Detroit Pistons use late run to defeat the Sacramento Kings, 133-131

Detroit Free Press

SACRAMENTO — On the second night of a back-to-back, the Detroit Pistons appeared to run out of steam. Sacramento Kings guard Terence Davis II, in the midst of a career night, knocked down his seventh 3-pointer with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter extending a 10-0 Kings run that gave them a 130-120 lead.

But the Pistons found a spark, closing the game with a 13-1 run for a come-from-behind, 133-131 win on the road. Saddiq Bey completed a 3-point play — with help from a goaltending call on Kings center Richaun Holmes — with a minute left to tie the game at 131, and Cory Joseph hit the game-winning midrange shot with 25.9 seconds left.

Detroit (11-33) clinched the win by forcing a jump ball on the final possession of the game. Rodney McGruder won the tip and immediately turned it over on a bad pass, but Kings guard De’Aaron Fox’s potential game-tying shot missed at the buzzer.

Bey led the Pistons with 30 points (10-for-18 overall shooting 5-for-9 from 3) and six rebounds. Kelly Olynyk gave them a big lift in his first game since Nov. 10 after recovering from a left knee sprain. Olynyk scored a season-high 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Cory Joseph added 19 points and nine assists, Rodney McGruder added 15 points. Joseph started in place of Killian Hayes, who missed the game due to a left hip contusion.

Davis scored a career-high 35 points for the Kings, who were 31 of 44 from the free throw line — the highest total of attempts for any NBA team this season. Sacramento attempted 29 in the first half alone, but the pace of the game picked up in the second half. Several Pistons battled foul trouble, including Cade Cunningham, who fouled out with 2:34 to play in the fourth quarter.

Olynyk makes impact in return

Pistons head coach Dwane Casey was 90% sure Olynyk would play during his pregame press conference, but noted that Olynyk was apprehensive about returning for his first game in more than two months. It’s understandable, Olynyk had never missed more than 18 games in a season before. His left knee sprain cost him 33 consecutive games.

Olynyk had a quiet first half, but the second half was one of his best performances in a Pistons uniform. A 16-4 third-quarter run for Detroit showcased Olynyk’s full offensive toolkit. He scored or assisted the first 12 points of the run, forming a two-man game with McGruder to dig the Pistons out of an 11-point deficit. It included two driving layups — one off of a transition lob from Bey — and his first 3-pointer of the night.

Olynyk maintained his momentum in the fourth quarter, draining an open 3-pointer with 1:37 to play to cut the deficit to 3, 131-128.

The Pistons missed Olynyk. He’s a capable shooter who drags opposing bigs out of the paint, and a competent ball-handler and passer who keeps the ball moving. Cunningham sat during most of the third quarter due to foul trouble, but Olynyk helped the Pistons outscore Sacramento by a 39-32 margin during the period.

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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