The Detroit Pistons had Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee back in the lineup, but they still had no answers for MVP candidate Joel Embiid in Detroit’s 118-104 loss on the road Saturday night. The loss secures Detroit the worst road record in the NBA.
The game was not very competitive from the jump, and Philadelphia, entering tonight on a seven-game winning streak, felt confident enough to sit starters Ben Simmons and Seth Curry. Embiid and backup center Dwight Howard were more than able to carry the load against the overmatched Pistons.
Embiid ended the night with a game-high 29 points and six rebounds and was able to score on cuts, backdowns, step-backs and even from the perimeter. Howard finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds and the two put about every big man who dared try to guard them into immediate foul trouble.
The Philly defense behind its two big men and with an assist from Mattise Thybulle was stifling. The Pistons were only able to eke the score past 100 once the game hit garbage time in the letter stages of fourth quarter.
For Detroit, it was really all about glimmers of hope from a series of young players. Deividas Sirvydis played the entire second quarter and show himself more than capable on the floor. He anticipated well on defense, led a fast break and used his lightning quick release on a couple of made 3s. Sirvydis finished with 8 points in a season-high 24 minutes.
Sekou Doumbouya also had another strong game with 12 points and four rebounds. He cut well and played strong near the hoop, finishing a couple times in traffic. He’s looking stronger and more comfortable on the floor.
Saddiq Bey struggled in the first half, but he had a strong third quarter with 10 points and hit jumpers and finished in the lane. The Pistons rookies seem to have hit a bit of a rookie wall lately so it was nice to see Bey break out a bit.
Speaking of rookies hitting the wall, Isaiah Stewart has really struggled lately. That continued tonight. He was mired in foul trouble and was making some poor decisions on the floor. He was able to break out of it a bit late in the game thanks to a pair of 3-pointers, but it’d be nice for him to look a little more Beef Stewy with only a couple games remaining on the year.
Lastly, let’s talk Killian Hayes. Hayes wasn’t great off the bench for Detroit, but he did score 10 points and had six assists. It was the 11th consecutive game for Hayes with 5-plus assists. He was 4-of-8 from the floor and 2-of-3 from the perimeter. He still doesn’t assert his will on offense and his inability to get to the free-throw line is concerning, but he commanded the floor much better, and made much better decisions with the ball in his hands.
Detroit will get right back at it tomorrow with a game against the Chicago Bulls. Don’t be surprised if all those players available tonight — Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Wayne Ellington, Cory Joseph — are out tomorrow.