Minus core players, Detroit Pistons fall to Cavaliers, 82-79, in Summer League

Detroit Free Press

With all of their core young players on the bench, it appeared the Detroit Pistons were heading toward a blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Las Vegas Summer League play Thursday. But a second-half rally made things interesting.

Detroit fell to the Cavaliers, 82-79, but outscored them 53-37 in the second half to wipe out a 23-point deficit. A layup by Stanley Umude with 58.8 seconds left gave the Pistons a 77-76 lead, but the Cavaliers hit six free throws down the stretch to hang onto the win.

Jules Bernard led the Pistons with 14 points, Braxton Key tallied 13 points and Balsa Koprivica finished with a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds). The Pistons trailed by 22 at halftime and shot just 29.4% in the first half.

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Pistons shut down Duren, provide Ivey update

After starting Detroit’s first three Summer League games, Jalen Duren was held out Thursday to rest. He joined Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Isaiah Livers and Isaiah Stewart in street clothes on Detroit’s bench. Only Cunningham didn’t appear in at least one Summer League game.

Ivey only appeared in five quarters after tweaking his ankle against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, but coach Dwane Casey revealed during Thursday’s NBATV broadcast that Ivey, the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft, was sitting out as a precaution.

“Both young men, he and Jalen, both of them could probably play if we wanted them to,” Casey said.” We want them to have the rest of the summer to continue to work and get the work in and not hurt it any further. He’s OK, just a good turned ankle and he bounced back. He wanted to play but the medical staff held him out.”

Casey had high praise for Duren, the No. 13 overall pick, comparing him to six-time All-Star Shawn Kemp again.

“He reminds me so much of Shawn Kemp. Raw, athletic, doesn’t know how good he can be,” Casey said. “That’s who he reminds me of with his athleticism, and just 18 years old.”

With Duren out, Koprivica steps up

Minutes were hard to come by for Koprivica during Detroit’s first three games. The Pistons’ final second-round pick in 2021 (No. 57 overall() played about 16 minutes total against the Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers, and didn’t appear in Saturday’s win over the Wizards. But with Duren on the bench, Koprivica entered the starting lineup and capitalized.

Koprivica scored Detroit’s first six points, all on dunks The Pistons struggled to score early on, but Koprivica (eight points, 4-for-4 shooting) and Justin Turner (six points, 3-for-4) were bright spots in the first half. The rest of the team tallied nine points on 3-for-26 shooting before halftime.

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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