With the Detroit Pistons missing Cade Cunningham for the season, the last thing they need is injuries/suspensions. And on Friday, due to the scuffle in the second half versus Orlando, Detroit was even more shorthanded. Killian Hayes and Hamidou Diallo were both suspended for their roles in the fight. And as a result, Jaden Ivey was given primary guard duties. Overall, Ivey thrived with the point guard duties, finishing with 22 points and six assists shooting 60 percent from the field. As a matter of fact, the team as a whole shot well from the field. The Pistons were 47 percent from the field as a team and 44 percent beyond the arc. However, as good as Detroit was offensively, and they had their moments, Zach Lavine was better. And as a result, the Bulls ultimately came out on top 132-118.
The Pistons were able to stay within single digits throughout almost the entire game. However, in the fourth quarter, Demar Derozan and Zach Lavine both took over. Two major issues on the defensive end plagued Detroit all night. The first one was points in the paint, allowing Chicago to score 66 of their 132 points in the interior. Their field goal percentage inside the paint was 70 percent. Part of the reason why was because the Bulls were able to get in transition. Lavine and crew outscored Detroit in fast break points 18-4. Whether it was Lavine’s speed getting up the court, turnovers, or arguing with refs, Detroit was often caught not getting back. And when you make that error against two elite slashers like Derozan and Lavine? They will make you pay.
Isaiah Stewart’s versatile game on display
If there is a “brightest feather” on the player development cap of the Pistons, it’s Isaiah Stewart. With a shortage of ball handlers in the lineup, Stewart was given the opportunity to put the ball on the deck more often than usual. And the results were impressive. The third year big finished with 16 points and 10 boards, also adding a pair of assists and even three steals. Stewart had some emphatic dunks, clutch threes, and even some impressive dimes. Stewart has been one of, if not, the most consistent member of the Pistons core this season. And he’s showing every reason why Detroit drafted him. With the offensive improvements the big man is showing, and the fact he’s already shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc? Troy Weaver is laughing until the cows come home.
Speaking of sneaky good transactions by Troy Weaver, Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic combined for 39 points tonight. Burks has only missed 3 shots in his last two games, continuing his red hot shooting from the Orlando game. And Bogdanovic took on more of a facilitating role tonight, an underrated aspect of his game. Bojan finished with 6 assists on the night, matching with Jaden Ivey. Killian Hayes’ presence was missed on both ends of the floor tonight. Offensively, the Pistons were unable to limit the turnovers, and defensively, missed Hayes versatility and length. Detroit will be without Hayes for two more games, with his return coming on the 4th at Golden State.
Pistons close out 2022 in Minnesota, facing the Timberwolves
Detroit will conclude their 2022 calendar year with a contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves will be without both Karl Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, so expect to see extended minutes from former Piston Luka Garza. The Timberwolves have lost five straight and will also be on a second night of a back to back. Minnesota will still be with Anthony Edwards, so the fireworks can always still go off in Minneapolis.
It will be the conclusion of an up and down year for the Pistons. A year full of growth and development, mixed with injuries and hard lessons learned. Between the growth of their young players, a new extension for Troy Weaver, and a chance at Victor Wembanyama, this team is ready for the calendar to shift. The league calendar, however, still has many months to go. Meaning there’s still plenty of opportunities for these players to get better.
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