Observations: Why back-to-back Pistons’ wins are worth getting excited about

Detroit News

Rod Beard | The Detroit News

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Maybe it’s not just going to be another trip to the draft lottery for the Pistons.

They could start to string some wins together and make this season a little interesting.

With their first back-to-back wins of the season, the Pistons are more fun to watch and the young players are contributing to their success, as shown in the 123-112 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night at Little Caesars Arena.

Mason Plumlee led the way with his first career triple-double, and six Pistons players scored in double figures in the resounding victory.

Here are some observations from the Pistons’ second straight win:

Triple-double: Plumlee made an impact in his return to the lineup, after missing the past two games because of elbow bursitis. His triple-double was the first of his career, after almost getting one against the Pistons a few years ago. When Plumlee was with the Trail Blazers, he had eight points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists on Jan. 8, 2017. He’s had a couple of brushes with getting the triple-double, but he finally broke in 31 minutes, with a nice all-around game, going 8-of-12 from the field in 31 minutes.

More Bey: Saddiq Bey continued his 3-point flourish with another hot-shooting game, going 4-of-8 from beyond the 3-point like. He showed some other aspects of his game with four rebounds and six assists. Bey got the start because Blake Griffin was out because of injury management. With that revamped lineup, the Pistons did well in moving the ball around. He followed his career-best 30 points with another solid performance. In his last four games, Bey is shooting 16-of-23 (70 percent) on 3-pointers.

Zion’s debut: Because of his injuries last season, Zion Williamson didn’t play in either of the two games against the Pistons, but in his first game against them, he was very good, with 26 points and eight rebounds. It wasn’t all high-flying dunks, but a good mix of lay-ins around the basket and smart plays with the basketball. He went 10-of-20 on field goals and the Pistons seemed to have a good defensive plan to contain him. He was guarded by Plumlee or Stewart for most of the time he was in the game, trying to match his size and strength.

► Getting better: Dennis Smith Jr. looked a bit more in rhythm in his third game with the Pistons. He had nine points in 12 minutes, including his first 3-pointer. He was in control at the point and ran the offense better than he had in his first two games. Coach Dwane Casey said that Smith has had just one practice and a couple of shootarounds to learn things, but Smith is looking more and more like he could be an asset.

To the rim: Josh Jackson is making a living going to the rim and creating contact, which is getting him to the free-throw line. He had a team-high five free-throw attempts and had a team-best 21 points. He was an efficient 8-of-14 from the field and is becoming a leading offensive option off the bench, getting more of a look since the Derrick Rose trade last week.


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard


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