Detroit Pistons waste Saddiq Bey’s standout game in 130-106 loss to New York Knicks

Detroit Free Press

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NEW YORK — The Detroit Pistons received strong offensive performances from several starters Friday. Unfortunately, the rest of the team couldn’t follow suit.

The Pistons lost to the New York Knicks on the road, 130-106, and fell to 1-1 overall on the season. Saddiq Bey (26 points, 9-for-15 shooting, seven rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic (18 points, 7-for-9 shooting) did their best to buoy a roster that got little contribution from its bench players. Jaden Ivey also had a good night, finishing with 17 points and nine assists. Immanuel Quickley led the Knicks with 20 points.

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The Knicks shot 52.6% overall and 42.1% from 3. Even though the Pistons committed just 15 turnovers, they gave up 21 points off of those turnovers and also allowed 20 fastbreak points.

Shooting woes hurt Pistons

For most of the first half, the Pistons had a better 3-point percentage than free throw percentage. That would be a positive on most nights, but not on Friday. Detroit shot just 4-15 from 3 and 4-15 at the line through the first two quarters and missed its first seven free throw attempts. 

The Pistons shot a respectable 43.3% on the night, but their early issues at the line and from behind the arc were costly. They finished the game shooting 9-for-36 from 3 and 19-for-32 at the line.

Injuries factor into poor bench performance

Detroit is down several key role players, as Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Livers and Alec Burks were out and Nerlens Noel is less than 100%. It doesn’t excuse all of the issues the Pistons’ bench had against New York, but it was a significant factor. 

Dwane Casey went with a Cory Joseph-Killian Hayes-Kevin Knox-Hamidou Diallo-Jalen Duren second unit for stretches of the game. Of the five, only Joseph is a proven outside shooter. The unit unsurprisingly struggled to find the bottom of the net. 

The Pistons’ bench mustered just 22 points on the night, while the Knicks’ second unit provided 64 points. It was an overwhelming disparity, and all but eliminated strong performances from Bogdanovic, Bey and Ivey. 

Any one of the four injured players being available could’ve made a big difference for Detroit. Duren (four fouls) and Stewart (three fouls) lost their defensive edge as the game progressed, and Burks and Livers would’ve remedied their 3-point struggles. Until the Pistons get healthier, Casey will have to juggle lineups to prevent the dry spells that hurt them on Friday.

It’s unclear when Burks, who missed all of training camp and preseason with a left navicular fracture, will return. The team announced Sept. 26 he would be re-evaluated in three weeks, and we’re past that three-week timeline.

“I don’t know what the timetable is,” Casey said before the game. “It’s not right around the corner, a few weeks away. I’m not going to put a date on it, but he’s not close right now.”

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