Pistons observations: Abysmal long-range shooting derails team’s momentum

Detroit News

The Pistons couldn’t keep the win streak going and had one of the few duds they’ve had all season, with a 100-86 loss to the Bulls. Besides Jerami Grant, who had 26 points, the Pistons couldn’t get much going offensively.

They only made four 3-pointers and shot just 16% from beyond the arc.

Here are some observations from the Pistons’ loss:

Grant’s return: Jerami Grant was a little better than his 5-of-21 performance against the Rockets on Friday with some better shooting in Sunday’s game. He finished 9-of-22, but he got to the rim easier in the first quarter, especially when he was guarded by Lauri Markkanen. Grant was just 1-of-7 on 3-pointers, but he got to the free-throw line enough, going 7-of-9. The Pistons found other scoring options when Grant struggled, but they have to get back to finding bigger-volume scorers to take some of that scoring load off him.

Another Jackson: Frank Jackson had another good outing, with 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field. He played a hearty 31 minutes and was solid all the way through. He wasn’t as effective from 3-point range, but he played decent defense against a bigger Bulls backcourt. He’s staking a claim to the minutes at shooting guard while Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder are out of the lineup and he’s making the most of the opportunity.

Two bigs: The Pistons have had Isaiah Stewart and Mason Plumlee as their two options at center, but they showed a new wrinkle with both of them playing together. Casey had hinted earlier in the season that he might try that look, and he unveiled it Sunday.

“I’m still figuring it out. It’s my first time playing (power forward) in my life,” Stewart said. “It’s different, but I’ll continue to watch film and see how I can be better with playing that spot.”

The new look came in the fourth quarter, so it’s not clear if it was just a sampler or something that will be more of a regular occurrence.

Good pairing: The second unit got clicking with the combination of Dennis Smith Jr. and Stewart. They had a couple of nice pick-and-roll plays with Smith feeding Stewart in a nice pocket for easy finishes at the rim. Stewart was 5-of-8 from the field, including 1-of-2 on 3-pointers and Smith had a nice stat line: seven points, four rebounds and five assists. Smith has moved ahead in playing time, getting 18 minutes Sunday, compared to Saben Lee’s seven minutes.

Cook’s time: Tyler Cook is still in the early part of a 10-day contract, but he’s making an impressing in his minutes on the court. He played nine minutes and had two rebounds against the Bulls, but he was a vocal presence on the defensive end, calling out the coverages, and he also pointed out where everyone was supposed to be. Those are traits that Casey and the staff covet in their big men and Cook at least has that part of the game down.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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