The Detroit Pistons scored a season-high 138 points, but it still wasn’t enough to overcome the Utah Jazz, as the Pistons fell 154-148 in overtime. It was a night when everything was working offensively for Detroit, and nearly everyone was playing the role they were brought in to Detroit to play.
Cade Cunningham scored 31 with 12 assists. Bojan Bogdanovic scored a season-high 36 and hit eight threes in his return to Utah, and Alec Burks, also a former Jazz, scored 27, including a 3-pointer to force OT. Jalen Duren notched his eighth straight double-double with a 17-and-10 night. None of it was enough.
You can’t win a game when you surrender 25 second-chance points, 68 points in the paint, and allow your opponent to shoot 35 times from the charity stripe.
The Pistons were able to force overtime in a truly insane series of events. The Pistons were up four with 3:06 to play, but then their vets Burks and Bogey missed three consecutive makeable shots. Then with 1:15 to play the refs, who did not have a good showing tonight at all, missed an egregious shove in the back of Bogdanovic that opened up Walker Kessler for an easy dunk that tied the game at 1:32.
Bodanovic missed another shot, this time a floater near the rim and on the ensuing possession Jordan Clarkson nailed a 3-pointer to put the Jazz up three with 32 seconds remaining.
Bogdanovic then hit a three to tie the game again at 135 with just 15 seconds remaining. Then the Pistons D did their thing, aka didn’t show up, and the Jazz were able to easily set up a switch that got Lauri Markkanen a clean look to put the Jazz up 138-135 with five seconds remaining.
The Pistons subbed out Cade Cunningham before the Jazz possession and put in Killian Hayes because Cade had five fouls. Detroit also didn’t have any timeouts, and that meant that Cade couldn’t even be on the floor for the game’s most important possession.
Luckily, Alec Burks was in his unconscious sniper mode. Burks then ran down the floor and heaved a prayer from about 30 feet, and it splashed down. Overtime.
Unfortunately, that is when the game stopped being fun for Detroit Pistons fans.
The overtime period was perfectly emblematic of the Pistons performance against the Jazz. They got one stop in Utah’s first six possessions of OT, allowing the Jazz to score 11 points in three minutes. The points came in the paint, the free-throw line, and the 3-point line. The Pistons simply had zero answers.
By the time a late defensive rotation from Cunningham surrendered 10 feet of space for a wide-open Jordan Clarkson three, the game was effectively over. Despite all of Detroit’s veterans shooting lights out, they still couldn’t come away with the victory.
The Pistons decided to make it interesting. Some easy Detroit points plus a four-point trip after a free-throw missed turned into an offensive rebound and then a Cade 3-pointer made it a one-possession game, 148-151 with eight seconds remaining.
This being the Pistons, though, they felt obliged to embarrass themselves with poor, unacceptable execution. Killian Hayes subbed in for defensive purposes and promptly fouled Collin Sexton before the ball was in-bounded. Utah got a free free-throw to make it a two-possession game and any hope for Detroit vanished.
You can say it was an exciting game, but it certainly wasn’t a well-executed one. The two teams combined for 29 turnovers and each allowed the other to hit better than 50% from both inside and outside the arc.
Getting a combined 63 points from your two veteran offensive players in Bogdanovic and Burks certainly stings. But it shouldn’t be unexpected. The team has nobody with any size it can rely on as a defensive presence. Not Duren, not James Wiseman, not Isaiah Livers, who started for the second consecutive game, or Kevin Knox. It was great to see Bogey and Burks cook offensively, but they give a ton of it back on the defensive end of the floor.
The only healthy defenders the Pistons have are Ausar Thompson, who has been struggling with fouls and has been limited as Detroit looks to create a cohesive offense, and Killian Hayes who has been similarly marginalized and can’t seem to get untracked in a more limited role off the bench.
This team needs some change, and the sooner it comes the better.