After learning their star player Cade Cunningham would miss the rest of the season, the Pistons looked hungry for a win. And somehow, without their franchise player, Detroit came out firing on the offensive end. In the first three quarters, the Pistons were able to score 30+ points per quarter, and were confidently making shots. However, Lamelo Ball and Terry Rozier brought the Hornets back in the fourth quarter. An effort that was enough to force the game to overtime. But in the face of adversity, Detroit was able to come out with the win, off the heels of great performances by Killian Hayes and Alec Burks. The Pistons defeated the Hornets 141-134.
The questions about Killian Hayes and his confidence seem to be fading. And after this performance, it’s hard to comprehend that those questions were as prominent as they were. Hayes finished with 25 points and flirted with a triple double, getting 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Killian was just one shy of his career high. However, this performance was much more meaningful than his career high last season in OKC. This was Hayes putting the team on his shoulders down the stretch, taking confident shots beyond the arc. And not only that, Hayes is hitting them. He was one of the most cold blooded players on the court. This is the most impressive performace of the young player’s career. And now with the clear runway to start the rest of this season, we could be in store for some more games like this.
Pistons were red hot from the three point line
Despite many mishaps on the defensive end and allowing 130+ points, the Pistons somehow were even better offensively. A lineup that featured Lamelo Ball, Terry Rozier, and Kelly Oubre Jr. couldn’t outdo Killian, Bojan, and Alec Burks. The veteran guard off the bench had his best game in Detroit thus far, finishing with 27 points. When Burks came into the lineup during overtime, the game immediately swung in his favor. Burks wasted no time with him immediately scoring 5 points and giving the Pistons the lead. Rozier was hitting tough shots and doing everything he could, but it wasn’t enough. Detroit’s offensive firepower was too much. As a team, Detroit went 45 percent from beyond the arc. Multiple players throughout the rotation were able to contribute multiple three’s, which gave them significant momentum.
In addition to Detroit’s best shooting performance this season, the Pistons had the best performance from their bigs as well. Jalen Duren showed his Drummond-esque rebounding instincts, notching 19 rebounds. Even more impressively, 6 of those boards were on the offensive glass. By the way, Duren was drafted 13th by the Charlotte Hornets in this year draft. However, they elected to trade the big to Detroit in exchange for the future first round pick and instead drafted center Mark Williams. Williams has only appeared in 3 games, and averaged 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds. Good job Hornets (not to be unprofessional, but holy **** this franchise is ran by morons).
Isaiah Stewart thriving as the Power Forward
With Marvin Bagley being ruled out for the majority of the game with right knee soreness, pressure was on for Isaiah Stewart. Both Duren and Beef Stew were tasked with playing 35+ minutes, and both were able to deliver. Stewart finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds as well, going 8-10 from the field. Before this past year’s summer league, Isaiah Stewart has never played the power forward position. And the fact that he’s now starting in this position, and quickly seeing success bodes well for the future of Detroit’s front court.
Both Stewart and Duren showed their abilities to switch on guards and defend towards the perimiter. And Isaiah Stewart’s inspirations from Al Horfard are starting to shine through. Whether Isaiah Stewart comes off the bench or starts when this team is contending is almost entirely irrelevant. However, when establishing a culture, every rebuild needs a heart and soul. A player that champions and represents everything that the Pistons are trying to embody. Isaiah Stewart has been just that almost since his first weeks with the franchise. And now, comparing the player he is today to the backup energy big that was limited on offense, it’s night and day.
Detroit hosts Keegan Murray and the Red-Hot Kings on Friday
Coming off a big overtime win, the Pistons will come home and face Keegan Murray and the Sacramento Kings. The Kings started the season as one of the hottest teams in the league. And don’t look now, but the beam team is currently in sixth place in the Western Conference. Head Coach Mike Brown has instilled a new culture with a new commitment on the defensive end. And with Dearon Fox playing the best ball of his career, surrounded by a ton of really good players, this Kings team is no longer a joke. We officially live in a reality where both the Sacramento Kings and Detroit Lions are good. Bet you didn’t have that on your 2022 bingo card.