Isaiah Stewart getting his second foul of the night 1:17 into this game was a pretty good indicator of how things were going to go in Memphis. Just like in Saturday’s scrimmage, the starters struggled in this game. I wouldn’t start waving the panic flag yet since Cade Cunningham hasn’t played, but I would keep my hand close to it. The starters are young so struggles are to be expected, but the bench is way better right now.
When the bench came in, the energy was better and the ball was flying around the court, led by Cory Joseph and Kelly Olynyk. They were able to get the deficit down to 34-27 after the first frame. This is the closest this game would ever be.
The second quarter was a disaster for the Pistons right from the beginning, and things never got better. They put in a few experimental lineups, and even gave Luka Garza some playing time, but nothing worked. Garza was especially bad defensively, but I won’t single him out because the whole team was less than great.
Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart both picked up their third fouls halfway through the quarter. It was clear that it was just not the Pistons’ night.
They were generating open looks, they just couldn’t hit any of them and Memphis was hitting everything. The Memphis lead would balloon to 24 and they would take a 70-46 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was much of the same as Dwane Casey waited until the Memphis lead was up to 30 points and there was only four minutes left in the quarter before putting Joseph and Olynyk back into the game. He definitely appeared to want some of the young guys to show some signs of life, but it just never happened. Sometimes it just isn’t your night.
Memphis would continue their hot shooting to cruise to victory. The Pistons would end this game with more turnovers than assists, which is a great way to lose a lot of games in the NBA.
Josh Jackson was one of the few bright spots in this game. He has continued his fantastic play throughout camp and the early parts of the preseason and seems primed to be a key player off the bench. He finished the game with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. He also started in the second half as Saddiq Bey was lost to an ankle injury.
The aforementioned Joseph and Olynyk had a solid first half. Their numbers are not as reflective of the impact they had on the energy and ball movement the team had when they were out there, although Olynyk did lead the team with five turnovers.
Hayes looked more aggressive, but his offensive struggles are still prevalent. He finished 2-of-9 from the field and was 1-of-3 from three. Hopefully he is working out the kinks and will be better when the regular season comes along.
The Pistons will take on the Knicks on Wednesday and will likely still be without Cade Cunningham.