It looked like Cade Cunningham was going to pick up where he left off after scoring 34 points against the Nets on Tuesday. He scored the Pistons first 4 points on back-to-back possessions. However, the Pistons as a team cooled off quite a bit after that and both teams played an ugly 1st quarter.
The Pistons only had 6 points through the first 5 minutes as they missed a lot of shot and had some bad turnovers. Despite all of that, they were able to keep it close, as they only trailed 25-20 after the 1st quarter. Cade led the Pistons with 8 points.
The 2nd quarter was much better basketball as both teams were making their shots. Kelly Olynyk had a strong start to the quarter with 8 points and zero missed field goals. Killian Hayes also picked up where he left off with a couple of very good drives en route to 6 points in the quarter. He was aggressive attacking the basket and looks like a completely different player the last few weeks.
Cade Cunningham came back in and just continued to do whatever he wanted. He got hot attacking the basket and was able to get up to 14 points. He could have had more, but he picked up his 3rd foul with 2:30 left in the quarter.
Fouls were a huge issue for the Pistons in this game, which makes sense when you are facing Joel Embiid and James Harden. The 76ers shot 20 free throws in the 1st half, while the Pistons only shot 4. The fact that they only trailed 54-50 at halftime is impressive.
The 3rd quarter was still the Cade show. If he wasn’t scoring, he was making a good defensive play or making a good pass. His ability to put his stamp all over the game no matter who the Pistons are playing is why he was the number 1 pick and why he is the guy to build around. It didn’t matter who the Sixers threw at him, he was finding ways to impact the game.
The Pistons were able to take on every 76ers punch and hang around in this game during the early parts of the 3rd. The 76ers are a legitimate Championship contender, and the Pistons looked like they belonged on the court with them.
There were a a couple times towards the end of the quarter where it looked like the 76ers were starting to pull away, but the Pistons had a response to all of them. It also helps that the whistle evened out a bit. The 76ers only shot 5 free throws in the quarter while the Pistons shot 7.
The Pistons would trail 79-73 heading into the 4th as Cade just kept scoring his way up to 24 points. The biggest key is that he only got one more foul in the quarter which would allow him to be a bit more aggressive in the 4th and not have to sit out as long.
The bench would keep things close to start the 4th as they played solid defense just like they did in the 2nd quarter. Killian Hayes and Kelly Olynyk led the scoring attack while Braxton Key and Isaiah Livers each hit a 3-pointer. It was an 85-84 76ers lead through 5 minutes, so Dwane Casey was able to ride the bench a bit longer. He did put Cade back into the game to bring the necessary scoring punch the unit needed.
The Pistons would take their first lead of the game on the first offensive possession after Cade re-entered the game and they didn’t look back. Their stifling defense combined with some absolutely flawless offense down the stretch locked up a huge win over one of the best teams in the league.
It doesn’t help for tanking purposes, but it is always great to get a dominant win over a good team. Cade Cunningham finished with 27 points and 6 assists, but his impact was way beyond than the box score shows. Saddiq Bey had 20 points and Killian Hayes and Kelly Olynyk had 12 points and 10 points off the bench respectively.
The Pistons will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow night in a key game for tanking purposes.