After a slow first quarter, the Detroit Pistons took control of tonight’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans en route to a decisive win in former coach Stan Van Gundy’s return to Detroit.
The victory is Detroit’s eighth of the season and somehow puts them only four games out of the eight seed in the weak Eastern Conference. That says more about the East than it does about the Pistons.
Without Blake Griffin (rest) and Sekou Doumbouya (concussion), the Pistons’ bench players stepped up and fueled multiple runs. But the biggest story was Mason Plumlee’s first career triple-double.
Plumlee scored 17 points while grabbing 10 rebounds and tossing 10 assists, all while battling his formidable counterpart Steven Adams. Plumlee was all around solid, which was fitting on a night where nearly the entire team performed well.
Saddiq Bey was rewarded for his career-high performance against Boston and answered with 16 points on four of eight shooting from deep while playing solid defense.
Plumlee and Bey were two of six (!) Pistons with at least 15 points against the Pelicans. That group included Svi Mykhailiuk who shot well from the floor while making plays off the dribble while attacking closeouts.
The younger wing rotation led to far more attacking of closeouts in general, and a lot of smart kick-out passes led to Detroit’s best ball movement game of the year. On several occasions, the Pistons arguably passed the ball too much in an attempt to keep the ball moving.
Defensively, the Pistons did a nice job limiting Pelicans not named Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, who each scored 26 points. Despite those numbers, Detroit made both of the Pelicans’ dynamic scorers to work for everything they got.
All of that resulted in Detroit’s first winning streak of the season. It comes at a time when their younger players are starting to develop some chemistry and are building on success game by game.
- Isaiah Stewart played about as well defensively as you can on Zion Williamson. Zion finished over him a couple times but Stewart was a brick wall, as usual.
- Josh Jackson is all the way back from his ankle injury and the creation is getting to be a real thing.
- Dennis Smith, Jr. took a couple pretty bad shots, but he played within the offense while still being assertive, which is the role Detroit needs him to play.
- It was nice to see the rest of the team shoulder some additional offensive load with Jerami Grant struggling a bit.