The Detroit Pistons came into Washington feeling pretty confident. After all, they were just coming off of their third win in four games. Not to mention the game winner that snapped their losing streak to the Charlotte Hornets. However, despite another solid night from their trio of wings, and a 40 point surge in the second quarter, the Pistons fell short Tuesday night. The Wizards won the game 116-113. And ultimately, Kyle Kuzma was the difference maker for the Wizards. The Flint Native dropped 21 points, grabbed 9 boards, and dished 6 assists. Kuzma’s all around game has been able to flourish for the Wizards.
On his quest for the rookie of the year award, Cade Cunningham had another good game. And the best part is, Cade Cunningham didn’t have two fouls in the first five minutes! If Cade Cunningham can prevent the early foul trouble, that will in itself win more games for the Pistons. But it’s also his 20 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. The all around game that Jalen Rose himself praised on The Bottom Line this week.
“…and that’s what we’re going to need: the Pistons to ultimately have a position and opportunity to do.” – @JalenRose pic.twitter.com/XkDVBuIKkc
— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) March 1, 2022
Jerami Grant is on a good stretch, Pistons thriving because of it
After a pair of rough shooting nights, Jerami Grant had a bounce back performance in DC. It gave remnants of the Jerami Grant of last year, the player that was in the running for Most Improved player. It was Grant’s 26 points, shooting an efficient 9-17 from the field. He even went 3-5 from beyond the arc, and got 4 assists as well, a part of Jerami Grant’s game that is encouraging to see more of. He lead the team in minutes, as well as having the best plus/minus on the team at +6. And outside of Grant, Cade Cunningham, and Saddiq Bey, the Pistons had little to no offensive firepower.
Kelly Olynyk has seemed to find his rhythm as well, notching 10 points shooting 80% from the field. Detroit felt the absence of Marvin Bagley’s quick offense. The lack of offense from the bench was the difference maker for the Pistons. Nobody else in the second unit, and two players in the starting lineup, were able to score double figures. Killian Hayes had a very standard Killian Hayes performance of late. 7 points, 2-6 from the field, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. He impresses in so many facets of the game. He feels like a Ben Simmons light. He can make plays and defend on a high level. However, his individual scoring ability is some of the worst in the NBA.
Isaiah Livers now in the Pistons rotation
Despite making his debut briefly in 2021 and missing more time due to health, Isaiah Livers is in the rotation. He is one of the rookies Detroit selected in the second round, and believe that Livers can find a way in the rotation going forward. So far, Livers isn’t playing more than 10-12 minutes a game. Although tonight was a quiet performance for Isaiah, the Pistons still have a lot of incentive to give Livers a chance to play going forward. And at the end of the season when teams start shutting down their starters, Livers could get some starting minutes.
Livers, a 23 year old rookie out of Michigan, has believers in the building. Not only does he have Dwane Casey and Troy Weaver, but John Beilein is on staff as well. He has the tools to be a potential three and d player in the NBA for years to come. However, he will need to get consistent reps. Now that he is feeling healthy, and is getting eased into game action, he can focus on improvement. Isaiah can finally learn how to play on the court with his teammates in real game action. He is someone that could fly under the radar, and perhaps will have a future with the Cruise at the very least. Perhaps could be brought in as the two-way player.
Pistons head to Toronto on Thursday
The Pistons will have a chance to bounce back in Toronto on Thursday. With Dwane Casey’s record against his former team, it feels easy to count this as an automatic win internally. However, it will take more consistency from the supporting cast. Cade, Jerami, and Saddiq can’t do it by themselves. And if they can’t perform, they might not be back in Detroit next season.
It is important to note that the Raptors have been on a good stretch of late, and are definitely a playoff team. It will be a tough game without Marvin Bagley, as the Raptors do have height over the Pistons. Either way, Toronto is always a compelling matchup with Detroit.
Follow Sean on Twitter at seanhalfcourt and also on YouTube.
Featured Image Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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