On Friday the Pistons were at home facing the Cavaliers without Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell. Normally, that type of opportunity is one that teams would try to capitalize. For Detroit, however, that opportunity was never in reach, as the Pistons fell to Cleveland 112-88. When looking for reasons as to why Detroit lost this game by so big, it does not take long to see why. Without Jalen Duren and Marvin Bagley, the Pistons front court was picked apart in the interior. Cleveland scored 58 of their points in the paint, lead by their all star big man Jarrett Allen with 23. Allen was met with little to no resistance at the rim, shooting 11-16 from the field. He was catching lobs, doing work in the paint, and getting easy lanes to the basket.
Pistons offense never got going outside of Cade, Saddiq, and Ivey
The struggles for Detroit were not only on the defensive end. They could not get going on offense, turning over the ball 18 times and only having 4 players in double figures. The Pistons also were held to a mere 39 points in the first half, giving themselves another hole to dig out of coming out of half time. Players not named Ivey, Cunningham, and Bey combined for a mere 32 points. And even Bojan Bogdanovic was held to 6 points shooting 2-9 from the field. As it turns out, maybe Bojan is human after all. And with Isaiah Stewart being guarded by Allen or Mobley, he was facing a tall task on offense (literally).
Despite his four turnovers, Jaden Ivey was productive on the offensive end, adding 18 points of his own. And other than Isaiah Livers with his 11 off the bench, no one on the second unit finished with more than one basket. It was apparent that Detroit’s bench was subpar at best. However, compared to the Cleveland Cavaliers, their bench at times looked outright pedestrian. Kevin Love came off the bench and helped the Cavaliers pull away, with 21 points and 4 triples. Not to mention Love picking the Pistons apart with his playmaking, finishing with 10 assists and only 1 turnover. Cleveland simply outplayed Detroit on both ends of the court.
Another difficult night for Killian Hayes, seems lost on the court
If there has been any constant for the Pistons this season, it has been the play of Killian Hayes. From opening night, it has been a rough go for the third year point guard, and tonight was no different. Hayes finished with 2 points on 1-3 shooting, 3 fouls, 2 assists, and 2 turnovers. His struggles shooting the basketball to start the season is affecting his confidence on both sides of the ball, leading him to be a liability on both ends. Through the first 10 games, Killian Hayes seems to be regressing, and something needs to change quickly.
Whether Killian’s role in the rotation needs to change, or if a G League stint is permitted, change is needed. Hayes’s play seems to only be worsening as the season is going on, and looks to be without confidence. And with confidence already being an issue, it seems he might’ve lost whatever he had left. For Killian to turn this play around, it needs to start with high effort plays on both ends of the court. High effort plays leading to turnovers on defense, and dunks/aggressive layups on offense, Hayes needs to play with energy. If he can use his effort, athleticism, and aggression to make plays happen, he can perhaps get out of this rut. But with each passing game, it seems less and less likely.
Although Friday night was a night to forget for the Pistons, it was a night they can learn from. Cleveland was able to expose a lot of areas of improvement, and with a weekend to rest and recalibrate, they have the opportunity to make right on Monday night. In addition, the two extra days of rest can perhaps bring Jalen Duren back into the lineup, missing his third straight game with an ankle sprain.
After a week of facing 3 teams with genuine Finals aspirations in 4 games, the Pistons have this weekend to rest. They will not play again until Monday, when they host Shai Gilgeous Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder. SGA thus far has had a career campaign, averaging 32.3 points through his first 7 games shooting 55 percent from the field. He is a true combo guard, being able to playmake as well as score the basketball at will. It will be a display of two of the best young guards in basketball, as both SGA and Cade will look to will their teams to a win.