Cade Cunningham was sitting in street clothes unable to play in his hometown against the Dallas Mavericks. While he was unable to play, I hope he at least had a notebook with him so he could take some notes and get inspired by the brilliant display put on by Luka Doncic.
Sometimes the talent disparity really shows between the overmatched Detroit Pistons and their opponent, and that is especially true when a superstar player like Doncic has a superstar kind of night.
Doncic was brilliant with his shooting, playmaking and passing throughout Dallas’ 116-86 win over the Pistons. Doncic was sinking deep 3s, passing teammates open, and executing no-look halfcourt alley-oop passes. He was getting anything he wanted, and he was looking for ways to put on a show.
He finished the night with 33 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in 32 minutes of action. By the time Doncic checked out early in the fourth quarter, he had helped his Mavericks rack up 108 points and amass a 37-point lead.
Detroit was just overmatched from the very beginning. Dallas was +39 from 3-point range, and the Pistons shot just 37% from the floor, 16% from 3 and 68% from the free-throw line.
There wasn’t much for Detroit to hang their hat on during this thorough beating. Saddiq Bey was ice cold with 1-of-11 shooting, but at least continues to show glimpses of being able to be a secondary facilitator with six assists. Jerami Grant had 15 points but was just 5-of-16 because of some typical iso mid-range jumpers that didn’t go down. Kelly Olynyk once again looked a step slow and just not healthy. The worst performance, though, belonged to Killian Hayes.
Hayes had seen a slight boost to his play since moving to the bench, and that was especially true as a distributor. Tonight, he couldn’t seem to do anything right. He had eight turnovers on the night including poor passes, sloppy dribbles and just plain bad decisions.
The one player you couldn’t really take issue with was Isaiah Stewart. He finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds. The game was Stewart’s sixth consecutive double-digit rebound game after have just one such game in his previous 12 games since coming back from health and safety protocols.
With the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday, you have to wonder if any of these Pistons played their final game in a Detroit uniform. If so, it was definitely one they’ll want to forget.