Detroit Pistons: Day After Jazz game observations

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 10: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz drives the ball to the basket as Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons defends. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 10: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz drives the ball to the basket as Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons defends. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

It looked, for a time, like the Detroit Pistons were going to spring a second straight miracle comeback. However, the Utah Jazz were able to hold them off. After thinking about it, here are The Day After observations.

There are just so many times you can trail by 20 points or more against a team that is probably headed to the Western Conference playoffs, and rally to win. The Detroit Pistons were able to pull off a miracle win against Phoenix, but were not so lucky against the Utah Jazz, as they fell, 96-86.

Considering how poorly the Pistons shot (33.3% overall, 23.8% on 3s), how badly they were outrebounded (63-39!) and the fact they trailed, 32-12, to start the game, the fact the Jazz were clinging to a five-point lead , with one minute to go, is remarkable.

Detroit did play without Derrick Rose, who rested with left knee soreness. With Killian Hayes still out with a torn labrum, that left Delon Wright and two-way player Frank Jackson as the Pistons point guards.

Here are the Excellent, the Good, the Not So Good and the Really Not So Good observations from the game:

The Excellent

Jerami Grant: Utah has a strong defense, led by two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert (more on him later). Yet, Jerami Grant was still able to score 28 points on them. It was Grant’s eighth straight game where he has scored over 20 points.

While basically no one else on the Pistons was doing much of anything offensively, Grant did not just chuck up a bunch of shots. He was a very efficient 9-for-19 from the field.

With Utah able to concentrate on him, Grant still put up big numbers. All-Star conversation is going to have to start about the 6-9 forward.

Pistons fighting spirit: Statistically, there is no way this game should have been anything but a blow out. Detroit could not shoot, rebound or (in the first quarter) play defense.

Yet Mason Plumlee missed a shot with 1:13 remaining that would have cut Utah’s lead to just three points.

Detroit does not get blown out. They do not win, but all their losses have been pretty close. Except for the second Milwaukee game, they really have been in every game.

The Good

Saddiq Bey: On a day when no one ( not named Jerami Grant ) was doing anything on offense, Bey provided a little scoring punch. He scored 12 points, which was better than anyone else on the team, except Grant.

Bey was only 3-for-9 from the field, and his mysterious problem with making two-point shots (1 for 3) continued. If he can can get more comfortable shooting close to the basket, the 6-foot-8 wing could really put up some nice numbers.

Pistons passing: With Detroit not having their top two ballhandlers available, they could have turned into a turnover machine. It was quite the opposite, as the Pistons finished with only seven turnovers (to 13 for Utah) , and led in points scored after turnovers, 14-11.

While Wright and Frank Jackson at the point were a combined (oof) 3-for-14 shooting, they did take care of the basketball, with a total of just one turnover. It was a key reason Detroit was able to stay so close, despite the poor offensive showing.

The real reason Detroit Pistons offense is clunky. light. Related Story

The Not So Good

Pistons rebounding: Yeah, Utah has center Rudy Gobert, who gobbled up 19 boards, but Detroit started a frontline of 6-foot-10, 7-0 and 6-9, so they should not get crushed on the boards.

Maybe it was a result of missing so many shots, that gave Utah a lot of defensive rebounds (they led in that category (47-28), but the Pistons should not get outrebounded by 24.

Svi Mykhailiuk: Without its top creator on offense in Rose, Detroit desperately needed points from Svi Mykhailiuk. The pleas were not answered.

The 6-foot-7 Ukrainian shot a miserable 1-for-9 (1-for-8 on three pointers) for a total of three points. He is suppose to be an outside shooting specialist, but he is shooting under 30-percent from three on the season.

Mykhailiuk has had his moments, but they have only been for a game or two. Unless coach Dwane Casey can count on him, his playing time may decrease.

No one on the team outside of Grant shot well either, but this is his main job.

The Really Not So Good

Pistons starts: Detroit has recently had a disturbing trend of, well, getting their butts kicked the first half:

Utah: trailed 32-12

Phoenix: trailed 54-31

The MO for Detroit had been to start strong, build a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, and then suffer a total collapse. But,  in its last four games, the Pistons have gotten off to slow starts.

Maybe the absence of Killian Hayes has hurt the starting unit more than expected, because this trend began when he got hurt.

Coach Dwane Casey realizes the team does not have the offensive firepower to keep recovering from slow starts (the Phoenix game notwithstanding). After the Jazz game, he talked about how he might be looking into shaking up the starting lineup if this continues.

Rudy Gobert: I will probably get a lot of hate mail from the Salt Lake City area for this. But, I’m sorry, when you ink a $205 million, five-year contract, you need to do better than score four points.

Gobert was outscored by Mason Plumlee (6-4), who Detroit does not even look to for scoring.

Yes, I know Gobert’s bread and butter is defense. He did have 19 rebounds and made some nice plays on defense in the final minutes. But, when you are a Max contract player, you can not play well on only one side of the court.

I mean, Gobert was guarded by a career backup (Plumlee), a 6-9 rookie ( Isaiah Stewart) and a center not known for defense (Jahlil Okafor), and the best he could manage was making 1 of 6 shots?

I realize being a small market, free agents are not streaming to Utah (although I’ve visited there and found it a beautiful area) so you need to lock up your top players, but giving Gobert such a big deal could come back to haunt the Jazz.

dark. Next. Detroit Pistons should not trade Derrick Rose

Detroit is now 2-8 on the season. The Pistons get a bit of a rest now, as they do not play again until Wednesday, when they host the Milwaukee Bucks.