bas as these need to be wake up calls for rebuilding teams, but the amount of losses that deserve a wake up call are starting to stack up for the Detroit Pistons. Dwane Casey needs to go back to the drawing board on the rotation, the lineups, and Troy Weaver might need to consider some roster changes to put a roster on the court that can aide the Pistons on the offensive end while still pursuing a top draft pick.
The Pistons simply played with no energy tonight, appearing to not have any resemblance to the team from the night before. The middle of a restoration is ugly, and Detroit is at the darkest point yet. Detroit will have the opportunity to redeem themselves after two days of rest with a home game against Fred Van Vleet and the Toronto Raptors. These next two days will be crucial for the Pistons going forward, and perhaps this team needs to go back to the drawing board and evaluate if some of these pieces fit together moving forward.