The Detroit Pistons welcome Bojan Bogdanovic back to the lineup, and he greeted his teammates with a 22-point performance, including three three-pointers. Alas, it wasn’t enough to end the Pistons’ franchise-record losing streak, as they fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-101.
While Bojan delivered exactly as expected, the Pistons still have glaring deficiencies. They couldn’t generate any offense off the bench aside from Bogdanovic, and the Cavs were able to go on extended runs if both Bogdanovic and Cade Cunningham were taking a breather.
While you have to be careful with plus-minus, I’d say that Marcus Sasser (16 minutes off the bench) and Isaiah Livers (14 minutes off the bench) being -21 and -22 were a perfect encapsulation of what went wrong for the Pistons tonight.
Of course, the Pistons also turned the ball over too often (16 times), struggled from the free-throw line (eight misses in 23 attempts), and the team was just 8-of-29 from deep with players not named Cunningham or Bogdanovic combining to shoot 2-of-14.
The Pistons were led by Cunningham with 23 points, while Bogdanovic delivered 22. Jalen Duren had 17 points on 8-of-8 shooting, but he was only 1-of-6 from the foul line.
Killian Hayes played extremely well in his second game back in the starting lineup, and with seemingly a bigger responsibility to command the offense to let Cunningham play off the ball. Hayes had 13 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and he played terrific defense throughout the night.
Jaden Ivey started in Bogdanovic’s place, and he is still largely an afterthought in the offense. He took just seven shots and scored seven points. Assuming the Pistons will quickly reinsert Bogdanovic back into the starting lineup, I’d like to see Jaden Ivey play heavy minutes in bench lineups with the offense running through him.
Marcus Sasser can get hot offensively, but he can’t really run the offense, and his decision-making was poor all night. Alec Burks has fallen out of the rotation, at least for now, and that means your bench unit is going to have very little offensive punch outside of Ivey. It’s time to put the ball in his hands and see what he can do.