Shorthanded Detroit Pistons fall to Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets at LCA, 104-91

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons have often been shorthanded during the last three weeks, with nearly all of the veterans on the bench due to injury and rest. But even by this recent standard, the Pistons didn’t have many available on Friday.

Sekou Doumbouya was a last-minute pregame scratch due to personal reasons, leaving the Pistons with eight available players. Then Deividas Sirvydis left the game while in the midst of a career night after awkwardly landing during the third quarter.

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The Denver Nuggets, in control of the fourth seed in the Western Conference, left Little Caesars Arena with a win over the Pistons, 104-91.

Hamidou Diallo returned from a four-game absence to score 18 points and grab 12 rebounds, and Sirvydis added a career-high 16 points in 19 minutes of action. Tyler Cook also had a career-high with 17 points and five rebounds, and Josh Jackson added a double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with a triple-double — 20 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists.

Deividas Sirvydis scores career-high before injury

With only eight players active on Friday, the Pistons (20-51) needed someone to step up. For nearly 20 minutes, Sirvydis was that player. He scored all 16 of his points in the first half, and showed more than just being able to hit outside shots.

Sirvydis also finished two tough layups, including a Eurostep through traffic during the second quarter. He hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the first quarter to get rolling, and added two more before halftime.

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He left the game in the third quarter with a left leg injury. If Sirvydis misses Sunday’s season finale against the Miami Heat, his performance will be a good sendoff to his rookie season. After being outside of the rotation for most of the year, the coaching staff made a point to get him more minutes this week. He’ll end the week with the best game of his young career.

Hamidou Diallo returns, leads Pistons in scoring

After scoring a career-high 35 points on May 4, Diallo missed Detroit’s next four games due to personal reasons and the NBA’s Health & Safety protocols.

Despite missing just over a week of action, he immediately picked up where he left off. Diallo made his first four shots of the night and finished the first quarter with 10 points. He gave the Pistons a needed offensive jolt by doing what he does best — getting to the rim. All eight of his makes were within a few feet of the basket.

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Diallo was also impactful as a rebounder, grabbing at least seven for the fifth time in six games. An argument can be made that he’s the third-best rebounder on the roster. He has a great nose for the ball and often beats his own teammates to it. Entering the game, he was tied for the fourth-best rebounding percentage (12.5%) on the roster with Cook, excluding Sirvydis due to lack of games played.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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