The Detroit Pistons came into Boston quite shorthanded. In addition to the Isaiah Stewart injury, Detroit was without Hamidou Diallo, Rodney McGruder, Frank Jackson, and Killian Hayes. And if things couldn’t get worse, they had to face Jayson Tatum, who was on the monster stretch of his career. In his previous two competitions, Tatum combined for 110 points. However, on the flip side, it’s the Boston Celtics, a team that the Pistons have given fits all year. In fact, just a couple weeks before, Detroit came into Boston right before the All Star break and pulled off the upset.
In addition, Cade Cunningham was on a stretch of his own. And early on, Cade was cooking. It was apparent that he was in for another takeover performance. And despite finishing with 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, the Celtics ultimately pulled away in the fourth. And they ended up winning 114-103. Cade Cunningham wasn’t the only member of the Pistons with a solid performance. Marvin Bagley III and Jerami Grant both had 20 point games, and Bagley was able to get 11 boards as well. On the offensive end, he was able to establish his presence in the post.
However, on the defensive end, to say Bagley was a liability would be a little bit of an understatement. Despite his 2 steals, he was not able to force any discomfort in the post for Boston. In fact, the Celtics scored 68 of their 114 points in the paint. And to make matters worse, the Pistons were only able to score 13 points in the fourth quarter, totaling to only two field goals. It was apparent that Detroit was out of gas at the end the game, and the talent on the end of the Celtics proved to be too much.
Pistons kept it close, but lack of depth was their undoing
The Pistons were able to stay in this game due to the play of their first unit. However, with the injuries that have come over this team, they had to turn to their G-League affiliate. And outside of Kelly Olynyk, the bench was comprised of players who all have played for the Motor City Cruise this season. No player in the second unit played more than 18 minutes, and when they did, most of them did not play their greatest game. In his 10 minutes of action, two way player Jamorko Pickett finished with 8 points and 3 rebounds. In the opportunities he’s been given, Pickett has impressed. And it will be interesting to see how many minutes he will receive down the final stretch of the season.
Outside of Jamorko Pickett, however, the rest of the Pistons bench was underwhelming. Kelly Olynyk had a relatively quiet game himself, with 6 points in just 13 minutes. All in all, Detroit hung on in this game for as long as they could. However, with the lack of a reliable second unit, and the play of the Celtics stars, there just was nothing left in the tank in a miserable fourth quarter. The Pistons went 2-15 from the field, committed 5 turnovers, and were visibly uncomfortable with what Boston was doing. And that pressure made a young Pistons team crack.
Cade Cunningham gets another milest0ne, back at it on Sunday
In what seems to be almost a nightly occurrence, Cade Cunningham has set yet another milestone. Cunningham recorded his seventh game of at least 25 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds. And that ties a Pistons rookie record that was set by Grant Hill. With the play of Cunningham of late, it’s hard not to see the flashes of Grant Hill. And at this rate, he’s just coming for Hill’s records that he set. His name in the rookie record books are being brought up in the same light as Grant Hill and Isaiah Thomas almost on a regular basis. And when your name is being brought up along side some of the greatest players in the history of the franchise, that’s certainly the best possible way to start a career.
The Pistons will head back home to face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. And they will face former members of the Motor City in Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, and Marcus Morris. As the team heads back to Detroit, they will hope that they can get as many players back for Sunday’s game as possible. However, if they don’t, the pressure will be on Cade Cunningham to deliver once again. And if there’s anything that’s been apparent of late, he doesn’t exactly mind that pressure. In fact, he seems to be thriving in it.
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