Las Vegas — In the leadup to the Pistons’ opener in Summer League late Thursday night, there was as much interest in the starting lineup as the outcome of the game.
Fans were holding out hope the core players, including Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey, would be in uniform and showing a glimpse of what the regular-season starters could look like.
It didn’t happen.
Pistons rookies Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren made their debuts, and they were joined in the starting lineup by Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Isaiah Livers. That was more than enough firepower to help the Pistons take an 81-78 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday morning at Thomas & Mack Center.
Ivey finished with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists, Stewart 13 points and nine rebounds and Duren nine points and two blocks.
In a slow-moving game that started after midnight Eastern Time, the Pistons finished with a flurry, with back-to-back 3-pointers by Stewart pushing the lead to five in the final two minutes.
The Blazers answered with two free throws and a drive by Brandon Williams (13 points, four rebounds and four assists) to get back within one with 1:11 remaining.
Ivey took over down the stretch, making two free throws to push the lead to three with 58.5 seconds left, and then capitalizing off a Blazers miss to score on a driving lay-in, for an 80-75 lead with 31.4 seconds remaining.
Early on, the Pistons led by 13 points in the second quarter, but the Blazers chipped away at the lead in the middle quarters and opened the fourth quarter with a 61-57 deficit. After a pair of baskets, Portland tied it at 61 on a jumper by Jabari Walker.
Saben Lee (13 points) tied it with a pair of free throws and Braxton Key (11 points, seven rebounds) hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to five.
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