In a long NBA season, there’s some nights where things just aren’t work.
Those moments are more common for this year’s Detroit Pistons than most teams, but that sense has never came earlier than it did tonight.
A little more than three minutes into the game, the New York Knicks were up 14-0 and Dwane Casey went full-on hockey sub amidst Detroit’s first point of the game via a Saddiq Bey free throw.
The bench unit fared equally poorly.
With a four guard plus Isaiah Stewart lineup, the Pistons had no one to defend Julius Randle and the Knicks were able to get whatever they wanted offensively by allowing their All Star to initiate the offense.
When the Pistons had the ball, things didn’t go much better. Detroit employed extra ball handlers to attempt to move the ball more against a Knicks defense that punishes stagnant opponents, but no one had the juice to really cause any stress for Thibodeau’s team.
Cory Joseph kept Detroit afloat in the first quarter, which pretty much says it all.
The one bright spot was Pistons fans got to see lottery pick Killian Hayes for the first time in three months.
Hayes played 20 minutes and looked healthy which is the most important thing for Detroit. He was hesitant to shoot, but he displayed the ability to read a tough defense and make high-level passes, an encouraging sight for a team begging for a dynamic passer.
Defensively, Hayes displayed a generally strong understanding of where he was supposed to be save a couple typical rookie mistakes. He also showed an ability to navigate screens and chase opponents:
Killian does a nice job of chasing shooters. Here he sticks with Bullock through multiple cuts and screens. pic.twitter.com/zaAjqVf4vb— Halbridious (@Halbridious) April 4, 2021
Despite the huge blowout, Sekou Doumbouya did not see the floor. That’s despite the fact that Deividas Sirvydis saw some run at the tail end of the game. This is the second straight did not play for Sekou coming off an injury, and it’s fair to start wondering what is going on to keep him off the floor in games that aren’t ever really close.
The loss drops Detroit to 14-35 on the season and is a harsh reminder of just how bad they can be from night to night. The tank is very much alive.
- Though he didn’t shoot particularly well, this was another solid outing from Hamidou Diallo. He was the lone Piston who could consistently get into the paint against the Knicks’ defense selling out to prevent the same.
- Speaking of Diallo, we saw some chemistry between he and Killian Hayes tonight. That would be a nice thing to develop for the rest of the season.
- Tonight was a good reminder of Saben Lee’s limitations against a good defense. He has to develop more variety in his game. He did make a corner three, though!