Detroit Pistons fade late against Chicago Bulls in opener, 94-88

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons began their 2021-22 season with energy. But despite leading by nine points during the first half, they couldn’t close against an Eastern Conference playoff favorites.

The Pistons fell to the Chicago Bulls at Little Caesars Arena, 94-88. The tide turned in the Bulls’ favor toward the end of the third quarter, after the Pistons committed three turnovers in the final minute to allow Chicago to take a 71-69 lead.

Detroit regained a four-point lead midway through the fourth, but the Bulls closed with a 16-6 run during the last 7:17 to pull away for good. The Pistons held the Bulls to 30.4% shooting from outside, but struggled to shoot the ball by knocking down just six of their 28 attempts (21.4%).

Jerami Grant led the Pistons with 24 points, Saddiq Bey added 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Isaiah Stewart scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Zach Lavine led the Bulls with 34 points.

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Bey shows off diversified offensive game

Get a load of this guy:

Wednesday featured a different Bey compared to the one we saw last year. Rookie Bey was largely a knockdown shooter — and a good one, too. Around two-thirds of his shot attempts were 3-pointers, and he knocked them down at a healthy 38% clip.

Bey showcased some new moves during Summer League, using his feet and body to create looks from midrange. Wednesday was a continuation of that. He’s more confident with his dribble, knows how strong he is and has no qualms with taking on defenders one-on-one. In addition to his spin move past DeMar DeRozan, he euro-stepped into a layup during the first quarter.

He also showcased his vision as a passer, finishing with four assists. Several of those feeds went to Stewart after he drew the defender away from the basket by driving to the rim. Bey finished with 13 points, though he missed all four of his 3-pointers. His 3-pointers will likely fall this season, like they did last year. But the rounding out of the rest of his offensive game, if he sustains it, is good for him and the Pistons.

Pistons bring out (local) stars for opener

As part of their “We Hustle Different” campaign, the Pistons are connecting with local rappers and other musicians, as well as Detroit-based small business owners. They had a similar campaign last season, but they’re taking it even further this year.

Seven local rappers — Big Sean, Peezy, Sada Baby, Babyface Ray, Icewear Vezzo, Kash Doll and GMO Stax — attended the game. Babyface Ray performed at halftime and brought out Big Sean.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at 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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