Detroit Pistons-Bulls: Good, Bad and Ugly

Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant ( Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant ( Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons looked great for a half, then less then great (actually awful) as they punted away a 25-point lead for a 105-102 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The Detroit Pistons were not suppose to play the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday (each had their scheduled opponent cancel), which might explain how they did not show up for the second half.

Scoring a pitiful 12 points in the third period, the Pistons let the Bulls right back in the game. Zach Lavine, after some jawing with Josh Jackson, poured in 15 points in the fourth period.

Detroit still had a chance to send the game into overtime, but a Delon Wright three-pointer hit the front of the rim, as time expired.

The loss stops the Pistons only winning streak of the season at two. It’s been a while since we have seen a Detroit second-half collapse, an oldie but not a goodie.

Here are the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Detroit Pistons-Chicago Bulls:

Detroit Pistons: The Good

Jerami Grant: He had not been shooting well of late, averaging just 13.5 points in his last four games, but Grant went off like a skyrocket on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward finished with a career-high 43 points, 19 of them in the fourth quarter. The Bulls had no answer for him.

Dennis Smith Jr. :  When looking at Dennis Smith Jr., keep in consideration, that not only was he rotting on the Knicks bench, but he had been in quarantine for eight days before the trade because he was going to the G-League.

He scored 10 points in 16 minutes and looked more comfortable running the show in his third game with Detroit. So far, so good, with the latest reclamation project.

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Pistons first 22 minutes: Detroit probably played its finest half of the season in the first half. Importantly, its defense completely shutdown the Bulls. With two minutes, 37 seconds left in the second quarter, detroit held a 59-34 lead.

What could go wrong?

Detroit Pistons: The Bad

Pistons three-point shooting: As the Bulls made their run (pun intended), a timely three from Detroit could have stemmed the momentum. Instead, Detroit (outside of Grant) were just chucking up bricks.

Not counting Grant, the rest of the team was a pathetic 4 for 19 (21%). Considering several of the players (Ellington, Mykhailiuk) are supposed to be three-point shooting specialists, that is real bad.

Josh Jackson: He has played really well as of late, but Josh Jackson just seemed a bit off in this game.

The Kansas product had a poor shooting night (eight points on 3-for-9 shooting), got into early foul trouble, let himself be distracted by getting involved in a hissing match with Zack Lavine, and was the main defender on Lavine in the fourth quarter, when he scored 15 points.

Let us chalk this up as a learning experience.

Detroit Pistons: The Ugly

Last 26 minutes for Pistons: A young team needs to learn that when you have your foot on the neck of an opponent, you need to push harder, not let them up.

Games are not won at halftime (ask every team that lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl).

The offense simply went Poof! in the second half. Detroit scored 12 points in the third quarter. Most NBA teams get that in the first three minutes.

If you take away Grant’s 25 second-half points, the rest of the team scored a total of 16 points (!).

It does not get any uglier than that.

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The difference was in the final minute, Coby White and Patrick Williams hit three-pointers to help Lavine, while Grant received help from no one.

Back to their normal tough schedule now, the Pistons, of course, do not play a team with a losing record. On Friday they are at Memphis (12-12).