Pistons overcome 15-point halftime deficit to beat Thunder, 112-103

Detroit News

Detroit — The Pistons appeared destined for their fourth consecutive loss as they faced a 15-point deficit during halftime against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

However, a different team emerged from the locker room to enter the third quarter. The careless and sloppiness exhibited through the first 24 minutes was now much more poised and precise.

Detroit produced a 36-point third quarter highlighted by defense, transition points and shotmaking, which was enough to climb back and eventually slow down the Thunder’s momentum to grind out a 112-103 win on Monday.

It was the Pistons’ second comeback victory of at least 15 points, the first of which was their season opener against the Orlando Magic.

Saddiq Bey scored a team-high 25 points along with five rebounds. His play of the game occurred late in the fourth quarter when he grabbed an offensive rebound and drove inside the paint for a layup to give the Pistons a seven-point lead with one minute and 53 seconds remaining in the game.

It was a tale of two halves for Cade Cunningham. He had difficulty taking care of the ball early in the game as he committed four turnovers within his first 11 minutes of action. However, like the rest of the Pistons’ starting five, Cunningham was more aggressive in the third quarter as he knocked down two 3-pointers in that stretch. He was also able to get to his mid-range shot more and find his teammates for easy baskets. He finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and five turnovers.

Jaden Ivey had his second double-double of the year with 15 points and 11 rebounds, along with six assists. The rookie guard relied heavily on the 3-point shot in the first half, but prioritized his ability to get into the paint more in the second half, which paid off for Detroit because he was the most active player in the third quarter comeback.

Detroit’s bench produced 28 points, which was much-needed since the second unit hasn’t been able to find much offensive success through the first 10 games of the season. Hamidou Diallo had 11 points and eight rebounds.

BOX SCORE: Pistons 112, Thunder 103

The Pistons also welcomed rookie center Jalen Duren, who missed the last four games due to an ankle injury, back to the lineup. He entered around the three-minute mark of the first quarter and received a warm ovation from the fans inside Little Caesars Arena. He made a statement with his first defensive possession as he blocked Tre Mann’s layup. He looked light on his feet as he ran the floor and even had a two-handed block on Gilgeous-Alexander. He played 21 minutes and finished with seven points, four rebounds and three blocks.

The Pistons were sloppy throughout the first half and totaled 13 turnovers overall, 11 of which were in the first half. They were more responsible with the ball in the second half with only two giveaways.

Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander entered the game averaging a career-high 30.5 points per game, and he totaled half of that number in the first quarter. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33  points on 13-of-23 shooting, most of which were inside the paint or at the free throw line. He added seven rebounds and five assists.

The Pistons will begin a two-game roadtrip with Wednesday’s game against the Boston Celtics before visiting the New York Knicks on Friday.

mcurtis@detroitnews.comTwitter: @MikeACurtis2

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