Detroit Pistons: Knicks rematch final observations

Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Sekou Doumbouya (45) gets the loose ball against New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Sekou Doumbouya (45) gets the loose ball against New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons looked much better in their second game with the New York Knicks, led by Sekou Doumbouya. After thinking about it overnight, here are some final observations on the game.

A win is a win. After falling to the New York Knicks in its first exhibition game, the Detroit Pistons came back on Sunday night to notch a 99-91 victory in the rematch at Little Caesars Arena.

Here is the Excellent, the Good, the Not so good and the Really not so good takes on the game:


Sekou Doumbouya – This was an easy selection. Whether it was a breakout game is to be determined, but the 19-year-old Frenchman was the star. He poured in 23 points in 17 1/2 minutes and scored in a multitude of ways: hitting ‘3s’, cutting to the basket and posting up. He also had two blocks and five rebounds, so a great all-around game.

We will have to see if this performance was an outlier or he has really raised his game. Last season, as a rookie, he also showed flashes. In his second NBA season, the 6-foot-9 forward must show consistency.

Detroit Pistons: Sekou Doumbouya’s Destined Deliverance. light. Related Story

Pistons 2-3 zone: Coach Dwane Casey decided to throw a 2-3 zone at the Knicks to start the game. Detroit held a 31-18 lead late in the first period as the zone seemed to throw New York off its rhythm.


Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin: Hey, did you know these guys are pretty good players? You can talk about ‘Youth Movement’ all you want, as long as Rose and Griffin are on the team, they are what makes this team go. They were the only players to score in double digits, outside of Doumbouya.

Neither Rose or Griffin did anything spectacular. But, they looked healthy and engaged, which is all you are asking of them in a preseason game.

Killian Hayes: After turning the ball over seven times in his debut, the No. 7 overall pick had just one turnover this time, against the same opponent. He had a 4-1 assist to turnover ratio, which is very good. His shooting was not so hot, 2-for-11 and a hideous 1-for-6 from three-point land.

But Hayes was a +7 on the court, the best among the starters. All you want him at this point is yo learn from his mistakes. Apparently he has.

Josh Jackson: The 6-foot-8 Detroit native had nine points in 18 minutes. All of his points came on three-pointers, which is good since the Pistons are low on outside shooters with this roster. He also had three assists and two steals, so a nice all-around game.

His +11 was only topped by Doumbouya. This game is certainly something Jackson can build on.

Jahlil Okafor: For a guy who is projected to be the third or even fourth-string center, he has stood out in both games against the Knicks. The ironic part is, at the 2016 draft, Knicks fans booed when the 76ers took Okafor with the No. 3 pick and they had to ‘settle’ for Kristaps Porzingis, as they had hoped Okafor would fall to them.

Okafor had six points and six rebounds and showed he is tough when he gets the ball in the low post. It has been defense and rebounding that caused him problems in the past. A player to definitely keep an eye on.

Saben Lee: This guy is fast: Playing the point guard position down the stretch, with the Knicks having most of their starters in, Lee was great at handling the press. He was a scorer in college but we have not seen that part of his game yet. In two games, he is 3-for-8 on foul shots.

Not so good

Jerami Grant: He made 2 of his 3 three-point shots, but was 0-for-5 on two-pointers. He also had a team-high five turnovers. Better than in the first game, but still has not shown why Detroit gave him $60 million.

Wayne Ellington: Had a pass go through his fingers and got beaten bad one time on a defensive assignment. Had a team low -5. He was not bad, but he certainly did not look like the player who helped the Pistons make the playoffs two years ago.

Pistons rebounding: Detroit did not get crushed on the boards like the last game. Still, when you start a frontline with no one under 6-9, and two 6-5 guards, you should be the team dominating the boards. The Knicks outrebounded them by a 48-42 margin this time, and 13-7 on the offensive boards. Rebounding should be a strength for this team.

Really not so good

LiAngelo Ball: Once again did not play. Reportedly, he along with Louis King and Anthony Lamb have been waived. King and Lamb at least got to play a few minutes on Sunday. Could have given the guy a chance.

Saddiq Bey: After having such a spectacular debut on Friday, scoring 14 points and looking good in all facets of the game, Bey played like a rookie this time. He only had two points, two rebounds and two turnovers. It would be hard to expect him to look as good as he did in the opener, and he didn’t.

Svi Mykhailiuk: The thing that makes longball threats like Kyle Korver and Davis Bertans so dangerous is consistency. You know that, every game, they will kill you from the outside if left open.

After doing so well in the first game against the Knicks, Mykhailiuk fell back to Earth in the rematch. He went 1-for-5 in just seven minutes of action. You have to give him credit for still shooting, even if they were not going in. However, to get solid minutes, he has to show coach Dwane Casey he is reliable.

Final observations

Even Casey afterward wondered why the Knicks had most of their starters in at the end of the game. If they were trying to win, it did not work. After Detroit built a 13-point lead in the first quarter, the Knicks had come back to take the lead in the third period. It was nice to see the Pistons fight back and regain control.

Next. Rapid reaction: Detroit Pistons 99-91 win over the New York Knicks. dark

The Pistons next play on Thursday, the first of two games at the Washington Wizards. Seeing Killian Hayes having to deal with Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal should be interesting.