The Detroit Pistons shot the ball well in Dallas but fell 127-117 as they couldn’t overcome Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson’s first-half onslaught.
Detroit shot just over 50% overall and 40% from 3-point territory for the game, but their defense could not slow the Mavericks.
Detroit’s offense was clicking on all cylinders with a 36-point first quarter. The Dallas defense wasn’t physical or particularly active, and Detroit more than took advantage of it.
Grant scored 15 in the first quarter on a flurry of jump shots and strong takes to the basket. Cory Joseph added nine. Mason Plumlee orchestrated traffic and made the right plays.
Luka, sometimes willing to defer early in the game, scored 13 in the first 12 minutes to pace the home team.
Saben Lee only played 12 minutes in this one, but he caught a body in the first. And wouldn’t you know, George Blaha was nodding off as it went down:
Saben Lee got his poster! pic.twitter.com/ygCIQk7hOP— Palace Pistons (@PalaceOfPistons) April 22, 2021
The second quarter belonged to Jalen Brunson, as he scored 13 of his 18 first-half points in the frame. If someone told me he scored 23 in the quarter instead, I might have believed it. Every other possession was a silky smooth Brunson bucket. Brunson got to anywhere he wanted, especially in the mid range, and went to work. He shot 8-for-9 from the field and even had time for three assists. Brunson is in fact enjoying a breakout third season with career-highs in most areas (and nearly 13 points per game). The Villanova product plays like a typical Villanova product with his shrewd shot making, savviness, and toughness.
The Pistons offense sputtered in the second quarter, scoring just 22 points. The energy level seemed to taper off significantly from the first. However, the Mavericks had a lot to do with it as their 2-3 defense put a stop to most of Detroit's sets and open looks. Grant also picked up his third foul and sat most of the quarter. Once Grant left the floor, the offense went with him.
The Pistons trailed 67-58 at the break.
For the second half, here is instant reaction as the game rolls on.
Grant picked up his fourth foul early in the third and finds a spot on the bench.
Mason Plumlee has already eclipsed 10 rebounds for the game. He has quietly been solid on the glass and offensively.
Luka took a logo three and banked it in as the shot clock was winding down. Luka sure does have deep range as NBA fans well know, however, I’m not sure he is Steph Curry or Damian Lillard caliber yet.
Cory Joseph continues to drill everything, as his straightaway triple brings Detroit within five with just under five minutes to go in the third.
Hamidou Diallo can’t find a basket no matter if he was wide open from downtown, the free throw line, or right under the rim. He has struggled offensively the last handful of games to say the least.
Did Willie Cauley-Stein make his hair color the way it is to specifically match the Dallas uniform colors?
Luka’s breaks, matched with his handles, are something else. And he is one of the most burst-y players in the game.
Dallas up 100-90 on Detroit going into the final 12 minutes. Did Frank Jackson play in that third quarter? Detroit needs him to win this game. He has played nine minutes up to this point, and that’s not enough. Jackson has scored about 100 points in the last three games.
Diallo is continually doing nothing right. He’s going 100 miles an hour with nowhere to go. Teams play off him due to his less than strong perimeter ability. Perfect tanking weapon tonight as fast-break opportunities are few.
Mavericks up 15 with nine minutes and change left. They have lost four of five and damn if they lose to a bottom feeder.
Grant with zero rhythm right now after spending so much time on the bench since the first quarter. He is being force fed the rock. Dorian Finney-Smith is doing a good job, too.
Right on cue, Grant with a quick five and it’s just an 11-point ballgame with 5:35 left.
Josh Jackson hasn’t quite been his usual wild self tonight. Quietly he’s had a pretty nice floor game and a few shifty passes. Not a ton of hero ball situations.
Detroit is doing a decent job defending Luka down the stretch, but he is one of the best at making a play for himself or finding the right teammate.
Luka finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in 33 minutes. Brunson scored 20 points with five assists and no turnovers.
Grant scored 26 in 27 foul-plagued minutes, while Joseph scored 24 in 36 minutes.
Detroit will continue their Texas trip with a matchup against the San Antonio Spurs Thursday evening.