When a guy named Matt Ryan, not to be confused with the retired football player, scored 11 points in the first quarter on Thursday night, you kinda knew it was going to be a rocky evening for the Detroit Pistons.
And, boy was it.
All those good things from Games 1, 2 and 3 were mostly gone, gone and gone. Detroit followed up a bad loss to the Portland Trailblazers with another one in New Orleans against the Pelicans who, on the surface, are not a crazy team to lose to.
However, when they’re without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, that changes things.
The Pistons, on the road for their third game in four nights and second game of a back to back — the dreaded SEGABABA — looked tired, listless and uninterested. The result was a third-straight loss, 125-116, to the Pelicans.
Where to begin?
Detroit dug itself an early hole, trailing by 23 at half as their offensive struggles were exacerbated by their lack of defense. The Pelicans had 18 assists on 24 makes in the first half as CJ McCollum scored 25 of his 33 points in the opening stanza.
New Orleans didn’t miss a beat without their stars. Ryan, the undrafted shooter, embodied that as he put the Pistons in that early hole and ended up hitting six threes en route to 20 points.
Just go down the Pelicans box score and seemingly every dude had a great night.
Cade Cunningham was the top dog for Detroit, scoring 22 to go with 11 assists, but turnovers (5) were once again an issue and he tired late as the Pistons attempted to rally. Killian Hayes had a muuuuuuuch-needed good game with 10 points and 9 assists.
His defense on McCollum was noticeable in the second half, too.
Ausar Thompson battled fouls and air balls, but still put together a good statistical night with 16 points 7 rebounds and 5 assists. He did not play in the fourth and was not as good as those numbers suggest.
Jaden Ivey, who hasn’t shown a ton of improvement early this season, made a flurry of plays on both ends of the floor at the end of the third quarter to help the Pistons battle back in a game they weren’t particularly competitive in for the better part of two quarters.
Monty Williams rewarded him with three minutes in the fourth quarter as the Pistons rode with Marcus Sasser (19 points, 3 assists) and Joe Harris (8 points, 2 of 6 from 3) down the stretch. Sasser played a terrible first half, but really stepped up in the second.
And Harris... I dunno. He’s a threat, so he adds some value, but when he isn’t making shots what does he really give you? I just don’t think a flawed team like this one can mine any value out of a one-way shooter like Harris.
All in all, it was just a frustrating game to watch. The Pistons were so listless early that the second half comeback never felt real. You knew they were running on fumes (so were the Pelicans, who also played last night) but the Pistons weren’t able to get it within one score.
When Detroit had the lead down to 9 with momentum in the final minutes, Dyson Daniels put an end to it with a miracle three at the shot clock buzzer.
The Pistons drop to 2-4 with a home game against the Phoenix Suns on tap Sunday. Let us know what you thought about tonight’s game in the comments!