The Detroit Pistons notched their first win of the preseason over the New York Knicks.
After falling to New York on Friday, the Detroit Pistons came out firing on all cylinders in tonight’s matchup. Despite blowing a 13 point lead and allowing a 20-7 run in the third quarter, they were able to pick up the pieces and come away with a strong victory.
Often times in the preseason you’ll hear people tell you that certain things don’t matter because it’s the preseason. For the most part, admittedly, that can be true.
However, one thing that certainly mattered tonight was the involvement that Sekou Doumbouya had in Detroit’s offense.
After playing a strong two week stretch last season in January, one that was capped off by a career high 24 point performance against the Boston Celtics, Sekou hit a wall.
There are various things that go into why exactly that happened, but it had some to do with ability and some to do with the way he was utilized.
Tonight however, he showed us that if he’s actually given the chance to pick his spots on offense, he can be effective. He led the team in points, plus/minus, blocks, free throw attempts and field goal percentage tonight.
His 23 points on 72.7 percent shooting tonight was without a doubt one of the strongest showings that we’ve seen from him thus far. He was incredibly active on both ends, and the physicality that he played with on defense was promising.
Additionally, he even got to share some court time with his best friend Killian Hayes.
Hayes struggled to shoot the ball just as he did in their first game. He scored just 6 points on 2 of 11 shooting. Most of his misses were off side-steps or step-backs, but they were all good looks. The efficiency will come with time.
What he did do incredibly well was facilitate. He ended the night with only 4 assists, but he had found the open man on several occasions before they eventually missed an open look. Hayes made several great decisions in the middle of the floor and continued to display his quickness with the ball.
Another plus was that he was in better control of the basketball. After committing 7 turnovers in the previous game, he cut it down to just 1 tonight.
There’s also an ever-growing chemistry building between he and Blake Griffin. It seems like whenever those two are on the court together, the energy is palpable. As soon as the ball crosses half court, the ball movement begins with one of them passing off to the other.
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Griffin has been vocal about his willingness to help Hayes acclimate himself to the league, so there’s no surprise there, but it is reassuring.
One of the general concerns that Pistons fans endured was a third quarter stretch where Jerami Grant missed shots on several consecutive possessions. A few of them felt completely forced for lack of a better word, selfish.
Grant ended the night with 8 points on 2 of 8 shooting.
He did start strong though, as he knocked down a pair of three-pointers. People should view this in the same way we should view Hayes: The efficiency will come over time.
Sure, Grant has played actual games more recently than most players on the roster, but this team is also three weeks old. The lack of chemistry and inability to effectively set each other up is still lacking, and it shows. He’ll come around.
The good news here is the same as it was in their previous game, his defensive showing was still very strong. That’s not a bad place to start on a Dwane Casey led team.