Can you call it a revenge game if both sides part amicably? I’m asking for old friend Jerami Grant, who faced the Detroit Pistons for the first time since being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in the offseason.
Grant got his “revenge,” whatever revenge means in this context, against the Pistons to the tune of 36 points and knocking down five three-pointers in Portland’s 135-106 win over his former team.
Not that the Pistons made him work very hard for his points. Detroit lost Marvin Bagley early in the first half, and after already being down Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes and Isaiah Livers, the cracks in the integrity of the lineup started to show pretty immediately.
Jaden Ivey continues to fill in for the suspended Killian Hayes, who was already filling in for the injured Cade Cunningham, and it’s more clear than ever he is not an NBA point guard. Maybe someday he will be, but that’s not showing up in his rookie season. Ivey showcased some explosive scoring, but he still struggles to move the ball, and he had a pair of back-to-back head-scratching turnovers in the third quarter when the Blazers really blew the doors off the game.
Also clear is that despite Detroit rolling out a two-big lineup to some positive effects, the Pistons remain an undersized team. The wing depth, especially defensively, is atrocious, and those defensively deficient players don’t make up for it with dynamic offense save for Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogie led the Pistons with 21 points.
With Bagley sidelined with a hand injury, the Pistons trotted out some extremely tiny lineups. At one point, 6-foot-6 Alec Burks was the second tallest player on the floor alongside Isaiah Stewart, Hamidou Diallo, Cory Joseph and Rodney McGruder. I regret to inform you, dear reader, that the Pistons did not win those minutes.
You can’t really call anything in such a lopsided loss a bright spot, but the closest Detroit can point to is a trio of good and/or heartening performances. That includes the continued strong rebounding an interior presence coming from rookie Jalen Duren, some more solid bench minutes amid the chaos for Diallo, and Burks continues to be a bucket off the bench.
Things were much brighter for the Blazers. Not only did they get 36 points from Grant, but they also had 30 from Anfernee Simons and seven points in Gary Payton II’s first game of the season.
By the time the starters left the floor and garbage time began, the Blazers were shooting 57% from the floor and 48% from three.
The Pistons will look to rebound from this loss Wednesday when they visit the Golden State Warriors.