Detroit Pistons’ dreadful shooting shows need for more spacers in blowout loss to Bulls

Detroit Free Press

After the Detroit Pistons traded Svi Mykhailiuk earlier this month, coach Dwane Casey said he would have to be creative with his lineups to keep at least one of their best shooters on the court at all times.

Casey was referring to Jerami Grant, Saddiq Bey and Wayne Ellington, the only players on the roster taking at least five 3-pointers a game. Mykhailiuk was in the midst of a down season before being traded March 12, but his proven ability to hit outside shots made him a threat to go off on any given night, and made him a player defenses had to respect on the perimeter.

Ellington missed his fourth straight game Sunday against the Chicago Bulls with a right adductor strain, and both Bey and Grant struggled from outside and combined to shoot 1-for-13 on 3s. It was a bad recipe for the Pistons, who lost at Little Caesars Arena, 100-86. Detroit made four of its 25 3-point attempts (16%), its fewest makes in a game this season.

The Bulls (19-22) made 14 of their 28 attempts. It was too big of a disparity to overcome, Casey said.

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“There’s a huge debate as far as the 3-point shot, and I just know 14 to 4, it’s a huge difference and it makes a difference in the game,” Casey said. “We had some good looks, Jerami had some good looks, I thought, and Saddiq had some good looks. You need to see one go in, and we didn’t have that. It just snowballed, frustration set in and then we started getting tight with it. We’ll get some troops back. I think Wayne will loosen that up some, his 3-point shooting, will loosen it up some. That makes it easy for everybody.”

The Pistons (12-30) made exactly one 3-pointer each quarter, with Bey getting one to fall as the fourth quarter game clock expired. Isaiah Stewart opened the second quarter with a triple, his fifth make in six games, perhaps their only positive from outside.

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Their inability to hit a 3 caused the offense to grind to a near-halt in the third quarter, which saw the Bulls take a 10-point lead at the end of it after trailing for much of the first half. Until Ellington returns, the Pistons can’t afford off nights from outside from Bey and Grant.

“We had nine turnovers in the third quarter, that was the turning point,” Casey said. “It seemed like they scored on each and every one of them. I thought that was the turning point. But it started right before the third quarter, the energy level, the focus, the intensity, definitely our shooting went south. Wide open shots that we were just making two nights ago. Again, two steps forward, one step back.”

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

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