| Detroit Free Press
Detroit Pistons’ Dwane Casey describes why he’s juggling rotation so
Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey speaks to the media on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.
Detroit Pistons, Detroit Free Press
With Joel Embiid in street clothes, the Detroit Pistons snapped a four-game skid and picked up their most convincing win of the season.
The Pistons defeated the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday at Little Caesars Arena, 119-104. They led from start to finish and enjoyed a couple season-best performances.
Delon Wright had his best game in a Pistons uniform, finishing with 28 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, two steals and a block. Jerami Grant had a bounce-back offensive game with 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and Wayne Ellington scored 20 points and made six of his nine 3-pointers.
Former Piston Tobias Harris led Philadelphia with 25 points.
With guards out, Delon Wright finding his groove
Wright, a career combo guard, has played both guard spots out of necessity for the Pistons this season. Killian Hayes and Derrick Rose are full-time point guards, and Wright started at the two alongside Hayes during their first two games to take some of the ballhanding pressure off of the rookie.
Injuries to Hayes and Rose, who missed his second-straight game on Monday with a sore left knee, have thrust Wright into more of an on-ball role, and he’s begun to thrive. Monday was his best game. He had seven points, three assists, three rebounds, a block and a steal after the first quarter, and looked more comfortable than he has all season conducting the offense.
Wayne Ellington, still on fire
When players start seasons on hot shooting streaks, the expectation is usually that they will eventually come down from it.
That may not be true for Ellington, a career 38.1% 3-point marksman who’s improved each week this season. He entered Monday’s game making 50% of his 6.2 attempts from deep this season. He followed that by knocking down six of his nine attempts against the Sixers.
His 25 made 3-pointers over the last five games are the most in franchise history over a five-game period and he’s also made at least four 3-pointers in each of those five games to tie a record set by Joe Dumars in 1999. Dwane Casey’s decision to insert the 12-year pro into the starting lineup three weeks ago has worked out so far.
Josh Jackson’s shot-blocking stands out
Standing 6-foot-8 with above-average athleticism, Jackson has always been a good shot-blocker for a wing. He’s never been as good as he’s been this season, though.
He was averaging nearly a full block per game going into Monday’s game, and his 2% block rate was in the 100th percentile among wings, per Cleaning the Glass. He had three blocks in Friday’s game against the Houston Rockets and Saturday’s game against the Sixers, making him the first guard in Pistons history to have consecutive games with a trio of blocks, according to Pistons PR.
Jackson finished Monday’s game with two blocks. He’s been aggressive in looking to redirect shots, and had a goaltending call toward the end of the third quarter. He and Grant give Detroit’s defense an element of athleticism it hasn’t had in recent years.