The Detroit Pistons came into this game 1-11 when Cade Cunningham is out of the lineup. And it didn’t take long for that record to become 1-12. The Pistons fell to the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night 116-86. After a competitive first half that felt like the Pistons were still in it, Dallas began to pull away in the third. Detroit went over 6 minutes in the third quarter without scoring a bucket, as Luka Doncic feasted. Doncic finished with 33 points in 33 minutes, and 11 assists and 7 boards. Detroit failed to get anything to generate on the offensive end, and that translated over to the defensive end as well. Killian Hayes had one of his worst games of the season, finishing with 6 points and 8 turnovers.
Saddiq Bey had one of the worst shooting nights of his NBA career. Bey finished with 2 points shooting 1-11 from the field and 1-7 from beyond the arc. He did, however, create offense for others on Detroit as he finished with 6 assists. Saddiq was not the only one from the Motor City that struggled to generate any offense. As a team, Detroit shot 5-30 from beyond the arc. And as the game went on, their offense only got worse. As a team, the Pistons scored only 15 points in the final period, and a mere 35 points in the second half. In what possibly could be his final game as a Piston, Jerami Grant finished with 15 points shooting 5-16 from the field.
Isaiah Stewart shines, Killian Hayes struggles
Isaiah Stewart finished with an all around good performance, as he notched 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons. In addition, Stewart was an efficient 6-9 from the field, and was the player for Detroit that played with the most energy throughout. And Stewart was joined by Hamidou Diallo with a good performance himself. Diallo finished with 18 points shooting 6-14 from the field. Also, Trey Lyles had another solid performance off the bench with 12 points and 6 rebounds. Lyles has proven to be one of the most consistent performers for Detroit all year. And he is maximizing the opportunity Troy Weaver and the Pistons have given him.
Despite being on the best stretch of his career, Killian Hayes had one of his worst performances of the season. Hayes finished with 6 points 2 assists and 8 turnovers, having more turnovers individually than the rest of the team combined. And it felt that Hayes was too aggressive with his decision making with the ball at times. The Mavericks have a top five defensive rating in the league, and it was apparent as to why. They made Detroit look uncomfortable offensively the entire night. And as the game went on, their squeeze on the Pistons only got tighter and tighter. It was most certainly a performance that Killian Hayes will want to forget about, and should not deter him from playing more aggressive basketball.
Luka Doncic is a maestro with the basketball in his hands
Even if it was difficult to watch Detroit be easily handled by Dallas, it is impossible to not enjoy watching Luka Doncic. With his effortless playmaking, his limitless range, and his top tier basketball IQ, Luka Doncic is already one of the best players in the world. And what’s even scarier is that Doncic is only 22 years old. Luka was 3 rebounds away from notching yet another triple double, and is on a journey to break Mavericks franchise records held by his head coach Jason Kidd. In addition to Doncic’s dominant performance, Jalen Brunson had 21 points in 26 minutes shooting 7-11 from the field. And even the former Michigan Wolverine Trey Burke finished with 18 points off of the bench.
While Detroit did most of their damage in the paint, the Mavericks did their damage beyond the arc. As a team, Dallas shot 50% from the field and 50% from three as well. They shot 18-36 from beyond the arc, and a lot of their looks are created from their ball movement. Detroit tried to give them different looks all night defensively, but the Mavericks just kept scoring anyway. And in the second half, they ended up leading by as much as 37 points. This game felt over rather early, and that’s due to the pressure that the Dallas Mavericks put on the Pistons all night long.
Pistons play again on Thursday against Memphis, after the trade deadline.
The next time we see the Detroit Pistons take the court is after the trade deadline. Therefore, this is possibly the last time this roster could end up playing together. And although this is definitely not the way this roster would want to go out, a lot of decisions will be made in the next 48 hours. Will Detroit be active at the deadline, or will they look to stand firm with what they have? Are they going to trade for a big man like Mitchell Robinson, and will Jerami Grant still be on the Pistons? A lot of questions will soon be answered. And if the trade deadline thus far has been any indication, we will definitely be in for plenty of surprises.
Detroit will face the Memphis Grizzlies at home on Thursday, the first of a back to back. Whether or not Cade Cunningham will appear in this home stand remains to be seen. It is apparent that the Pistons will be playing it safe with the health of Cunningham, and that is the right approach to take. It is also apparent, however, that Detroit is a much different team when he is absent than when he is on the court. And they will definitely be happy to have him back whenever that will be the case.
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