Pistons news: Detroit is the good bad team of the NBA

Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons are on the verge of being a good team but they are not there yet.

There was so much good in last night’s heartbreaking loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, but the Pistons always do enough bad to offset it.

They shot just under 50 percent from the field but only 24 percent from long range. They dominated the boards, but fouls and turnovers were enough to balance out that advantage.

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They got some clutch stops, but couldn’t get a clutch bucket. They got brilliant individual performances from Cade Cunningham and Marcus Sasser, but couldn’t come up with the big shot when they needed it late in the game.

With six players out the young Pistons took it to the Bucks and were up by 10 in the 4th quarter, but down two in the final score.

*Quick rant* That second technical foul on Giannis Antetokounmpo was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. He dunked on Isaiah Stewart, scowled momentarily (I don’t think he even made eye contact) and racked up the T for taunting. What are we even doing here? I was happy to see Giannis go, but can we allow basketball players to show the slightest bit of emotion? The refs were bad overall, with quick whistles on Detroit and about eight iffy traveling calls between the two teams.  *Rant over*

Cade Cunningham was brilliant, but…

Cade Cunningham started cooking in the 3rd quarter. The mid-range was falling, he was getting to the hoop and the Bucks seemed to have no answer for him. Milwaukee eventually went to a zone defense that the Pistons couldn’t crack, but Cunningham was the best player on the floor for much of the game.

But turnovers once again reared their ugly head, as Cade had a couple of plays where he just dribbled too much, got in too deep and turned it over in traffic. The Pistons went broke late in the 4th quarter, with too much heliocentric offense in the half court. I definitely don’t put this all on Cade, as he doesn’t have a lot of options right now, but the Pistons have to find a way to get more movement in their half-court offense in clutch time and can’t just hand the ball to Cade and say “go.”

One of the promising developments from the night was that Cade got to the line 10 times and made nine of them, hopefully, he’ll continue to get that whistle, as free throws can be a huge weapon for him.

The Pistons dominated the boards, but…

Detroit ended the game with a 53 to 36 advantage in rebounding. Defensive rebounding has been a focus, and the Pistons came up big in that department last night, with Jalen Duren and Ausar Thompson closing out possessions.

This was another game where the Pistons outshot, outrebounded and outpassed their opponent and somehow managed to lose. How?


Detroit committed 24 fouls to add to their league-leading total, allowing the Bucks to shoot 32 free throws to the Pistons’ 16. Even though Detroit only missed once at the line, Milwaukee got a 12-point swing from free throws. There is your game.

You can put a little on the refs, who weren’t great, but Detroit also commits more dumb fouls than any team I’ve ever watched. Jalen Duren racked up two fouls in about 30 seconds in the 2nd quarter, the first on a moving screen and the second trying to reach in on Damian Lillard 40 feet from the basket. Some of their fouls come from aggressive, physical defense, and you will take those, but Detroit has to cut out the meaningless ones and the frustration fouls when they hammer someone after not getting a call.

On we go.

The Pistons aren’t there yet, but they are achingly close to being the team we want them to be. The good news is that their young players are getting quality reps and learning on the job, the bad news is that they are going to make their share of mistakes and last night was a perfect example of a game where they needed a veteran like Bojan Bogdanovic to get a quality look in the clutch.

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