For most of the night, the Detroit Pistons were in striking distance. In the fourth quarter, they finally broke through.
A 27-8 run fourth quarter run allowed the Pistons to take control of the game and upset the Philadelphia 76ers at Little Caesars Arena, 102-94. Detroit didn’t take its first lead until 6:06 was left in the period, but didn’t trail again after Isaiah Livers hit his third and final 3-pointer with five minutes remaining.
The Pistons overcame both a big night from Joel Embiid (37 points, 15 rebounds) and a big free throw disparity. Philadelphia made 25 of 28 attempts at the line, while the Pistons made 10 of 15 attempts.
Cade Cunningham led the Pistons with 27 points and six assists, and Saddiq Bey added 20 points, including 10 points in the final period. Detroit finished with more steals (11) than turnovers (nine) and scored 17 transition points.
BATTLING BROOKLYN: How Pistons’ Cade Cunningham showed ‘it’ factor vs. Nets, Durant
DYNAMIC DUO: Isaiah Stewart, Marvin Bagley III figuring out how to make pairing work
ON GUARD: How Pistons’ Killian Hayes is using his floater — and body — better this season
Cunningham picks up where he left off
It’s hard to top the performance Cade Cunningham put together against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. In New York, Cunningham scored 29 of his 34 points in the second half, with 17 in the fourth quarter to help the Pistons keep pace with a talented Nets roster.
Cunningham’s performance Thursday wasn’t far behind, though. He knocked down nine of his first 12 shots. He delivered in the fourth quarter, too, making a layup midway through the period to give the Pistons an 86-85 lead — their first of the night. He also dished out three of his six assists in the final period, including one to Olynyk for a transition layup that extended Detroit’s lead to 10, 99-89, with 2:34 to play.
He entered the game averaging 22.1 points, 6.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 46.4% overall since the All-Star break. Thursday continued what he has been doing over the past six weeks.
Bagley leaves game with hip injury
A positive night for the Pistons was marred when Bagley exited the game with 2:45 remaining in the third. He took a hard foul from Embiid during a dunk attempt and was visibly in pain after hitting the floor. His teammates motioned to the Pistons’ bench for assistance, and Bagley was able to walk off of the floor under his own power while grabbing toward his lower body.
He re-entered the game to take two free throws, split the trip, and returned to the bench. The Pistons ruled him out of the game with a left hip flexor strain. It’s an unfortunate development for Bagley, who has settled in as one of Detroit’s most productive scorers since arriving from Sacramento at the trade deadline. He missed three games over Feb. 27-March 3 with an ankle sprain.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at email@example.com. 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.