Sometimes basketball just comes down to whether you have the best player on the floor. That was the story in Brooklyn on Saturday night where James Harden took over and finished off Detroit in a 100-95 Nets victory.
The Pistons fell to 10-28 on the season. The loss to the Nets came in the form of many of Detroit’s losses this season—they fought hard, took advantage of opponents’ mistakes, but the talent gap caught up to them in the end.
Jerami Grant led the Pistons in scoring as usual with 22 points on the strength of seven-of-eight shooting from the charity stripe. With even less spacing than usual following Svi Mykhailiuk’s departure, Grant’s job was tough, and his shooting from the floor suffered as a result. But he did show some more patience than usual for the second straight game which proved fruitful when it happened.
One of those patient drives led Grant to find Mason Plumlee on a mismatch for an easy layup. That happened only because Jerami drove with his head up as opposed to barreling to the rim hoping for a call.
Plumlee had his usual solid game, scoring 11 points while adding six rebounds and six assists. But his performance was overshadowed by his bench counterpart Isaiah Stewart.
Stewart was terrific defensively, blocking a career-high four shots in 20 minutes including a stellar play after he was isolated against James Harden:
Incredible defense on James Harden by Isaiah Stewart to end the 3rd quarter pic.twitter.com/wrenRHoW45— CaDetroit (@RedAlternates) March 14, 2021
Stewart also found some success offensively in his pairing with bench point guard Saben Lee. The Vanderbilt product didn’t score on the night, but he did dish out five assists and had a second half stretch where his feel for the game was on point which helped keep the Pistons in the game.
Although Stewart got the best of Harden at the end of the third quarter, Harden got the last laugh in the final period.
Detroit did a decent job preventing Harden from scoring (he had 24 points on 19 shots), but Harden tallied 10 assists and rebounds for a triple-double and took control of the game late. Detroit had no answer for him on either end, and Pistons fans thirst for the tank was quenched for yet another night.
- Dwane Casey has to find ways to get Jerami Grant the ball late in close games. Tonight was another example of the Pistons’ best player not touching the ball enough with the game at stake.
- Sekou Doumbouya saw only three minutes in the first half and was largely ignored by both teams when Detroit had the ball. He made a couple mistakes boxing out and defensively as his sophomore year struggles continue.
- Rodney McGruder continued his stretch of good play. He’s not dynamic by any means, but the ball just seems to find him on both ends of the floor.