Isaiah Stewart took Plumlee’s place in the starting lineup and was active on both ends of the floor. The rookie center blocked four shots in the first quarter and would have had at least a couple more throughout the game had a couple whistles not blown on some bang-bang plays.
The energy and connectivity of Stewart and the starters got Detroit off to a good start and the bench unit, led by Killian Hayes and Sekou Doumbouya, ended the quarter strong to give the Pistons a 30-19 lead after one period.
Detroit continued to maintain and grow their lead throughout the game in what was one of the most complete team efforts all season long.
Josh Jackson had his shooting stroke down early in the game and finished the game with 14 points on 50% shooting, five rebounds, and two assists. Saben Lee played his best game in some time while dishing out six helpers. Jerami Grant took advantage of having less pressure on him with a solid 21 points on 15 shots plus five rebounds and five assists.
The second unit was equally balanced and their performance was perhaps a bit more exciting.
In his second game back from the hip injury, Killian Hayes continued to look comfortable in all facets of the game. He looked for his own shot a bit more, and made a couple good-looking jumpers plus a smooth floater for nine points. His passing and defense were as good as we’re coming to expect, memorialized by his seven assists and four steals.
And we again saw some budding chemistry between Hayes and Hamidou Diallo with this exclamation mark in the fourth quarter:
Still, the story of the night was probably Sekou Doumbouya.
The second-year Piston hadn’t played double digit minutes since March 17 against the Raptors, and he took full advantage of each one of his 23 minutes tonight.
Doumbouya committed himself to driving when he received the ball, and the results were encouraging. When he got in-rhythm looks from behind the long line, he took them more confidently than he has all year. That \ culminated in 14 points on 11 shots along with a couple assists, including an eye emoji spin move into a kick out for a Diallo three.
On the Thunder’s end, Detroit got their first look at Aleksej Pokusevski. The rookie 7- footer showed off his offensive repertoire, but was a target on the other end to the point where Pistons were actively looking to push him off spots to get open looks inside the arc.
In Svi Mykhailiuk’s first game against his former team, he put together a nice game scoring 17 points on 10 shots while making an inordinate number of plays defensively.
On a normal night, Svi’s performance may have brought Pistons fans some pain. But on a night where Detroit’s future came together before our eyes for a night, it was more like a stubbed toe.
- Saddiq Bey tied the franchise record for rookie threes - he will obliterate it by the end of the year.
- None of the starters played more than 23 minutes, a welcome sight on the first night of a back-to-back.
- Opposition aside, the coaching staff probably deserves some credit for the way this team responded after a dreadful performance against the New York Knicks.