I wouldn’t want to subject anyone to watching or rewatching this game, but if every potential voter for Rookie of the Year was forced to witness this Detroit performance then Cade Cunningham would win the award in a landslide.
Without their star rookie on the floor, who missed his second consecutive game with a hip pointer, the Pistons offense looked completely lost.
The Detroit Pistons scored just 31 points in the first half and trailed by as many as 24 points as the Boston Celtics were able to sleepwalk their way to an easy victory against an offense that couldn’t hit a shot and a defense that couldn’t provide any resistance at the rim.
Detroit was able to make the game seem closer than it was with a late rally in the fourth quarter and the Celtics third stringers in the game, but everyone watching knows just how lifeless Detroit looked for most of the game.
The margin would have been even more lopsided if the Celtics put up much effort even when their starters were in, but you could tell the Boston players felt like they could cruise to a victory playing in second gear. Boston was more interested in long 3-pointers and alley-oops than in running any sort of complex offense. And it worked.
Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 24 points and was one of five Celtics in double figures. Saddiq Bey and Hamidou Diallo led Detroit with 21 points apiece. Bey did most of his damage during Detroit’s mini-rally in the fourth quarter while Hamidou Diallo seemed to be the only Detroit player putting in maximum effort the entire game.
Killian Hayes also struggled in the first half, but he redeemed himself a bit in the second. He finished the night with 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
Jerami Grant was mostly a non-factor in 25 uncompetitive minutes on the floor. He scored 10 points to go with three rebounds and three assists.
The top three worst performances from Detroit might have come from its three big men, which is a troubling trend and a sign of the biggest weakness on this team. Isaiah Stewart was just 3-of-11 for six points, Trey Lyles was 3-of-10 for nine points and four turnovers, and Kelly Olynyk played perhaps his worst game of the season and was 1-of-6 from the floor and made several baffling decisions.
The entire team struggled, don’t get me wrong, but the performance of the big men was particularly egregious. They couldn’t rebound, they couldn’t cut off paint penetration, they couldn’t screen, they couldn’t pass and they couldn’t score.
At one point Detroit as a team was 12-of-45 from inside the paint, according to the broadcast. It was a true horror show.
Come back soon, Cade. We need you.