Wow. What a game for Buddy Hield.
Hield was hot in the first half, then picked things back up in the fourth quarter to help close a 12 point Pistons lead.
Detroit went scoreless for three minutes and watched that 12 point lead evaporate to just one, getting nothing from the offense. Blake eventually took control by getting an and-one and looked like he might have shifted the momentum.
But Hield came up with a three with 1:11 left to give the Kings their first lead since the first quarter. Blake responded with another bucket, the Pistons got a stop, and though they didn’t score on their next possession they at least ran the clock down to just 3.4 seconds.
At first I hadn’t noticed, but Pistons Twitter pointed out that there probably should have been a double dribble or travel call.
But I find it hard to even be mad. This Kings team is just so damn likable.
They play fast, they play hard, and they really know how to fight. That paid off with the win tonight.
With Andre Drummond and Ish Smith out with injuries, Dwane Casey had to get creative with his rotations and, for most of the game, they worked. Until they couldn’t score in the fourth anymore.
Zaza Pachulia got the start at center, but for the most part Casey staggered the center spot to pair Zaza with Luke Kennard and Jon Leuer with Blake Griffin. The Kennard/Zaza chemistry has been really impressive, as Zaza seems to make it his mission to get Kennard open.
It was the Blake and Kennard show offensively, the only two Pistons to end up in double figures scoring. Kennard finished with 19 points in 23 minutes on 7-12 shooting, including 4-6 from three. Blake had 38 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.
With Drummond out, the Pistons had to get creative on the boards but still out-rebounded the Kings 46-39. Shout out to Bruce Brown with 10 rebounds, his new career high.
Kennard left the game for a few minutes after a collision early in the fourth where it looked initially like he may have aggravated his right shoulder injury from earlier this year. But it turned out to likely have been a bruise in the thigh - much less problematic. He ended up closing the game.
The Pistons fought tough despite being short handed and can at least say they’ve played competent ball over the past five games. Moral victory, maybe. But still counts as another L.
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