Observations: Pistons turn perfect blend into a signature victory

Detroit News

Rod Beard
| The Detroit News

Detroit — Against the East-leading Philadelphia 76ers, wins aren’t easy to come by, so the Pistons will take a split in two-game mini-series.

After falling short at the end on Saturday, the Pistons bounced back with a 119-104 victory on Monday night at Little Caesars Arena, ending their four-game losing streak and getting a signature win for the season so far.

Delon Wright had a career night with 28 points, seven rebounds and nine assists and Jerami Grant got back to his scoring rhythm, with 25 points.

Here are some observations from the Pistons’ win:

►Wayne’s World: Wayne Ellington continued his string of sterling shooting, hitting four 3-pointers in the first half. That brought his total to 25 in the last five games, setting a new franchise record. Ellington added two more 3-pointers in the second half. Ellington has found a very nice rhythm in the backcourt and has stabilized the position in the starting lineup, at least for the time being. His spot-up shooting is making defenders run out to guard him, and he’s been able to get by them and finish at the basket as well. It’s a template for the young players who are learning the position, which is what the coaching staff is hoping to get from starting Ellington, 33.

►Back on track: After a subpar game on Saturday, Jerami Grant got back on the right track, with an effective and efficient scoring game, with 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Grant got back to scoring at least 20 points, which he did for a league-leading 15th game this season. He looked to be more fluid and not forcing shots, which is the key to his game, in a way that he’s able to read the defense and proceed accordingly, whether it’s finishing at the rim or finding the open teammate. He’s in a good rhythm, which coach Dwane Casey commenting last week, looking for Grant to develop his vision in how teams are defending him.  

►Middle open: The Sixers were playing without All-Star center Joel Embiid, which opened the paint for the Pistons to drive and gave them some relief on the defensive end. Embiid had 33 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday’s win over the Pistons and Dwight Howard started in his place and wasn’t nearly as effective, with five points and three rebounds in the first half. The Sixers leaned more on Tobias Harris (25 points) and didn’t have the same advantage without Embiid that they had in the first game. Mason Plumlee and Isaiah Stewart were both in foul trouble in the last game but were able to play more freely and didn’t have as much trouble defending Howard and Tony Bradley in the post.

►Bad boy Jackson: Josh Jackson had been having a nice game off the bench, but got into some verbal jabs with the Sixers’ Ben Simmons. The two had been getting chippy for much of the second half, with several run-ins and smaller spats, but it bubbled up with double-technical fouls in the third quarter, which developed into more talk and some heated words. After some more words, Jackson was called for an offensive foul and heatedly threw the ball towards an official, which earned him a second technical foul and an ejection. It’s the Pistons spirit that fans love to see, and it got a good reaction from the few fans in attendance.

►Doing it Wright: Delon Wright added another pace to his aggressive play, with his best game of the season, He had a nice blend to his game, with probing, penetrating in the paint and hitting from the perimeter, going 4-of-8 on 3-pointers. He finished with a season-high 28 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. He’s been a good fill-in for the Pistons in the absence of Killian Hayes, and as he’s finding his niche with the starting group, he’s becoming more of a multi-faceted weapon.


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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