The Detroit Pistons honored the late Kobe Bryant before tipoff with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but didn’t carry that over into their actual play and loss in lopsided fashion 115-100 in a game that was never really close.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey said Bryant would have been embarrassed by his team’s lack of effort.
“Tonight, we didn’t compete … We didn’t play hard enough. That was from the first play of the game to the end of the game,” coach Dwane Casey said, per the Detroit News. “We talk about Kobe this and Kobe that. Believe me, rest his soul, he would be embarrassed with our non-compete level. That’s what was concerning for me.”
Before the game, the team wore their black Motor City jerseys but each one had Bryant’s name on the back and the No. 8 or No. 24. The Pistons and Cavs also agreed to take respective 24- and 8-second violations on the first two possessions in honor of Bryant.
The moment was inspiring, and, sadly, the game went downhill from there. Kevin Love, who was close with Bryant, came out of the gate on fire. Love had all 20 of his points by halftime including hitting 6-of-8 3s. Collin Sexton led all scorers with 23 points.
The Pistons by Reggie Jackson, who started as Derrick Rose did not play. Jackson had 16 points but just two assists, and the lack of all movement all night really showed. The team as a whole had only 10 assists as play was really lethargic, teammates weren’t communicating and those with the ball were missing opportunities to find players for open looks.
On a game as bad as this one, the only thing you can do is look at the performance of the young guys, but it isn’t much a respite in this case. Sekou Doumbouya bricked both his 3s on his way to eight points, four points, three turnovers and a pair of blocks.
Thon Maker started alongside Doumbouya and Drummond, for some reason, and had nine points and six boards. Christian Wood didn’t do much in his 20 minutes, Louis King made one shot in his 11 minutes. Svi Mykhailiuk got his customary 15 points but it took him 13 shots to do so.
The Pistons shot poorly, defended poorly, lost the rebounding battle, didn’t pass the ball and gave up 64 points in the paint. All this to a Cavaliers team who had won 12 games on the season.
Throw this one in the dustbin of history and start trading some of those vets.