The Detroit Pistons dropped a one-point heartbreaker to the Miami Heat in a game that will likely be a microcosm of the early season.
There was plenty to like about Detroit’s performance, as they defended well for most of the night, especially in crunch time, got a star turn from Cade Cunningham and nearly stole one on the road after being down as many as 19 points in the second half.
But there was also plenty to hate, as the Pistons turned the ball over casually (especially early on), got nothing from their two secondary guards and it feels like they gave away a game that they probably should have won even though they were shorthanded.
Close losses are still losses, so Detroit will have to find ways to win these types of games, but something did feel different last night, especially on the defensive end, where the Pistons made their share of mistakes, but competed all night, dominated the boards and had 13 blocks.
With such a young team, we can expect these types of highs and lows, especially with three rotation players sitting on the bench. There was something to love and something to hate about each player last night, but overall I am hopeful, as we saw a lot of what we needed to see to believe in this team.
Loves and hates for each Detroit Pistons player and coach
Love: You could already see a big difference in the defense last night, as the Pistons were getting after it and didn’t have too many big lapses. I also like that he rewarded defense by leaving Killian Hayes in there even though he was struggling to hit shots.
Hate: That final play. It took two timeouts just to throw the ball to a well-covered Cade Cunningham a mile from the hoop. Seems like the Pistons should have gotten a better look there.
Love: Harris only took two shots and they both rattled out after looking like makes. I love that he appears to be healthy and should be able to help this team weather Bojan Bogdanovic’s absence.
Hate: That Joe Harris only got two shots. If he is going to be a floor spreader, he needs a higher volume of touches, especially in a game where the Pistons had a hard time spacing in the half court. Given how Miami was draped all over Cade Cunningham on the final play, I thought they could have used Cade as a decoy and gotten Harris a look, as he appeared to be open momentarily.
Love: His poise and ability to get a bucket. Sasser is certainly not intimidated, has great handles and looks comfortable running the offense. He was once again part of the group that started a comeback and he hit a couple of clutch shots on his way to eight points overall. I really like Sasser.
Hate: That Sasser only played 10 minutes, as it appeared he was cooking a bit in the first half but got the quick hook. If both Killian Hayes and Jaden Ivey continue to struggle, we may see Sasser getting a few more minutes.