INDIANAPOLIS — Make it 13.
The Detroit Pistons entered Thursday’s game against the Indiana Pacers coming off of four days of rest, after their scheduled road game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday was postponed due to the Bulls’ COVID outbreak. The Pacers lost to the Bucks by 15 in Milwaukee on Wednesday night, and didn’t have the benefit of multiple days of rest.
It didn’t matter. The Pacers defeated the Pistons, 122-113, for Detroit’s 13th-straight loss. Assistant coach Rex Kalamian led the Pistons, as head coach Dwane Casey missed the game due to non COVID-related personal reasons.
Saddiq Bey was a bright spot for Detroit (4-23), tying his season-high with 28 points and cracking the 20-point threshold for the first time since Nov. 15. Cade Cunningham had 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks, and Frank Jackson added 18 points off of the bench.
Michigan alumnus Caris LeVert led Indiana with 31 points.
Detroit opened the game with a 12-2 run. But the Pacers took the lead with 3:28 to play in the quarter after a layup by Oshae Brissett, and took the lead for good toward the end of the second.
Saddiq Bey shakes off slump
With 90 seconds to play in the second quarter, Bey was isolated behind the arc. He took a series of dribbles before calmly stepping into a 3-pointer. It was already clear that Bey was having one of his best offensive nights of the season. That play confirmed it.
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He re-confirmed it during Detroit’s next offensive possession by knocking down another 3-pointer, putting him over 20 points for only the fourth time this season. It’s been a tough season for Bey, who acknowledged his sophomore slump earlier this week. Thursday was a sign that he might be starting to break out of it.
Bey had a hot first quarter, scoring 14 points and knocking down four of his six shot attempts. On back-to-back possessions toward the end of the period, he finished a thunderous dunk and then knocked down a 3. He did most of his damage in the first half, as he scored just six points on five shots in the second as the Pacers pulled away with the win.
Isaiah Livers makes NBA debut
It’s been a long road back to the court for Isaiah Livers, who suffered a stress injury in his right foot during the Big Ten tournament in March. The injury prematurely ended the sharpshooter’s four-year career at Michigan.
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Livers was drafted in the second round of the 2021 draft, and spent the next few months rehabbing with a targeted return date of Nov. 1. He did return to five-on-five action around that time, and made his debut with the Motor City Cruise on Nov. 23. He’s been with the Pistons since Dec. 11, and finally made his NBA debut against the Pacers.
Kalamian inserted Livers into the lineup at the beginning of the second quarter. He played four minutes and 41 seconds in the period, recording a block, a steal, a turnover and a personal foul.
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