Detroit Pistons: The Day After Wizards observations

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MARCH 02: Josh Jackson #20 of the Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MARCH 02: Josh Jackson #20 of the Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons looked good in a 97-86 victory at the Washington Wizards. After thinking about it overnight, here are some observations on the game.

It has been a while since the Detroit Pistons simply blew out a team right from the beginning, particularly on the road. Yes, it was a preseason game, and the Washington Wizards were missing three starters (Russell Westbrook, Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura). But, they did have Bradley Beal and the rest of their core lineup.

This game was over by halftime, with the Pistons ahead, 58-35. Here are the Excellent, the Good, the Not So Good and the Really Not So Good observations on the game.


Delon Wright: The 6-foot-5 veteran guard had been handed a starting spot in the lineup by coach Dwane Casey. But he had been slapping that hand away in the first two preseason games, averaging 3.0 points. That slump was over fast on Thursday night. Wright knocked down two first period three-pointers and had 10 points by halftime. He also played well on the defensive end. He finished with 13 points and was 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.

Related Story. Detroit Pistons: Delon Wright unknown but important. light

Josh Jackson: He was taken right after Jayson Tatum in the 2017 draft, and he shot just like Tatum in the game. Jackson had a team-high 17 points and also went 3 of 4 on three-point attempts. Jackson also played well on the defensive end, where his athleticism makes it tough for opponents to get around him. Welcome home.

Sekou Doumbouya: After three good performances, should we be asking the question: Is Doumbouya playing well or he is simply now a good player, and this is his new norm? He came in mid-way through the first period and the Wizards had no answer to stopping the 6-9 forward. Had 10 points in 17 minutes, and he always play well on the defensive end.

Pistons 2-3 zone: Coach Casey unleashed the 2-3 zone near the end of the first quarter, and, just like in the Knicks game, it befuddled the opponent. The Wizards finished with only 35 points in the first half. With their size and length, the simple zone might be Detroit’s best defense to play.

The Good

Blake Griffin: The guy who averaged 25 points a game two years ago did not take a shot in the first half, but he still played a major role in the team doing well. He passed crisply to get the offense going, played tough defense (a little too tough as far as Wizards center Thomas Bryant was concerned) and swept the boards. It is the mark of a true star when you can greatly influence the game, without having to score a lot.

Jerami Grant: He looked like a guy making $60 million last night. He knocked down three three-pointers and finished with 15 points. His defense is always solid and helped handle No.9 overall pick Deni Avdija, who was coming off a big game. He did commit a team-high four turnovers, as creating off the dribble is still a work in progress.

Mason Plumlee: Another well-paid Ex-Nugget who looked worth the money in this game. He contributed in all facets, including great passing, solid defense and hitting the boards. Not usually much of a scorer, he had eight points in 20 minutes.

The Not so Good

Killian Hayes: He shot well, finally making the step-back jumper he had been trying and missing in the first two games. But, he only had one assist and committed three turnovers. This was while going against Raul Neto as the Wizards starting point guard. Neto was a third-stringer for the 76ers last year. On Saturday, Russell Westbrook will be facing Hayes. That will be a good measuring stick.

Saddiq Bey: The good news was that Bey got some run with the starters and looked like he fit in. The bad news was he missed all three of his shots and did not score a point in 12 minutes. Had 14 points in his first game but has not been that kind of offensive force since.

Pistons rebounding: They finished in a 42-42 tie with the Wizards in rebounding. It is the first time Detroit did not lose the rebounding battle. However, with Washington missing two of its best rebounders in Hachimura and Westbrook, and with their size, the Pistons could have done better.

The Really Not so Good

Dzanan Musa: After not playing in the first two games, the 6-9 guard who was involved in the Bruce Brown trade finally got a run. He played a whole quarter, missed the only shot he took, and had one rebound and assist. It was not exactly a performance that will force coach Casey to give him more playing time.

Both teams ballhandling: Yes, it is early and I realize they have not practiced much, but Yikes! For each team to still commit 24 turnovers (most of the ugly variety) is something I am sure each coach is not happy about.

Next. Rapid reaction: Detroit Pistons 97-86 win over the Washington Wizards. dark

Final observation

There really was not much to criticize. The Pistons played well. Even the players who we listed as not so good, did not play that badly. The team looked cohesive on offense and did very well on defense. It will be interesting when the Wizards and Pistons play each other again on Saturday. One would assume Washington will be more at full-strength for that one.