Top 10 moments of the 2020-21 Detroit Pistons season

Saben Lee #38 of the Detroit Pistons Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE.
Saben Lee #38 of the Detroit Pistons Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE. /
2 of 3
Blake Griffin Derrick Rose
Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) is looks to pass around Minnesota guard Derrick Rose (25). Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

Moments 7 thru 4 in the Detroit Pistons season

7. Jerami Grant’s coming out party as Pistons block the Suns (January 8, 2021)

The Detroit Pistons did not get off to a good start, losing seven of its first eight games. It looked like it would be eight out of nine, as the Phoenix Suns held a 54-31 lead over Detroit with six minutes left in the second quarter.

The Suns had everyone, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and would go on to finish with the second best record in the Western Conference. On the face of it, the Pistons rallying for a win seemed remote.

But one trait of Detroit this past season is, they never gave up.

By the three-minute mark of the third quarter, the score was tied, as the Pistons had gone on a 39-16 run.

The game went to overtime. Jerami Grant, a defensive-specialist with Denver the year before, scored eight points in overtime to lead Detroit to a 110-105 victory.

Grant finished with 31 points. He would go on to average 22.3 points a game and finish second in voting for NBA Most Improved Player.

6. Derrick Rose departs (February 8, 2021)

Since arriving in Detroit two years before, Derrick Rose had been nothing but a positive for the Pistons. Detroit also helped him as, after a long string of injuries, Rose was able to show he still could play.

Related Story. Detroit Pistons: Will the Knicks regret the Derrick Rose trade?. light

Besides being a fine player, Rose embraced his role as a mentor to the younger guards. He helped rookie Killian Hayes this season adjust from playing in France to the much-different NBA.

However, as the Pistons sank to the bottom of the standings, and with his contract expiring at the end of the season, it was time for Rose to go somewhere his skills could be used in the playoffs.

On February 8, Rose was sent to the New York Knicks for Dennis Smith Jr. and a 2021 second-round draft pick. The Knicks are coached by Tom Thibideaux, Rose’s coach in Chicago and Minnesota.

He certainly has helped the Knicks. In his first three playoff games, Rose averaged 24.3 points.

Detroit fans were sad to see Rose go, he had always been a class act, but they also knew it was time, as he was not going to be part of their future.

5. The Philly Special (beatdown by Detroit edition) January 25, 2021

The Philadelphia 76ers were headed to be the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Detroit Pistons were on a path for worst record in the conference, when the teams met for 2 games at Little Caesars Arena in late January.

The first game was a battle that went down to the wire. Sixers center Joel Embiid had to score 33 points (and ex-Piston Tobias Harris chipped in with 17) to pull out a 114-110 win.

Two days later, the Sixers did not have Embiid for the rematch. Harris scored 25 points but the rest of the 76ers basically did not show up.

The Pistons, then holding a record of 3-13, jumped on the Sixers from the start, taking a 24-10 lead. Detroit ended up winning 119-104 with Delon Wright leading the way with 28 points.

Related Story. Detroit Pistons-76ers: The Good, Bad and Ugly. light

Obviously, the big win did not turn around the Pistons fortunes (nor did they really want it to). The 76ers recovered and are contenders to make the NBA finals.

But, on that night, the Detroit Pistons were the better team.

4. Bey’s coming out party as Detroit Pistons cut down the Nets (February 9, 2021)

The day after Derrick Rose was traded, the Detroit Pistons had to face the Brooklyn Nets, a team just about everyone expects to make a serious run at the NBA title.

Brooklyn had three future Hall of Famers in Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, although they rarely all played together during the regular season.

For this game, Harden and Irving were available for the Nets. They did their part, with Irving scoring 27 points and Harden adding 24 points, 12 assists and five blocks.

However, just like against the 76ers, the Pistons jumped on them from the start, bolting out to a 38-24 lead. The Nets would cut the margin to four points in the third period, but then Jerami Grant took over.

Grant hit some big baskets to regain the momentum for Detroit, including a big three-pointer. The Pistons would win, 122-111, with Grant scoring 32 points.

Saddiq Bey had been a rookie who had his ups and downs to that point. But he was literally perfect against Brooklyn, making all six of his shots and going 3 for 3 on three-pointers.

Bey finished with 15 points in 21 minutes and the NBA noticed the performance of the Villanova product.

As an FYI, Blake Griffin, playing for Detroit, had nine points and five rebounds.