With no Mason Plumlee, and Jerami Grant not showing up in the scoring column, the Detroit Pistons could not keep up with the visiting Indiana Pacers (13-13) and fell, 111-95.
There were some changes from the regular lineup on Thursday night for Detroit (6-19). With Plumlee out (bursitis in elbow), rookie Isaiah Stewart received his first start.
The game also marked the debut of Dennis Smith Jr. (who had four points and team-high +3 in 16 minutes), who came as part of the Derrick Rose trade.
Lots to go over, as we look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Detroit Pistons: The Good
Josh Jackson: When no one was doing much of anything on the offensive end, Josh Jackson was not afraid to step up. The Pacers had Myles Turner in the middle, who leads the NBA in blocked shots, but Jackson challenged him successfully, driving right to the hoop multiple times.
He finished with a team-high 18 points to go along with eight rebounds.
Isaiah Stewart: Indiana is a tough team for an opposing center to start against, as the Pacers basically start two big guys in Turner and Domantas Sabonis.
‘Beef Stew’ was more than respectable, finishing with a career-high 17 points and seven rebounds. It is unclear how long Plumlee will be out, but some valuable experience for Stewart in the interim.
Blake Griffin: We knock him when he plays poorly, but then must praise him when he does well. Griffin certainly helped the team on Thursday.
He got off to a good start, netting seven points, three rebounds, three assists that kept Detroit competitive. With Plumlee out, Griffin’s passing ability was needed.
Griffin finished with 16 points and six assists. He seemed more willing to post up when he had a mismatch, although he still took six three-pointers (making just one)
Detroit Pistons: The Bad
Jerami Grant: He has been playing at an All-Star level, but this was not his best moment. For the first time since the season opener, Grant did not score double digits. He made just four of 17 shots for nine points.
The Pacers are a good defensive team but Grant has torched even better defensive teams like the Lakers for over 30 points. Indiana plays two bigs most of the time, which clogged the lane enough to make Grant hesitate on drives.
Who knows? Sometimes, players just have a bad game.
Detroit Pistons: The Ugly
Pistons three-point shooting: Construction must have been occurring at Little Caesars Arena, because there were a lot of bricks being thrown by the Pistons.
How bad? The Pistons would have been better off bringing back Andre Drummond , and let him take all the three-pointers. He could not have done worse.
Detroit missed all seven three-point shots in the first quarter and were not much better the rest of the game. They finished making 5-of-28 for a pathetic 17.9%.
Who was bad? Everyone not named Saddiq Bey. Take away his going 2-for-5 and the rest of the team was 3-for-23 for 13% (Drummond is 13.5% in his career).
If this was 1987, the Pistons could have hung in there. But, in the modern NBA game, you can not keep clanking 3s and expect to be competitive.
This was not a good game to have just one center available (Jahlil Okafor is out for 6-8 weeks with knee problems) as the Pacers are bigger than most teams even though Stewart did well.
Next up for the Pistons is another tough task (Seriously, why do they never play a bad team?) as they fly to Boston for the second half of a back-to-back on Saturday against the Celtics.