The Detroit Pistons, coming out of halftime down 15, clamped down on defense and rediscovered some flow on offense to win Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, 112-103. Saddiq Bey led the Pistons with 25 points and 5 rebounds, Cade Cunningham scored 21 points and added 11 rebounds and 7 assists, and Jaden Ivey threw in 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poured in 33 points (without a three-point attempt!) for the Thunder, but he was the only starter in double figures.
The first half was very rough for Detroit. The Pistons had 11 turnovers at halftime, Cade and Jaden were a combined 5-21 with 7 of those turnovers, and the team shot 2-15 from downtown, barely inching their way to 48 points. And that was just on offense; on defense, they had given up two 30+ point quarters to OKC, with it feeling like Tre Mann and Shai were just taking turns styling on whoever was in front of them.
Then, in the second half... Well, I’ll let Cade tell you:
Cunningham on what changed at halftime: "Our defense. We locked in defensively. We didn't even think about offense, we wanted to take pride in guarding the ball and taking care of that end. It translated on offense."— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) November 8, 2022
And it showed. The Pistons roared out to an 10-2 start in the first few minutes of the third, with a renewed focus on rebounding leading to transition opportunities. Some easy buckets helped them find the range from three, with a Bojan three, a Cade three, and a Stew three finally bringing them all the way back from that 15-point halftime deficit.
Then the bench helped! Hamidou Diallo (11 points, 8 rebounds, infinite chaos) took on the SGA defensive assignment and crashed the offensive glass relentlessly. Killian Hayes made some slick feeds. Jalen Duren lost a shoe and it didn’t matter at all:
Jalen Duren lost his shoe on this possession and still scored pic.twitter.com/Fo8fKGF8Wj— Rip Haminkton (@RedAlternates) November 8, 2022
(It was also noticeable to me that Saddiq did a ton of damage early in the fourth quarter with these bench lineups; Saddiq + Bench being a winning formula would be a nice thing to hit on if Marvin Bagley is close to returning and the Pistons are committed to starting two big men.)
If the bench held the door open for the starters, the starters then slammed it shut on OKC. The Thunder only scored 18 points in the final frame, with the Pistons working in concert to A) Keep SGA out of the paint B) Make him give it up to a teammate. Isaiah Stewart, in particular, made a great contest on Shai in an isolation possession in the clutch to force him into an off-balance 14-footer (that he missed). Cade closed the game with some timely finishes and dimes, and the Pistons go home happy.
- Saddiq (8-8 from the line, 1-7 from downtown) is learning The Art Of Foul Grifting from Bojan, and I personally love to see it.
- Jalen Duren, fresh off missing a few games with an ankle tweak, was in the game for all of 4 seconds before he blocked a Thunder layup into orbit. Jalen Duren has my heart for as long as he is in Detroit.
- Jaden Ivey really made an effort to attack the glass; anytime both your starting guards have 11 rebounds, you know SOMETHING was emphasized by the coaches. You love to see it.
Detroit moves up to 3-8 on the season, and will play Boston in Boston on Wednesday. See y’all then.