WASHINGTON — Saddiq Bey had an energetic performance Monday night.
The same can’t be said of his teammates.
The Detroit Pistons lost their eighth game in a row, falling to the Washington Wizards on the road, 103-94. Detroit shot just 37.6% overall and 34.8% from 3.
Bey, who attended DeMatha Catholic, the Washington-area high school renown in basketball circles, scored 13 of his 24 points in the first quarter and added five rebounds and five assists. Jerami Grant scored 14 points, Cade Cunningham scored 12 points and Isaiah Stewart added 11 points and nine rebounds.
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In his debut with the Pistons, Marvin Bagley III scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds off of the bench.
Flint native Kyle Kuzma led the Wizards with 23 points to go with seven rebounds.
Cunningham battled foul trouble and tallied just 12 minutes in the first half, missing five of his seven shots. The Pistons trailed, 37-26, after a 15-4 Wizards run midway through the second quarter. But Detroit rallied back, using a 24-13 stretch to tie the game at 50 going into halftime.
The Pistons carried that momentum into the third quarter, as a midrange shot by Hamidou Diallo for Detroit’s first lead since the first quarter, 74-73, with 2:56 to play in the period.
But Washington took control for good midway through the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Bey got the Pistons back within two points with 6:19 remaining, but Detroit went cold afterward. Washington closed the game with a 13-6 run, as the Pistons shot just 5-for-23 overall in the final period.
Bagley makes Pistons debut
On Sunday, general manager Troy Weaver acknowledged that Detroit’s frontcourt lacked something it needed — athleticism. It was part of the equation behind why the Pistons traded for Bagley before last Thursday’s trade deadline.
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Bagley made his Pistons debut with 4:24 to play in the first quarter, subbing in for Stewart. His athleticism was evident on Monday, but his size and touch near the rim stood out most. Standing 6 feet 11, he’s taller than everyone on the roster other than Kelly Olynyk. It allows him to make plays that most of his teammates can’t. His debut was uneven, but he showcased some of the skill that made him a deadline target for Detroit.
All four of Bagley’s field goals were in the paint. He showed off his footwork during his first bucket, working with his back against Deni Avdija before spinning into a layup. He finished a hook about a minute later to tie the game at 22 points. His next two buckets were in the third quarter, as he laid in a lob from Diallo and took advantage of a mismatch by hitting a hook over Anthony Gill.
Dwane Casey staggered Bagley and Stewart. Bagley split his time between both big man position, playing center next to Grant and power forward next to Olynyk. It appeared to be an acknowledgement from the coaching staff that Bagley needs shooting next to him to be most effective. Grant and Olynyk can space the floor.
Stewart has only made three of 24 3-point attempts this season. Bagley is a career 29.9% outside shooter. Given that Casey said on Sunday that Bagley can space the floor, it remains to be seen if he’ll be given the green light to do so with regularity.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has a 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.
Next up: Celtics
Matchup: Pistons (12-45) at Boston (33-25).
Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, TD Garden, Boston.
TV/radio: Bally Sports Detroit; WXYT-FM (97.1).