Detroit fans, stop me if you’ve heard this before. The team looks great to start. They get out to a big first half lead. The lead is squandered. The opponent goes up big. Pistons lose.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
The Pistons were on fire early, thanks in no small part to their terrific start from the 3-point line. Saddiq Bey offered a welcome dose of confidence, going 3-of-4 from distance in the first quarter, as the Pistons nailed six of their first nine 3-point attempts.
Detroit’s solid play held up through the entirety of the first quarter, as the Pistons ended the period with a 32-25 lead. Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes were crucial to the hot start for the offense, as the young guard pairing combined for nine points and seven assists in the opening quarter.
The No. 1 overall pick also showed off his signature cross-up on this and-one highlight:
Cade, buddy, it's very disrespectful to walk into a city like New Orleans, with such a great food culture, and serve some And-1 Sauce. pic.twitter.com/tMLjHCjyG7— Halbridious (@Halbridious) December 11, 2021
Trey Lyles was the surprise standout for Detroit off the bench in the first half, scoring 12 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field, and nailing two 3-pointers. The bench unit continued the Pistons’ inspired play in the second period, extending the lead as high as 15 points before the Pelicans began storming back.
The Pistons had no answer for the Pelicans trio of Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas and Josh Hart in the first half as the combo accounted for 47 of the Pelicans’ 54 first half points. Ingram especially caused major problems for Detroit, converting a four-point play in the last minutes of the first half to bring the Pelicans within one, before nailing two free throws the next possession to give his team the lead.
B.I. finished with 24 first half points, as the Pistons managed to take a 55-54 lead into the break.
Of course, I can’t move on from the first half recap without mentioning this thunderous second quarter jam from Hamidou Diallo:
Though the Pistons squandered their 15 point second quarter lead, it seemed this Pelicans squad could be beaten with a competitive second half.
Then, the third quarter offensive woes struck again.
As well as the Pistons played offensively to start this game, the beginning of the second half was among the worst stretches of offensive basketball Detroit has showcased this season.
Yes, it was that bad.
Things got off to a rocky start in the second when the Pelicans got out to a 7-0 run, forcing a Pistons’ timeout less than two minutes into the period. New Orleans extended that to a 10-0 run before Cunningham finally hit a 3-pointer to stop the run. But that shot could not stop the bleeding entirely.
The Pelicans answered Cade’s three with another 9-0 run - for a grand total of 19-3 to start the second half before Frank Jackson FINALLY hit the Pistons’ second shot of the quarter, a 3-pointer with less than five minutes remaining in the third.
For those keeping score, that means the Pistons scored just three points across the first seven minutes of the second half. All told, the Pelicans took control of this game in the third, outscoring Detroit 29-12 in the period and taking a 83-67 lead into the second half.
All happenings in the fourth quarter were moot at that point, as the Pistons went on an 11-0 charge midway through the final period to feign a comeback effort, but it wasn’t enough. When the final bell rang, Detroit tallied its 11th straight loss, failing yet again to grab that elusive fifth win.
Despite the hot start from the field, the Pistons finished this one 36-of-91 for 36.9% from the field and 12-of-37 for 32.4% from 3-point range. Lyles and Cunningham led Detroit in scoring, the former shooting an efficient 7-8 from the field while the latter shot a considerably less efficient 6-of-18. The only other Pistons to tally double-digit scoring numbers were Diallo, Bey and Grant - putting up 11 points each. Ingram diced up Pistons’ defenders for 26 points total, while Valanciunas scored 17 points and added 11 rebounds.
In the end, it was another excruciating loss for the Pistons, as the team searches far and wide for an answer to its’ 11-game losing streak.
The 4-21 Pistons will be back home Sunday to play host to the Brooklyn Nets.