Detroit Pistons burned by Celtics duo in 122-120 loss; Svi Mykhailiuk emerges

Detroit Free Press

Omari Sankofa II
 
| Detroit Free Press

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For the first time all season, the Detroit Pistons didn’t lead or trail by double digits in a game. After five seesaw performances, they competed for 48 minutes against a Boston Celtics team considered to be one of the Eastern Conference’s best contenders.

It came down to the final shot, when Jayson Tatum (24 points) hit a midrange jumper with 2.9 seconds left to break a tie, and the Pistons lost, 122-120, to fall to 1-5 this season. 

Jerami Grant continued his streak of strong performances and finished with 22 points (8-for-15 overall, 2-for-6 from 3) and six rebounds. Mason Plumlee had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Josh Jackson scored 13 points in 14 minutes before leaving shortly after halftime with an ankle injury.

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Celtics forward Jaylen Brown finished with 31 points (13-for-16 overall, 5-for-8 from 3) and was unstoppable for most of the game. 

Svi Mykhailiuk finds his rhythm

Mykhailiuk was the Pistons’ best shooter for the majority of last season, but he fell toward the end of Casey’s rotation early this season as he battled a shooting slump. Through his first five games, he was 7-for-28 from outside.

He found his shooting touch Sunday, right when the Pistons needed it most. He entered the game for the first time at the 3:29 mark of the third quarter, after Jackson exited, and scored 15 points in 15 second-half minutes, and made three of his six 3-point attempts. 

Outside of Saddiq Bey, the Pistons haven’t gotten consistent outside shooting. Mykhailiuk’s outside touch provided a needed dynamic, and could help re-establish him in the rotation if Jackson misses extended time. 

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Jackson injury

Jackson has been one of the biggest bright spots of the season for Detroit. Through five games, he averaged 16 points and 5.2 rebounds and shooting 49.2% from the floor. He has been very efficient at the rim, and few defenders possess the quickness to stay in front of him.

He exited Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Early in the third quarter, Daniel Theis inadvertently landed on his left ankle. Jackson went to the line, and then exited for good. 

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The Pistons returned to full health against Boston after losing Blake Griffin for Friday’s game due to concussion protocol. It’s unclear if Jackson’s injury will cause him to miss any games, but it’s another potential hit to the depth chart as the Pistons embark on one of the most difficult stretches of the season. They travel to play the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, the first of three games in the next two weeks against the East favorites. 

Killian Hayes takes advice

Entering Sunday’s game, Hayes had played consecutive games without scoring a point. He has been impressive defensively early in his career, and has competently run the offense for stretches, yet his own offense has been slow to come

Before the game, Pistons coach Dwane Casey said he wanted to see Hayes stop overthinking and be more decisive. Hayes was a skilled scorer in Europe, but hasn’t found his rhythm thus far. But his performance against the Celtics was a step in the right direction.

Hayes hit his first two shots of the night — a running layup, and a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. Both shots were unhurried, with the first coming off of a screen and the second coming off of a drive-and-kick from Delon Wright. The Pistons’ veterans have said they can do a better job helping the game come easier for the rookie, and he looked more comfortable after a pair of off nights. 

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Bey and Isaiah Stewart continue to be rotation fixtures

With Griffin re-entering the starting lineup, Bey was moved back to the bench Sunday. He didn’t stay there for long. He was the first wing off of the bench and entered the game at the 2:32 mark of the first quarter. 

He joined Isaiah Stewart, who was Casey’s first substitution off of the bench along with Derrick Rose at the midway point of the quarter. Bey has been impressive on both ends, and has also been Detroit’s most accurate outside shooter early in the season. He has made 12 of his 25 3-point attempts, and went 2-for-3 from outside Sunday. 

Stewart has endeared himself to the coaching staff with his rebounding and activity level. He was the first big man off of the bench and played more minutes (15) than Jahlil Okafor (8). 

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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