NBA summer league: Pistons finally lose, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope still hot

Detroit's second-year guard was tremendous yet again, although he couldn't get the Pistons over the hump against the Celtics.

Let's get the outcome out of the way, because that's what matters least: the Detroit Pistons lost their first game at the Orlando Pro Summer league, falling to the Boston Celtics, 92-90.

And now, let's talk about the process, since that's what actually matters in this exhibition season. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 12 of his 26 points in the final four minutes to give the Pistons a chance to steal the game against the Celtics. But when the Pistons got the ball back with 0.4 seconds on the clock, he missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

KCP did more than score: he also finished with nine rebounds, three assists and a steal. In four games in Orlando, he's averaging 27 points, eight rebounds, two assists and 2.2 steals. At times he's been overly aggressive -- he shot just 8-22 from the field and committed six fouls on Wednesday (summer league rules allow for 10 before DQ) -- but it's still fun seeing him embrace the alpha dog role after seeing him relegated to an afterthought on the floor his rookie season.

Caldwell-Pope has likely done enough to seal MVP honors in Orlando, even if he ends up sitting out Detroit's final game on Friday. He rolled his ankle midway through Tuesday's contest, and he apparently tweaked a hamstring in the third quarter Wednesday, although he never left the game. Teammate Peyton Siva sat Wednesday with a sore hamstring, and it wouldn't be a surprise if the Pistons were just as cautious with KCP tomorrow.

Other notable performances:

Justin Harper was a perfect 7-7 from the field, including 4-4 from 3-point range. His only miss was a freebie: he shot 1-2 from the line. He finished the game with 19 points, six rebounds and two steals.

• Stretch four Brian Cook was 4-7 from deep, shooting 5-10 overall and finishing with 14 points.

• Boston's Marcus Smart shot just 4-13 from the field, finishing with 14 points. But hey, we already knew he was a poor shooter.

Tony Mitchell was invisible, playing just 11:33 minutes and registering just two points and a personal foul.

• Celtics guard Dairis Bertans was carried off the court in a stretcher after hitting his head on the stanchion in the third quarter. He was briefly hospitalized as a precaution but is expected to return to action in a couple of days.

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