With nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, a corner 3-pointer by Rodney McGruder extended the Detroit Pistons‘ lead to seven points. Detroit appeared to be cruising to its seventh win in nine games, toppling yet another Eastern Conference playoff contender.
From that point on, it was the DeMar DeRozan show. The Bulls’ MVP contender scored 16 of his 36 points in the final period, and Chicago used a late 22-9 run to pull off a rally. The Pistons had a three-game winning streak snapped and fell to the Bulls at home, 114-108.
Cade Cunningham led the Pistons with 22 points and six assists, and Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk scored 12 points each. The Bulls had a 35-17 advantage in free throw attempts, and the Pistons committed 16 turnovers.
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Zach LaVine (25 points) and Nikola Vucevic (21 points) also had strong outings for Chicago.
Cunningham continues scoring run
There are numerous factors behind the Pistons’ improved play during the last three weeks. But one of the biggest has been Cunningham’s increased scoring. In his previous eight games entering Wednesday, he averaged 21.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists with a net rating of +4.4. Detroit has had strong performances across the board, but Cunningham has been the engine.
Wednesday was Cunningham’s fifth straight game with at least 20 points. He has also scored at least 20 in seven of his past nine games. For most of the game, he just couldn’t miss. Cunningham hit nine of his first 12 shots and cracked the 20-point threshold with a couple minutes left in the third quarter.
Cunningham tailed off at the end, though. His teammates were unable to pick up the slack. Cunningham was uncharacteristically quiet in the final period, missing both of his shot attempts and going scoreless in the frame.
Bagley, Lee capitalize on injuries
The Pistons were shorthanded against the Bulls, as Isaiah Stewart (bone bruise, right knee) and Killian Hayes (right abductor contusion) were both in street clothes. Marvin Bagley III started in Stewart’s stead, and Saben Lee re-entered the rotation for the first time since Feb. 11.
Lee played one of his better games of the season, scoring 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting and dishing out three assists in 20 minutes off the bench. Lee’s best trait is his explosive athleticism, and he used that to blow past Chicago’s defenders and get to the rim. Bagley was also solid, finishing the night with 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting and six rebounds.
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