A performance worthy of the original Bad Boys this was not. The Detroit Pistons, donning their Bad Boys alternate uniforms and court for the first time were easily dispatched at home by an undermanned Phoenix Suns team 120-106.
The Suns were without Bradley Beal and Devin Booker, but that doesn’t matter when you have Kevin Durant to give you 41 points and can seemingly score in the paint at will no matter who is driving the lane.
Detroit gave up 30 paint points in the first 16 minutes of the game and surrendered 64 overall to go with losing the free-throw (-14) and rebounding (-10) battles.
It was a particularly rough game for Detroit’s big men. Isaiah Stewart was trying to make Kevin Durant work as hard as possible for his points, but the smooth Suns star couldn’t be contained.
Duren was even worse, much worse, actually, as he shied away from physical play, failed to rotate on a number of occasions, provided little resistance as Suns players drove to the basket, was a key component in the Suns grabbing 14 offensive rebounds, and added five turnovers for good measure.
The Pistons are still turning it over too much, rebounding too little, and having critical spacing issues.
None of those issues is helped by the fact that so many of Detroit’s potential key rotation pieces are missing. Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris, Isaiah Livers and Alec Burks remain out, and Jaden Ivey missed the game with an illness. That is two potential veteran players and three (or four) critical bench pieces missing time.
There are pieces in place in Detroit that seemingly fit well and make sense once you add all of Detroit’s missing ingredients. Cade Cunningham is scoring points, he had 6 points tonight, but he added another six turnovers. He’d be greatly helped by the improved spacing and ball handling that Bogdanovic and Morris would provide.
Ausar Thompson seems like he can do everything to help a winning basketball team other than shoot, but the Pistons are missing so many shooters that his lack of a jump shot stands out. Thompson had 14 points, nine rebounds, four assists, four steals, and four blocks. A 5x5 game seems inevitable.
When the starters sit, the already stressed offense completely short circuits, and the fact that the entire bench offense currently rests on the shoulders of rookie Marcus Sasser is not where you want to be. Sasser, it should be noted, played another strong game. He was 9-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from three.
As he continues to excel off the bench, the questions about him potentially starting will get louder. The Pistons need to do something to juice this lineup. Unfortunately, it feels like the team will just tread water and bide its time for two to three more weeks while it waits for reinforcements to arrive.
In the meantime the losses are likely to pile up, but then maybe we will see if this team has to work with.