The Detroit Pistons were already playing with one hand behind their back, but, damn it, they decided to tie their other hand as well and see if they could Houdini themselves to a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. It went about as well as you’d expect.
The Pistons surrendered the first 14 points to the Bucks. And they were already working without starting center Isaiah Stewart (suspension), Killian Hayes (thumb injury) and sixth man Kelly Olynyk (MCL sprain).
The Bucks were eager to take advantage of the lifeless early showing and not look back, though the Pistons were able to manage to claw themselves back into striking distance a few times. It is hard to tell how much of that was quality execution on Detroit’s part, and how much of that was a relatively bored Bucks team letting a bad team get too close for comfort.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 33 points and added 7 rebounds and 5 assists for good measure. He was able to get what he wanted at just about any moment on the floor. Bobby Portis, with a tag team of Luka Garza and Trey Lyles guarding him had an effortless 28 points including hitting 6-of-7 from deep.
The Pistons were led by the aforementioned Lyles, who managed to score 19 points off the bench. Saben Lee played a season-high 29 minutes and scored 12 points and had five assists and four steals. Lee struggled with his shot, but he also showcased enough to leave you confident he’s more than just a guy who can light up the G League.
Cade Cunningham again flirted with a triple-double but nobody would mistake this for a quality game. He had nine points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but he also had four turnovers and hit just 3-of-10 from the field.
Right now Cunningham is simply an extremely inefficient volume shooter, and it’s not because he’s taking a ton of ill-advised shots. He’s taking quality looks and they are not going in.
On one hand, he’s doing a ton of other good things on the court and the decisions are mostly sound so you can live with the poor shooting while he’s figuring things out and the coaching staff is working on his shot.
On the other hand, he was inefficient inside the 3-point line in college and his looks are simply not going in. Hopefully it changes, but ... yeah, I don’t want to finish the thought.