The Detroit Pistons blew an 18-point first quarter lead and lost 110-105 to the Utah Jazz behind horrid bench play and a dominating second half from Donovan Mitchell.
It was truly a crystallization of just about everything wrong with the Detroit Pistons.
The bench blew a big lead and allowed a team on the second night of a back-to-back to get back into the game.
Jon Leuer, a high priced free agent in 2016 was -13 in just 10 minutes of play and allowed an easy path to the rim for anyone interested.
Stanley Johnson was a team-worst -14 in 14 minutes, and looks increasingly like a draft miss that will leave the organization after the season, leaving Detroit with nothing to show for it.
Luke Kennard played a listless 13 minutes and scored two points on five shots. The player picked right after him, Donovan Mitchell, scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half and hit clutch shot after clutch shot for the Jazz late in the game.
After blowing an 18-point lead and falling behind by as many as 11 points the Pistons cut it to a 3-point deficit with the ball and 12 seconds left to play.
Reggie Jackson danced the ball up the court and seemed to leave his feet for no reason whatsoever as he fired an awkward off-balance pass to Reggie Bullock coming off a screen. The pass was high and to the right of Bullock, who couldn’t secure the ball. Turnvoer. Ballgame. Thanks, Reggie Jackson.
That was the team’s 18th turnover on the night, with Utah turning that into 25 points.
Oh yeah, and Detroit allowed the Jazz to score 56 points in the paint.
Backup point guard Jose Calderon was dreadful as well, a sieve on defense that gave up penetration to whomever he faced off against.
Did I mention that the Jazz were on the second nigh of a back-to-back? Embarrassing.
If you’re interested in highlights there were a few. Bruce Brown looked truly excellent, especially in the first half as the starting shooting guard. He handled the ball quite a bit and was in a lot of pick-and-roll actions with Andre Drummond. Brown had a career-high seven assists and scored 12 points, including several nice drives that led to either baskets or free throws.
Reggie Bullock was hot from 3, especially in the first half, canning five on the way to 19 points. Blake Griffin had a game-high 34 points and made a lot of quality moves in the paint without turning the ball over.
Andre Drummond even had a solid post-game, which was probably inevitable after we wrote 2,500 words about how bad his post game was. Drummond finished with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and had 18 rebounds.
But in the end, this game was lost when the Pistons were forced to play anybody on their bench. They were all truly dreadful. Dwane Casey obviously wanted no part of his bench in the second half, riding his starters, minus Reggie Jackson, as long as he could in the third quarter. The starters sat with less than two minutes to go in the third and were up by six points with 1:06 left in the third. Nine minutes of game action later and the Pistons were down by 11 points.
The Pistons really missed Zaza Pachulila and Ish Smith, and that fact is sincerely depressing. Get well soon, guys. Reggie Jackson is a bonehead, also sincerely depressing. Blake Griffin needs help and ... yeah, that’s enough for tonight.