Detroit Pistons blown out by Milwaukee Bucks in home season finale, 131-101

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons hosted the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in their final home game of the season on Friday. The Bucks looked like a championship team, and the Pistons looked like a team still learning to consistently win.

The Bucks defeated the Pistons at Little Caesars Arena, 131-101, behind a 30-point, 13-rebound, eight-assist effort from MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Pistons had a poor shooting night, at 38.9% overall and 20.8% from 3.

Rodney McGruder was the lone bright spot for the Pistons (23-58), scoring a career-high 26 points on 9-for-11 shooting, including a 4-for-5 mark from behind the arc. Saddiq Bey added 20 points, and Cade Cunningham finished with 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

The Pistons will close out their regular season on Sunday on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Ice cold first quarter dooms Pistons

It’s an understatement to say the Pistons struggled to score in the opening period. They mustered just eight points — the fewest first-quarter points of any NBA team this season — while shooting 3-for-21 overall and 0-for-14 from 3.

The defending champs didn’t struggle nearly as much en route to a 30-8 lead. The Pistons recovered in the second quarter and used a 13-0 run to cut the deficit to eight, 37-29, with 7:37 to play in the period. But Milwaukee regained control and led by 18, 56-38, at halftime.

On a night where the Pistons seemingly couldn’t buy a bucket, McGruder had the best game of his career. He scored 14 of his 26 points in the second to help power that 13-0.

Stewart embraces 3-point shot

IsaiahStewart entered Friday’s game with eight 3-point makes in 12 attempts over his previous six games. He wasn’t quite as hot from outside on Friday, making one of four from beyond the arc. The quartet of long-range shots was a season high; he had four previous games with three attempts each in 2021-22. Similar to last season, he’s letting them fly after being reluctant for most of the season.

Stewart’s mechanics are sound, and defenders often give him space to shoot. The coaching staff isn’t turning him into a stretch-five yet, but 3-pointers are becoming a consistent part of his arsenal

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.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.

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