Still down to just two rotational players and facing a team they surrendered 144 points to just days ago, it was going to take a little magic for the Detroit Pistons to muscle out a win against the San Antonio Spurs. Fortunately, they got just that as the Pistons’ 2022 started with a 117-116 ovetime win courtesy of a ridiculous Saddiq Bey corner 3-pointer.
Bey was having a miserable night shooting the ball even as he was positively impacting the game everywhere else. Despite missing 10 of his first 11 3-point attempts, Dwane Casey drew up the final play in overtime for Bey in the corner with the Pistons down 2.
A simple drive to the rim by Derrick Walton Jr lead to an improbably perfect pass as Walton bounced the ball between Jakob Poeltl’s legs to Saddiq who was subsequently draped by two Spurs defenders. Bey let the ball go with just over 3 seconds remaining knowing it was Detroit’s last chance to pull out the victory. Then it splashed into the net.
It was Bey’s 21st point to go with a career-high 17 rebounds, six more trips to the line and more than 46 minutes played on the floor. Bey continues to be an iron man for Detroit as the roster is ravaged by COVID. The other player carrying the Pistons in this stretch is Hamidou Diallo, and he had another amazing night on both ends of the floor.
Diallo played a game-high 49 minutes and scored 34 points and added 14 rebounds and five steals. He also struggled from the floor as San Antonio obviously keyed in on the only two NBA regulars on Detroit’s roster. He was 13-of-32, but he continued to be aggressive to the rim and looks more and more comfortable with a mid-range jumper that is worth keeping an eye on.
Bey and Diallo obviously deserve the majority of the praise for carrying Detroit past the finish as the pair scored all 12 of Detroit’s points in overtime, the team only got a chance in overtime because they were got solid contributions from some of those 10-day contract players filling out the rotation.
The aforementioned Walton was a terror on defense all night, pressuring ball handlers and forcing backcourt violations. He scored 11 points, 6 assists and 4 steals. He was able to be an able initiator who forced the Spurs to mostly play straight-up defense and not just hound Bey and Diallo with swarms of multiple defenders.
Cassius Stanley was hot early and helped Detroit weather some early-game offensive struggles. Stanley had 19 points and together with Justin Robinson, making his Pistons debut, provided just enough of a perimeter threat to open up driving lanes for Diallo, Bey and Walton.
Luka Garza tied a career-high with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting and secured a career-high 14 rebounds. He struggled on defense but was able to provide enough on offense to make up for it.
Micah Potter a perimeter-oriented big man who was signed yesterday to a 10-day hardship deal made his debut and scored four points in 13 minutes. Jaysean Paige, also recently signed, played 6 scoreless minutes in his Pistons debut. But all of them, and Jamorko Pickett and Deividas Sirvydis played and contributed to an NBA victory.
With most all of Detroit’s players out of health and safety protocols and likely to suit up Monday against the Bucks, it is likely all the 10-day guys will be released in the coming days. But they earned this win tonight, and I hope they savor it.