Detroit already committed to resting its roster of veterans, as they have often in the season’s final weeks. Then rookie center Isaiah Stewart was forced to miss the game for personal reasons. Then Sekou Doumbouya was a last-minute scratch. Then, in the third quarter rookie Deividas Sirvydis landed awkwardly and aggravated something in his leg that forced him to miss the rest of the night.
By the final whistle the Pistons had only seven available players and another loss in the record books. The win puts them one step closer to securing the second-worst record in the league and optimal chances at a top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery.
It’s a shame about Sirvydis, because he was in the middle of a career night. The simplest way to put it is that Detroit as a team hoisted 36 3-point attempts on the night. Only two players managed to connect on one. Saddiq Bey was one, hitting two on 10 attempts (yikes), and Sirvydis was the other, hitting 4-of-7 from deep.
The Lithuanian forward also had some aggressive drives and finishes at the hoop and finished the night with a career-high 16 points.
Conversely, it was mostly a night to forget for Killian Hayes, who again struggled mightily with his jump shot and his penchant for awkward runners was in full force. Hayes played 36 minutes on the night and didn’t score until the final 20 seconds of the game. He finished with two points.
Offense will surely be the thing that dictates just how successful a career Hayes will have because the other facets of his game are already at an NBA level. Hayes handed out seven assists and was able to limit his turnovers. He also played some quality defense.
He’s young so nothing is written in stone, but he needs to clean up his shooting mechanics, get stronger and look to create contact instead of shying away from everything on the rare occasion he drives to the rim.
Hamidou Diallo also got plenty of run tonight after missing the past several games. He led the Pistons with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
The Nuggets, who were definitely in cruise control all night, were led by likely MVP Nikola Jokic. The Joker notched an easy triple double in just 26 minutes of action with 20 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists.
The Pistons end their season on Sunday with a game against the Miami Heat.