This Detroit Pistons season is all about the young backcourt of Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes. Their primary backup stole the spotlight on Wednesday.
Cory Joseph had a season-high 18 points as the Pistons bounced back from a 22-point loss to Sacramento on Monday with a 97-89 win over Indiana.
Cade Cunningham, who recorded season highs of 25 points and eight assists against Sacramento, had a tough shooting night but finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He shot 6-for-18 overall and 1-for-8 from deep.
Jerami Grant had 19 points and Saddiq Bey added 15 in the second game of a five-game homestand.
CRAVING CADE: Cunningham shows he’s exactly the leader Pistons need
Cunningham shows some moves
Cunningham hit a 3-pointer early but shot 3-for-10 from the field during the first half. His two other baskets were impressive, as he made a spin move around Justin Holiday, then finished over the league’s top shot-blocker, Myles Turner. He soon made a determined move into traffic again and converted.
Cunningham was also a defensive factor, getting credited with a block and feeding Bey for a fast-break layup late in the half. Cunningham had two of the team’s 11 steals in the first half, as the Pistons turned 14 Indiana turnovers into 17 points and led 49-41 at the break.
Cunningham shot 1-for-4 from the field in the third, with the lone basket coming on a 13-foot jumper in the lane.
After reentering in the fourth he gave the Pistons a five-point lead by twisting around Holiday for a layup, then found Frank Jackson for a 3-pointer and a five-point lead.
Joseph responds in a big way
Joseph had a rather forgettable outing against Sacramento, playing a season-low six minutes and going 1-for-5 from the field.
Joseph bounced back with a strong first half in which he contributed 10 points and two assists in 13 minutes. Coach Dwane Casey successfully challenged a charging call against Joseph late in the first quarter and Joseph turned it into a three-point play.
Joseph’s baskets in the second quarter included a pulled jumper and an uncontested layup. His only miss came on a halfcourt heave just before the halftime buzzer that bounced off the rim.
Joseph had a third-quarter layup but also committed a backcourt turnover that led to a T.J. McConnell layup. He reached his season high on a three-point play with 8:38 remaining.
His 3-pointer with 5:46 left off a Cunningham feed put the Pistons on top again after they gave away an 11-point lead.
Diallo gets his chance
Casey tweaked his rotation, giving Hamidou Diallo a shot as the backup wing while benching Josh Jackson. Diallo had racked up five consecutive DNPs before scoring seven points in nine garbage-time minutes against the Kings on Monday night.
Diallo only attempted one shot in seven minutes during the first quarter — a driving layup — but was part of an active second unit that allowed the Pistons to build a nine-point lead.
Diallo received another seven-minute stint in the second half and didn’t attempt another shot but hustled on the defensive end.