Detroit Pistons-Pelicans: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Detroit Pistons center Mason Plumlee (24) is defended by New Orleans Pelicans center Steven Adams (12) at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons center Mason Plumlee (24) is defended by New Orleans Pelicans center Steven Adams (12) at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Pistons never had a winning streak until Sunday, when a 123-112 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans gave them two wins in a row. Mason Plumlee led the way with a triple double (really).

A Stan Van Gundy-coached team left Little Caesars Arena with a loss. For once, it meant good news for the Detroit Pistons.

In his first appearance in Detroit since he was the Pistons coach, Van Gundy’s Pelicans team (11-15) was thoroughly outplayed by a Pistons squad that trailed by as many as 13 points.

The only remaining player from when Van Gundy was in charge, Blake Griffin, sat out due to load management.

Lots of good stuff, let’s get to the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the game:

Detroit Pistons: The Good

Mason Plumlee: The Plumdog was playing in his 557th career NBA game but this was his first triple-double (17 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists).

This did not appear to be the kind of game for Plumlee to go off on, as Pelicans center Steven Adams is known as a good defensive player.

Plumlee had missed Detroit’s last two games with bursitis in his elbow, having fallen on it against Phoenix. Obviously, the elbow is fine now, the way he was shooting and passing.

https://twitter.com/DetroitPistons/status/1361146465415012359

Detroit Pistons: Mason Plumlee could make USA Olympic team. light. Related Story

Josh Jackson: Except for a spell when he was coming off a bad ankle injury, Jackson has consistently been one of the Pistons better players for the past couple of months.

With Derrick Rose gone, Jackson is becoming the leader of the bench mob. Jackson contributed 21 points (on efficient 8-for-14 shooting) in just 23 minutes.

After Detroit got off to a rough start, trailing by 10 after the first period, Jackson brought some energy and sparked the team on both ends of the floor.

Coach Dwane Casey has said they signed Jackson mostly for his defense, but he is contributing a lot in the scoring column.

Svi Mykhailiuk: The three-point shooting specialist scored in a variety of ways, netting 18 points in 25 minutes. Yes, he knocked down 4 threes, but he was also 3-for-3 on two-point shots.

Mykhailiuk has shown a deft passing touch this season, and he had three assists. Most importantly, he was a team-best +18.

Saddiq Bey: On January 28, Saddiq Bey did not even get into the game against the Lakers. That DNP will not happen again.

With Blake Griffin out, Jerami Grant moved to power forward and Bey got the start at small forward. Bey was not 7-for-7 on three pointers like the game before, against the Celtics, but he was pretty darn good.

Bey’s reputation as an all-around player was true on Sunday as he stuffed the stat sheet. The Villanova product had 16 points (4-for-8 on threes), six assists, four rebounds and three steals.

Detroit Pistons: The Bad

Wayne Ellington: I am sorry, the 33-year-old shooting guard has been a great story, but this month he simply has not been making buckets.

Since January 30 (he missed two games with an injury), Ellington has shot 5-for-30 on three-pointers for a miserable 20-percent shooting percentage. Before then, he had been knocking down 3s at over a 50% clip.

Pistons first-quarter defense: Yes, the Pelicans have some weapons in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, but to let a team shoot 79% (!) to start a game is pretty egregious defense.

New Orleans put a 40 spot on the scoreboard and held a 10-point lead after the first quarter. The Pelicans quickly cooled off, and shot just 44% for the game. Detroit did recover to win, but the Pistons habit of stumbling out of the starting gate needs to be corrected.

Detroit Pistons: The Ugly

Pelicans defense: The Pistons are not exactly an offensive juggernaut. Their offensive rating is 23rd out of 30 teams. However, they were making shots from everywhere against the Pelicans.

Detroit shot 53.6% from the field and went almost .500 on a high volume of three-pointers (17 of 35). The Pistons had seven players score nine points or more points, and this is without Blake Griffin.

National TV networks: (mini-rant) I’m sorry, were the Pelicans suppose to be good? Entertaining? I missed the memo. Aren’t good and exciting teams suppose to be the ones on national TV?

Only the Los Angeles Lakers (defending champs, LeBron, I get it), have more nationally televised appearances scheduled than the Pelicans for the first half half of the season. And it is only by a two game margin (16 to 14).

The NBA, in league with the TV networks, are trying to make a star out of Zion Williamson, so they are cramming Pelicans games down the basketball fans throats.

They are bad and boring. They were also bad and boring when Anthony Davis played there, and the few times a year they were on national TV a season, was fine.

Yes, Williamson is good and Ingram is much improved. That doesn’t mean I want to see their team play twice a week.

Next. How come the Detroit Pistons only beat good teams?. dark

Not much notice was made of Dennis Smith Jr.’s second game with Detroit, but he had nine points in 12 minutes. Coach Casey says he is still playing his way into shape.

After a one game break, the Pistons are back to playing very good teams again, as Tuesday they host the San Antonio Spurs, who are 16-11 overall and 7-3 in their last 10 games.