Eventually. The Detroit Pistons will win games likes Sunday’s afternoon tilt against the Minnesota Timberwolves eventually. The young team will learn how to close. They will learn how to stop runs and put their foot on the gas to put the game away. Eventually.
But that day was no Sunday afternoon at Target Center. Instead, a contest that was going back and forth for three quarters saw Minnesota put Detroit away in the final frame and walk away with a 118-105 victory.
Not only is Detroit not a good team, but even when they play well they are not quite talented or experienced enough to deal with winning time. That’s why Cade Cunningham is in Detroit, and, unfortunately, he missed his third consecutive game with a hip pointer.
That doesn’t mean that there were no positives for the young Pistons. Saddiq Bey is emerging more as a steady leader. Bey’s shot might sometimes not be there, but he’s always on the floor, almost always leading his team in minutes, and competing on both ends of the floor.
On Sunday, he led the Pistons with 24 points including six 3-pointers and added eight rebounds. The Pistons also got a strong showing on the boards from Isaiah Stewart, who had double-digit rebounds for his fourth consecutive game.
A lot has been made of Stewart’s limitations even as he provides energy and defense every night. Rebounding was one area he needed to improve on, and he should b credited for stepping up in that regard. He finished with 12 rebounds, five points and four blocks.
Lastly, Killian Hayes might have a long way to go, but he’s at least doing the things you’re hoping to see as he adjusts to a new role off the bench. He’s commanding more of the offense as the lead guard off the bench and being much more aggressive offensively. It has also allowed him to play during crunch time on most nights, allowing him to play alongside starters in high-pressure situations.
Hayes had several aggressive drives to the basket and finished with 10 points, all in the fourth quarter, on 5-of-7 shooting and eight assists off the bench.