The Detroit Pistons got a big lift going into Tuesday’s game.
Jerami Grant returned from a seven-week absence, and Kelly Olynyk also came back to play just his third game after spraining his left knee Nov. 10 and entering health and safety protocols Jan. 22.
Unfortunately, the Pistons lost another key player. Cade Cunningham exited during the third quarter with a right hip pointer, and the New Orleans Pelicans dominated the second half for a come-from-behind, 111-101 victory.
Detroit led by 15 points, 74-59, with 8:11 to play in the third quarter. The Pelicans outscored the Pistons, 54-36, in the final two quarters and closed the game with a 22-8 run.
The Pistons turned the ball over 19 times and shot 8 of 32 from behind the arc, including 2-for-15 in the second half. They were outrebounded, 46-37, and the Pelicans had 25 second chance points.
Cory Joseph led the Pistons with 18 points, and Grant had 17 in his return. Frank Jackson and Hamidou Diallo added 14 and 12 points, respectively, off of the bench.
Brandon Ingram led all with 26 points.
Jerami Grant makes impact in return
Grant underwent surgery on the UCL in his right thumb on Dec. 16, and the team announced he would be re-evaluated in six weeks. He was on track to return toward the end of January and was assigned to the Motor City Cruise on Jan. 17 for workouts. Grant entered health and safety protocols not long after, further delaying his return.
Grant resumed his place in the starting lineup Tuesday and looked like his normal self. He got Detroit on the board with a midrange jumper early in the first quarter and knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers before halftime to extend Detroit’s lead to eight. It was a fairly muted performance by Grant, who took 13 shots in 27 minutes. But he made six of his 13 attempts, including three of his six 3-pointers.
Cade Cunningham leaves game in third quarter
New Orleans’ run coincided with Cunningham’s exit from the game. It isn’t clear how Cunningham’s injury occurred, but it was severe enough that the Pistons listed him as doubtful after he was diagnosed with a right hip pointer.
Cunningham rejoined the bench toward the end of the fourth quarter, but didn’t re-enter the game.
It remains to be seen if the injury costs Cunningham any games. He’s missed 10 games this season, due to a sprained ankle and COVID-19.
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