The Pistons had their hands full Thursday night as the 76ers were coming to play. And with Detroit being eliminated and Philadelphia playing for seeding, one could say the 76ers had more to play for. However, the Pistons had something different in mind. And off the performance of Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes, Detroit pulled off the upset winning 102-94. Killian Hayes attacked all night, finishing with 10 points 5-8 from the field, as well as 3 steals and 2 assists. In addition, Hayes finished with the highest plus/minus on the team, having a major impact on the defensive end. The Pistons held James harden to 4-15 from the field, and that was a big reason for the victory.
Another reason for the Pistons success was the play of Cade Cunningham yet again. Cunningham finished with a team high 27 points shooting 12-20 from the field, continuing his efficiency. Cunningham only shot 4 free throws and didn’t make a three, so his scoring is more impressive with that context giving his efficiency. Of his 8 missed shots, only 5 of them came inside the arc. His efficiency in the mid range and at the basket is already at a high level. This is another case for Cade Cunningham being a franchise player for the Pistons, but also another case for his rookie of the year campaign.
Pistons suffer another injury for a key role player
After many positive performances, Marvin Bagley was feeling right at home with Detroit. However, the Pistons forward Marvin Bagley III suffered a hip strain during the third quarter. Bagley would not return, and could possibly join Jerami Grant and Hamidou Diallo on the sidelines for the season. It’s those types of injuries that are going to keep the Pistons in the hunt for a top overall draft pick in the summer. However, that just means more opportunities for players like Isaiah Livers, who finished with 9 points and went 3-4 from beyond the arc. As long as he consistently hits shots and plays good defense, Livers will have a place in the rotation.
Saddiq Bey also had yet another solid performance. Bey went 8-18 from the field and finished with 20 points, but also contributed 4 assists and 3 boards. Saddiq Bey is starting to have more consistent finishes to wrap up the season, and he certainly has the green light to shoot from beyond the arc. His ability to score inside the arc is not his primary part of his attack, but it’s definitely more prominent in his game. It’s a welcomed addition to his game, and the more of a threat he can be from the mid range and inside the paint, the better.
Pistons season is done in less than ten days
The Detroit Pistons are officially in their final five games of their season. The next two are going to be on the road, with Detroit playing in Oklahoma City on Friday and then in Indiana on Sunday. From there, the final three games will be against playoff caliber teams. All three of those teams have reasons to win, and the Pistons are increasingly having less reasons to do so. Players from the Cruise might get their chance to play for Detroit, but Cade Cunningham will be given the keys to go for rookie of the year. The organization wants him to get the award, and he clearly wants to get the trophy too.
Troy Weaver has a lot to be impressed with from the performance of this team. He has reasons to be impressed with Dwane Casey’s ability to turn this team around. They have been winning more since the all star break, and this team never quit on the coaches. He has a lot to be excited about with the young core that is on this team. Detroit already has one of the better young cores in the league, but now with another potential top pick, they are going to have a team to deal with in the eastern conference for years to come. This team is going to win games next year. And there’s a chance they could be playing serious games this time next year. That’s because they have a foundation. And wins like this prove that they are establishing an identity.
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Featured Image Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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