The Detroit Pistons looked like they might stretch that winning to an impressive two after surging to an 18-1 lead to begin the game against the Sacramento Kings. The crowd was booing, coach Luke Walton was furious and the Sacramento players had no answers.
The Pistons were able to stretch the cushion to 21 points before the Kings punched back. Then Derrick Rose went down with an apparent ankle injury and, to the surprise of nobody, no lead is safe with the Pistons — especially this tank-tastic version without Rose.
The Kings were able to cut the deficit to one point by halftime and then took the lead early in the third quarter where they stayed mostly comfortably ahead. The loss is Detroit’s ninth in 10 games.
The Rose injury coupled with Bruce Brown already missing due to injury meant ... shudder ... Brandon Knight was Detroit’s point guard all over again.
Knight, truthfully, played decently. But he’s not a point guard. He has an extremely sloppy handle and no feel for distributing to teammates. He’s got a decent scorer’s instinct and can knock down a three, though. Knight finished the game with 16 points courtesy of five 3-pointers and seven assists. He had four turnovers, though, joining fellow loose handle All-Star Svi Mykhailiuk who also had four. Svi did have 14 points and six rebounds so it wasn’t all bad.
The Pistons were led by Christian Wood with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Wood only hit one of his four 3-point attempts but did get to the line seven times (making five) and continues to really assert himself on the offensive end. He can hit jumpers, reliably drive from the top of the key into the lane and is always looking to cut toward the hoop and hoping a willing (and capable) passer throws it near his wide catch radius.
The Kings were able to dominate Detroit following the Rose injury courtesy of some timely 3s, owning the Pistons on the offensive glass and a late fourth quarter flurry from De’Aron Fox who scored 11 of his 23 points in the final frame.
The Rose injury opens up time not only for Knight but also Derrick Walton Jr who is on a 10-day contract. He played 13 minutes tonight and had two assists, two steals, a turnover and hit his only shot — a 3-pointer.
Fellow 10-dayer Donta Hall got some additional run with Thon Maker out but wasn’t able to do much with his time.
The Kings were led by Fox’s 23 points and seven assists. Buddy Hield chipped in 19 points off the bench and also got some sneaky good minutes from Alex Len, who I wouldn’t mind the Pistons adding to the roster in the offseason to shore up the center position. Len had eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in 27 minutes.