The Detroit Pistons led the Los Angeles Clippers from the 8:58 mark in the first quarter all the way until the 9:12 mark in the fourth. But the Clips kept fighting and the Pistons kept declining to take advantage of opportunities and making the kinds of mistakes typical of a bad basketball team.
In the end, it was the three former Pistons — Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris and Luke Kennard — who hit all the big shots in the second half and delivered the comeback 106-102 victory for LA.
Marcus Morris led all scorers with 31 points while Luke Kennard had 16, including 11 in the decisive fourth quarter, and Reggie Jackson added 15 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Cade Cunningham led the Pistons with 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. It was the sixth consecutive game of 20 or more points for the rookie and 19th overall. Both those marks lead the rookie class.
Only nine rookies since 2000 have scored 20 or more in seven straight games, and only Kelly Tripucka has hit the mark in Pistons history.
Several Detroit players played decently, but nobody escaped this game without poor execution or decision-making on their game film. The Pistons were short handed and there were times when the team just short-circuited as they couldn’t figure out who was going to be able to execute out on the floor and it led to several pedestrian possessions.
Jerami Grant had 21 points but settled for too many mid-rangers when there were passing windows open. Saddiq Bey had 13, 8 and 8, but he shot just 3-of-11 and 2-of-7 from 3, and the lack of efficiency is becoming concerning. Marvin Bagley had 15 points and eight rebounds filling in for Isaiah Stewart but made several defensive miscues that gave the Clippers easy buckets. Cory Joseph was perhaps more frustated than he’s ever been in a Pistons uniform. He struggled with foul trouble, he struggled with times when he felt he was getting contact and not getting the call, and he was the only starter with a negative in the plus/minus.
One player I can’t complain too much about is Isaiah Livers who played 26 really solid minutes including being on the floor during crunch time. He played quality defense, was always in the right spot and was 3-of-4 from distance.
It’s getting to the point where I’m wondering just how high up in the rotation he is going to be once everyone is healthy this season and next. You can see him quickly becoming a Dwane Casey favorite.
The loss is Detroit’s third in a row and they have a tough three-game road trip coming up. They begin with a contest against the Miami Heat, then jet over to Orlando for a crucial(?) tank battle with the Orlando Magic before heading to Cleveland to face Evan Mobley and the Cavaliers one final time.