Even on the best of nights, the odds the Detroit PIstons are going to get the best of a team like the Brooklyn Nets are pretty low. Add in the Pistons being on the second night of a back-to-back, being without Cade Cunningham and with Brooklyn starting to figure things out on offense.
Detroit was looking for its first winning streak of the season and came away with its most lopsided loss instead, a 117-91 drubbing at the hands of a nearly flawless offensive performance from Kevin Durant and a triple-double from James Harden.
Behind some aggressive play from Killian Hayes and scoring punch from Jerami Grant and Josh Jackson, the Pistons were able to keep things relatively close in the first half. Hayes was pushing the pace, being more aggressive and driving to the rim instead of settling for dump-offs or floaters.
Hayes still has a long way to go, but it was nice to see him force the issue and get himself to the line. He also played some smart, aggressive defense, which will likely always be his calling card. Grant had 11 first-half points while Jackson had 10 behind a couple made threes.
The Pistons, though, couldn’t contain the Nets offense. They gave up 64 points in the first half behind 19 from Kevin Durant on 8-of-11 shooting. That first-half offense nailed 66% of its shots and 60% from three.
The second half saw the Pistons unable to keep pace offensively and with the game largely out of reach both teams relied more heavily on their benches. In the end, the Nets coasted to victory behind 65% shooting and 52% from three.
Durant finished with 23 points and would have had more but he was ejected in the third quarter after a flagrant foul on Kelly Olynyk that saw his elbow meet Olynyk’s head. Harden finished with 19 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
The Pistons were led by 13 points off the bench from Cory Joseph in a game that featured a lot of garbage time minutes.
Cade Cunningham sat out the game as a precaution as he works his way back into the regular lineup. It was decided early that Cunningham wouldn’t play the second night of the back to back, but Dwane Casey said he doesn’t anticipate him being unavailable going forward.
In his place, Hamidou Diallo got a shot in the starting lineup. Minutes have been tough to come by for Diallo, and while he didn’t necessarily make the most of it (6 points in 19 minutes), he did nail a couple of threes, which are desperately needed for him and for the Pistons generally.
Detroit next plays Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena against the Milwaukee Bucks. So it’s not exactly getting any easier.